« 2014/2015 Winter analysis | Main | Don't forget the ASIG »

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Bryant Morganelli

While I think the move is not the best idea, Mckibben saying Obama is denying climate change is over the top. Shell will be subject to strict regulations, which doesn't give a whole lot of reassurance, but I think Bill is going overboard a bit here.

Tonyjuggler

I agree with Bryant. this is a political decision that does not effect much crucial aspects o policy limiting C02. as lnag as we are pumping oil and gas from any place that is adding to the problem. when climate change becomes more politically unavoidable and incontrovertible, the oil companies will have to start limiting production or be forced to limit production, the environmental impact of a big spill in the arctic is of course a major concern.
but this is how politics works.

Bryant Morganelli

Thanks Tony,
Neven, I know you're pissed about this story, as you should be. But I have to say McKibben does nothing here to advance his point. He's more about name-calling instead of actually using facts to break down the Shell argument. For instance, he says nothing about the remote geography of the Chuchki Sea that makes drilling difficult and the ability to respond quickly to a spill is severely hampered. And that goes back to his writing in general, which I've read a fair portion of. He spends too much time trying to scare people and not enough time on data to support his points, which he could easily do if he actually put the effort into it. What I'm trying to say is that he doesn't follow your tactics, Neven. You sir, carefully analyze data and make your conclusions without doomsday rhetoric. That is the most effective way to sway people, as opposed to using heavy-handed rhetoric that turns people off. That type of tactic is not helpful and harms the environmental movement more than it helps. That's why I come here, to listen to rational discussion and conclusions formed from it.

Sam

Bryant, Tonyjuggler,

Have you completely lost your ability to reason?

The arctic is nearing terminal meltdown. The climate system on the whole is on the verge of a state change as a result which will be cataclysmic for most species on earth including humans. Drilling anywhere and continuing to increase emissions in the face of all that is freaking nuts, unless of course you have a death wish for all of humanity.

But to go that one better and support drilling in one of the most sensitive and difficult places on the whole freaking planet - I am flabbergasted by the over the top level of stupid that requires.

There will be no possible cleanup from a spill or blowout in the arctic. Choosing to drill anyway and risk that is blow out the gaskets madness. Then to just add one more level of icing on the cake, the liklihood of failure in the arctic is orders of magnitude greater than anywhere else.

And as to strict regulations.... Bah humbug. There is no such thing. No one will go to jail. No person will be fined and lose their personal fortune. There will be no accountability. The regulators are fully cooptedn by the industry. And the politicians are cuddled up in their pockets.

Reason is fine and wonderful. But it is near to meaningless anymore. We have likely blown through dozens of points of no return, and as a consequence we are headed inexorably to a world unlike anything humanity has ever known. We are headed to the Eemian at break neck speed and now for good measure we've decided to strap the biggest rocket we can find to our ass and light it off, to see what'll happen.

Here, hold my beer. Watch this....

Being polite, saying kind words to the psychopaths so they like you is a sure enough ticket on the ride to hell.


Sam

Correction...

We are headed at breakneck speed back to the Eocene.

P-maker

Well spoken Sam

On the other hand, this move may give the World a new and strong focal point to oppose.

One should have thought that Shell had learned something from the Brent Spar affair...

Cheers P

navegante

Yes he sounds pretty sensacionalistic but he has THE point. Shame on Obama, one hand to God (pretend push politics against emissions, weakly) and ythe other to the Devil (drill baby drill, just likr his predecessor).

Neven
Mckibben saying Obama is denying climate change is over the top. Shell will be subject to strict regulations, which doesn't give a whole lot of reassurance, but I think Bill is going overboard a bit here.

I try not to post entire articles, so that people follow the link and provide the source website with a page hit, but here's what McKibben writes in the last paragraph of the article to explain what he means with Obama's denial:

This is not climate denial of the Republican sort, where people simply pretend the science isn’t real. This is climate denial of the status quo sort, where people accept the science, and indeed make long speeches about the immorality of passing on a ruined world to our children. They just deny the meaning of the science, which is that we must keep carbon in the ground.
Neven

For instance, he says nothing about the remote geography of the Chuchki Sea that makes drilling difficult and the ability to respond quickly to a spill is severely hampered.

He does:


By “extreme” I don’t just mean that Shell will be drilling for oil in places where there’s no hope of cleaning up the inevitable spills.

But that is not the point. The point is that you have on the one hand Obama making everyone laugh at the White House Correspondents' Ball with his climate rant, and on the other hand you have Obama approving Arctic drilling.

He spends too much time trying to scare people and not enough time on data to support his points, which he could easily do if he actually put the effort into it.

Nonsense, McKibben takes things to their logical conclusions, instead of caving in to denial of the liberal kind. If we are even remotely serious about solving the AGW problem, we don't go approving psychopathic ventures like Arctic drilling. And that's for starters.

Basically what you guys, Bryant and Tonyjuggler, are saying is that we simply have to accept tobacco companies applying for and getting permission to put cigarette machines in cancer wards. Or soda vending machines in schools where over half the kids is overweight and destined for a life of obesity and diabetes misery. Because that's just the way it goes, and anyway, it doesn't mean all that much in the grander scheme of things.

No, we don't have to accept that. We draw a line and defend it. Drilling in the Arctic is nothing short of insane, and a humiliating slap in the face. It needs to be stopped.

Bryant Morganelli

Sam,
Since when I did I say supported this move? You're putting words in my mouth, and calling me stupid and unable to reason is on par with Cincinattus' shows of disrespect, yet I don't see you being reprimanded like he was. And you'd be surprised at how good punishing regulations can be. As I recall, BP was fined 4.5 billion dollars for their spill. So your regulations argument falls flat. I am heavily opposed to this move, and your type of attack and doomsday rhetoric is exactly the type of thing I'm talking about. That sort of tactic is a ticket to turning people off and hurting your own cause.
Neven,
I never said I supported this move. I fully oppose it and think it's a stupid idea. Again, you guys are twisting my words. And I stand by what I said about McKibben. He barely even mentions the geography and spends no time on the specifics of it. Not to mention, nobody mentions Shell still has to get a number of permits, the drilling is only in very shallow depths, and only during summer months. Still a stupid idea, but the likelihood of a major spill goes down. And I think you're off base on liberal denial. If Obama was in denial, he wouldn't be having the EPA crack down on emissions substantially.

Boa05att

Recent studies

e.g. The geographical distribution of fossil fuels unused when limiting global warming to 2 °C
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v517/n7533/full/nature14016.html

make clear that:

"We show that development of resources in the Arctic and any increase in unconventional oil production are incommensurate with efforts to limit average global warming to 2 °C."

Obama knows this, and he's said himself that:

"We’re not going to be able to burn it all. Over the course of the next several decades, we’re going to have to build a ramp from how we currently use energy to where we need to use energy. And we’re not going to suddenly turn off a switch and suddenly we’re no longer using fossil fuels, but we have to use this time wisely, so that you have a tapering off of fossil fuels replaced by clean energy sources that are not releasing carbon … But I very much believe in keeping that 2 [degree] Celsius target as a goal."

But by allowing Shell to go and drilling the Arctic he's undermining he own professed goals of reaching the 2°C target and showing how hollow his words are.

This ability to do one thing and say another with regards to climate change is something that psychologists have begun to call "stealth denial"

http://www.rsablogs.org.uk/tag/stealth-denial/

http://mitpress.mit.edu/books/living-denial/

Jim Hunt

Here's a thought. Why don't we stop calling each other names?

Instead I have an alternative suggestion. Firstly read all about a £1000 Arctic sea ice bet I am just about to embark upon:

http://GreatWhiteCon.info/2015/05/the-new-normal-in-the-arctic/#comments

Then head on over to Breitbart and add +1 to the comment where I idly enquire:

Got any money where your mouth is James [Delingpole]?

https://disqus.com/by/jim_hunt/

This has been a public service announcement.

Bryant Morganelli

But by allowing Shell to go and drilling the Arctic he's undermining he own professed goals of reaching the 2°C target and showing how hollow his words are.

This ability to do one thing and say another with regards to climate change is something that psychologists have begun to call "stealth denial"

Boa,
Here's where your argument falters a bit. The EPA is bringing the hammer down on fossil fuel emissions from new and existing power plants, the worst emitters of them all. A guy in stealth denial wouldn't be instructing the EPA to do that.
That being said, I agree that the Shell situation is paradoxical, but to say Obama's in denial is too much. What I think he's trying to do with this Shell move is two-fold. He wants to maintain the current oil power supply until renewables are ready to take over, which could be a while until everyone stops freaking out over nuclear power. And I think this move is political in the sense that he's trying to win over moderate Republicans to his environmental plans. I certainly don't agree with his giving approval, but I understand why he's probably doing it.
Jim,
So you're betting on ice-free by the end of 2022, huh? Are you at least open to the possibility of it being later than that?
My thought is more late 2020s, early 2030s, in line with Mark Serreze.

Jim Hunt

Bryant - Sure. For example I've also bet a climate modeller from the Hadley Centre a pint of best bitter based around 2030.

In this case however, note the terms carefully and also the fact that a worthy cause benefits whatever the eventual outcome.

Plus I get to simultaneously extract the Michael out of James Delingpole, Paul Homewood and "Steve Goddard", which I must say causes me immense pleasure!

https://twitter.com/jim_hunt/status/598856406540877824

Any chance of a "retweet" or three?

Bryant Morganelli

The terms? I didn't catch that on the comments part.
Anyway, it's just that Sam's post is the exact reason why I speak out against doomsdayers. That type of language and actions, such as chaining oneself to a pole, hurts the climate change cause. The general public gets pissed off when they see and hear things like that, and are more likely not to be terribly supportive. Rational discussion based on data, and not going off the deep end and predicting armageddon like McKibben and some of his people are prone to do, is the way to go. And yeah, I'll get around to a retweet later on today.

Sam

Bryant,

You seem to be making the fundamental error of believing that this is an argument about beliefs and that that is what is important. Nature doesn't give a rip what anyone thinks or believes. It operates on fundamental principles with a total disregard to thoughts, beliefs and feelings.

This isn't about an argument in a class on rhetoric. This is about the fundamental realities of the world that immediately threaten the continued existence of our species on earth.

There is no chaining oneself to poles going on. This isn't rhetoric. It is scientific speculation on where we are precisely at this moment and where we are headed.

There are of course great unknowns in that. However, erring at all in our understanding of this can lead us to continue actions that have a very high risk of ending the existence of the vast majority of species currently extant on earth, including humans.

Let us get very real here for a moment. The atmospheric changes resulting from human emissions of CO2, methane and nitrogen oxides have now caused oceanic and atmospheric changes that are dramatically changing atmospheric and oceanic circulation. This has directly caused the beginning of a perpetual drought in California that will depopulate most of the state in the next several years. Following that we can reaaonably expect to see the same happen across a swath from the Oregon California border east to Iowa and south through Texas. This will become the great American desert comparable to the Sahara. In time temperature rise will render Dallas and Houston with climates similar to present day Death Valley. The people from that region have already waited too long. The crops are failing.

Their mass exposus will reverse the exodus of the dust bowl with titanic societal changes in the east, if that is where they end up.

At the same time, the changed jet stream is for a time dragging the remaining arctic cold southward over the eastern U.S. This isn't as massive a change as the locals perceived it to be. And it will not last. But, just now it shapes the thinking of the people who live there and who dominate U.S. and world politics. That couldn't come at a worst time for sanity.

The bulk of the world gets it. It is only a small but important set of people in the U.A. who do not.

Ask the people of São Paulo or Australians in general. They now know what climate drought feels like and how that can rapidly change and destroy whole nations.

The declining great oceanic circulation in the North Atlantic is already shifting the northern end of the Gulf Stream and cutting off that flow of heat to Europe. In the next several years that will change climate and weather there immensely. But in what ways? The jet stream motive force is the heat differential from pole to equator. As that declines the driving force is falling. At first that has slowed the jets and made them erratic. Now it appears to be making the early steps to something else as chaos has begun to develop in the jet streams over Asia.

And the western Antarctic has now begun unstoppable terminal collapse.

The next three decades are going to be an exciting, harsh and amazing experience.

Though some in the U.S. desperately want to frame this as a debate over beliefs, it is none of that. This is a global crisis greater than ever faced by man. And yet we are treating it as a freahman debate club argument.

Grow up. Wake up. Get real.

Jeff Lemieux

I think the Obama administration wants to send a message that it is willing to push for cheaper fossil energy for geo-political reasons (to undercut Russia and Iran) and for economic reasons to ease the pressure on households, while also being sincere about trying to figure out how to switch to non-CO2 emitting energy. But it is complex and possibly contradictory. Lower prices have led to less new drilling in the U.S., which is good, right? We really do need to leave the stuff in the ground, or at least not burn it when we drill it out. How to achieve that end goal without empowering the fossil-fuel funded nations that are viewed as geo-political challenges is a tough thing.

plus.google.com/102121405461486954917

On the other hand, OPEC knows that AGW will wipe out the oil market before they can pump and sell all of their oil. Thus, they intend to sell as much of their oil as possible, as fast as possible, and are willing to lower their profit margin.

The Arctic Oil will always be more expensive than Middle-Eastern Oil.

OPEC is very likely to keep oil prices low enough that Shell cannot sell that Arctic Oil at a profit. Developing Arctic Oil is a waste of Shell Oil's shareholder's capital.

In addition, climate is changing so fast in the Arctic that there is no way to develop a basis for engineering design. Engineered structures will either be horrendously expensive or will collapse in the first weather that comes in outside of basis of design. e.g., http://www.nrdc.org/energy/shell-arctic-drilling.asp

For example, all the sea ice is moving much faster than ever before. Not many engineered structures can withstand the impact of 1 meter thick ice flows moving at speed that arctic sea ice can move these days. Nor is that sea ice solid enough and stable enough to put drilling equipment on. Nor can they use permafrost to support staging facilities as was done in the 1960s and 70s when the geological studies were done and the Alaskan pipeline built.

Shell will not be able to pump Arctic Oil at competitive prices - even in an "ice free" Arctic. I would bet that they wreck 2 more drill rigs and call it done!

Colorado Bob

Irony # 101 -


All-Time May Heat Record for Europe Falls For the 2nd Time This Month

By: Jeff Masters , 1:01 PM GMT on May 14, 2015

An extreme May heat wave unprecedented in European recorded history has invaded Spain and Portugal, bringing the hottest May temperatures ever recorded on the continent. At 1:50pm local time on Thursday, the mercury had already soared to 42.6°C (108.7°F) at Algemesi (Valencian Community) in Spain, smashing the previous European May heat record set just eight days ago--41.9°C (107.4°F) at Catenanuova, Sicily (Italy) on May 6, 2015. Many stations in Spain's Valencian community are above the June records and near the all time records for any month. This week's heat wave began yesterday, when hot air from North Africa flowed northwards over Spain and Portugal, setting all-time May heat records at Madrid, Sevilla, Cordoba, Ciudad Real, Granada, and many other cities. Portugal beat its all-time May heat record with a 40.0°C (104.0°F) reading at Beja EMA (old record: 39.5°C, 103.1°F, at Regua on May 28, 2001.) The most remarkable record yesterday, however, was from the Canary Islands to the southwest of Spain, where Lanzarote Airport hit 42.6°C (108.7°F), breaking its old record for the entire month of May by 6°C (10.8°F)! The old record was 36.6 °C (97.9°F) on May 24, 1986.

http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=2987

Bryant Morganelli

Again Sam, name calling. You seem to have no respect for others when making your points, so I will ignore you. Neven, can you say something to him please?
First of all, if the Paris agreement goes forward, as I think it will, then it will keeps us below four degrees celsius and further actions to keep us even further below. Plus, you completely ignore the potential of geoengineering to cool the climate. And last of all, you can't predict with absolute certainty what actions the world will take and how temperature will play out in the next few decades
I base my words on science, so don't go accusing me of making it about beliefs. If you want a personal war, I'm not going to oblige you.

Neven
Neven, can you say something to him please?

There's nothing I have to say to Sam because he politely explains why he disagrees with you, whereas you accuse him of name-calling and twisting your words. But that's not what he's doing. In fact, it's you that's doing the twisting of words, and in the process act like a classical concern troll.

These lines...

That type of tactic is not helpful and harms the environmental movement more than it helps.

(...)

That sort of tactic is a ticket to turning people off and hurting your own cause.

(...)

That type of language and actions, such as chaining oneself to a pole, hurts the climate change cause. The general public gets pissed off when they see and hear things like that, and are more likely not to be terribly supportive. Rational discussion based on data, and not going off the deep end and predicting armageddon like McKibben and some of his people are prone to do, is the way to go.

...are classic examples of concern trolling. Cut it out or be out.

Wayne Kernochan

Thoughts on McKibben: He notes 3 places where sources of carbon pollution are best left underground -- keystone/Canadian tar sands, the powder basin coal, and Arctic oil. The key with regard to Keystone is that it is a "gateway drug", creating infrastructure to handle shipping tough-to-handle oil. It is therefore good that so far Obama has been resisting going ahead with it; but that oversight should also be applied to other tar-sands/oil-shale shipment efforts that so far the US government has let go ahead.

With regard to Shell and the Arctic, it is indeed foolhardy to let Shell drill; but so far, Shell has failed to handle the Arctic weather, and there is good reason to suspect that it will do so next season, so there is at least a case that the permit may simply cause Shell to fail and defer its plans for another few years, when the political consensus will be better. I agree there's major environmental damage in the meantime, but the key is whether significant amounts of oil wind up being shipped.

It's the Powder Basin case, about which I know little, that really concerns me. According to my take on James Hansen's calculations, the politically feasible way of avoiding his "worst case scenario" is to leave all but about 7-10 % of the coal in the ground. If Powder Basin represents a significant amount of remaining coal reserves, that would mean a major threat of the "worst case scenario." (cf a blog post I did last year)

Let me close on a personal note. I have been a lifelong Democrat (and liberal, for those of you who know what that word really means). If Keystone is approved or something else that threatens to lead to "maximum feasible benefit", I will no longer be a Democrat, as no matter what they do both parties will lead us to "worst case scenario". I will, instead, vote for a Green candidate, whether there is one or not.

Martin Gisser

I'd like to believe this is a politcal message to several fronts at once from the political genius Obama.
1) Message to Shell: "Go ahead, shoot yourself in the foot. Demonstrate your technological incompetence and moral bankruptcy". (His anger translator would say, "go f* yourself".)
2) Message to the sane world, e.g. to McKibben, to the divestment movement, to environmental groups large and small: "Your voice is not yet loud enough. I beg you to work harder."
3) Message to the fossil fools, the Republicans, the global markets: "I try hard to keep the world economy stable. We cannot afford another financial crisis due to rising oil prices."

------------
Methinks Saudi Arabia is not targetting someone specific in the oil price war. It's not about ruining Iranian or Russian fossilists. It is about ruining any competitor. Shells seems to happily comply with their Arctic suicide mission.

-- Martin Gisser not "D" :-)

Bryant Morganelli

With all due respect, Neven, your understanding is flawed here.

Have you completely lost your ability to reason?
Grow up. Wake up. Get real.

How is that polite?

But to go that one better and support drilling in one of the most sensitive and difficult places on the whole freaking planet - I am flabbergasted by the over the top level of stupid that requires.

Again, he calls me stupid. And I never said I supported drilling, which he would have known if he had actually bothered to read what I wrote.

Neven
Again, he calls me stupid.

I read that as anyone supporting Arctic drilling, is stupid. You're not supporting Arctic drilling, so you're not stupid.

But it would seem to me stupid to disagree with Bill McKibben when he writes:

"It’s as if the tobacco companies were applying for permission to put cigarette machines in cancer wards. And the White House gave Shell the license."

You can't go and say climate change is a serious issue and then allow Arctic drilling. There's a huge disconnect there. It's denial, pure and simple.

Neven

2) Message to the sane world, e.g. to McKibben, to the divestment movement, to environmental groups large and small: "Your voice is not yet loud enough. I beg you to work harder."

That's why I re-posted!

Boy, that Obama sure is a genius. ;-)

Werther

I’ve read Neven’s post this morning, when just one entry had been made. That first one was about McKibben ‘going overboard’.

I did consider weighing in, but felt not compelled enough. The daily streak of info I gather on a variety of AGW and climate change issues is enough to keep me busy. I don’t want to involve myself in policy discussions that will prove to be ‘overboard’ soon enough.

Tonight I see a full blown thread. So there’s enough interest. Keeping in mind that the blog is about Arctic Sea Ice, and there’s more than enough space to debate these policy aspects on the Forum, I’ll be short here.

There are lots of people committing themselves to a green transition. There’s an overwhelming bunch of scientific work done that supports the need for very urgent action. But opposition is strong and a depressing amount of economic activity still is in the BAU-sector.

McKibben is not in my ‘most-read’ category. But I know his commitment to ‘350.org’, earth day and climate march-action. Activism is needed to avoid complacency. What has actually been realised in terms of transition is by far not enough. That’s why I think McKibben did nail it indeed. The stuff does have to be left in the ground. Given the course AGW is taking, it is not of main interest that a rapid phase out of FF’s will hurt BAU-economic standards.

Better endure economic pain now, than loose what will after all be really precious; this planets’ unique biosphere.

Colorado Bob

From Siberia to British Columbia Arctic Wildfires Begin an Ominous Ignition

It’s abnormally warm today near Great Slave Lake, Northwest Territory. And the smell of smoke from massive fires to the west lingers in the air.

Temperatures there yesterday afternoon read 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Where I sat typing this blog in Gaithersburg, Maryland, it was a somewhat cooler 67. A north-south temperature flip-flop that has become all-too-common in recent years. A warming in the Arctic that sets the stage for gargantuan summer wildfires burning through some of the world’s greatest carbon stores. Vast and thawing permafrost deposits stretching in a great arc from Siberia through Alaska and on into Northern Canada. Immense loads of fuel for a newly forming ring of fire that is now an entirely human invention.

Link

Kevin McKinney

I've been pointing out on the news site I frequent, CBC.CA, that it's crazy to explore for the most difficult to extract, dangerous, and expensive oil when we can basically only afford to burn about a third of proven reserves. So I agree with Neven and McKibbon.

But the President may well have made the calculation that that Arctic oil is not commercially viable now, and perhaps will never be.

Colorado Bob

Scientists: Earth Endangered by New Strain of Fact-Resistant Humans
By Andy Borowitz

MINNEAPOLIS (The Borowitz Report) – Scientists have discovered a powerful new strain of fact-resistant humans who are threatening the ability of Earth to sustain life, a sobering new study reports.

The research, conducted by the University of Minnesota, identifies a virulent strain of humans who are virtually immune to any form of verifiable knowledge, leaving scientists at a loss as to how to combat them.

“These humans appear to have all the faculties necessary to receive and process information,” Davis Logsdon, one of the scientists who contributed to the study, said. “And yet, somehow, they have developed defenses that, for all intents and purposes, have rendered those faculties totally inactive.”

More worryingly, Logsdon said, “As facts have multiplied, their defenses against those facts have only grown more powerful.”

http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/scientists-earth-endangered-by-new-strain-of-fact-resistant-humans

Colorado Bob

Thawing Arctic carbon threatens 'runaway' global warming

Answer - it reaches the atmosphere at breakneck speed

Researchers have checked the mouths of the Arctic rivers for the telltale evidence of ancient dissolved organic carbon - partly-rotted vegetable matter deep-frozen more than 20,000 years ago - and found surprisingly little.

Now Robert Spencer, an oceanographer at Florida State University, and colleagues from the US, UK, Russia, Switzerland and Germany report in Geophysical Research Letters that the answer lies in the soil - and in the headwater streams of the terrestrial Arctic regions.

Instead of flowing down towards the sea, the thawing peat and ancient leaf litter of the warming permafrost is being metabolised by microbes and released swiftly into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide.

The scientists conclude that the microbes, once they get a chance to work at all, act so fast that half of all the soil carbon they can get at is turned into carbon dioxide within a week. It gets into the atmosphere before it has much chance to flow downstream with the soil meltwater.

The researchers centred their study on Duvanny Yar in Siberia, where the Kolyma River sluices through a bank of permafrost to expose the frozen organic carbon.

They worked at 19 different sites - including places where the permafrost was more than 30 metres deep - and they found tributary streams made entirely of thawed permafrost.

Measurement of the carbon concentration confirmed that it was indeed ancient. The researchers analysed its form in the meltwater, then they bottled it with a selection of local microbes, and waited.

Link

Novastellar

I totally agree with the earlier commenter that Arctic oil developments could not possibly be economically viable. Now that OPEC has declined to manipulate the oil prices, the future of many deposits are in doubt. I wonder if a prolonged period of low oil prices would ruin the tar sands developments.
Frankly, I think fossil fuel companies should be spending their money on pivoting away from using their products as fuel and focus on materials research. Creating more carbon based materials could help them remain in business in the years ahead. I wonder if it is possible to create a replacement for concrete and cement from coal.

Lennartvdl

"It’s as if the tobacco companies were applying for permission to put cigarette machines in cancer wards. And the White House gave Shell the license."

There's an important difference with smoking though: smoking can be done without endangering everyone else's health; burning oil and emitting CO2 can't be done without endangering the health of everyone else's home planet.

marktime

Semantics aside, there are real costs that are starting to accumulate. We are already seeing the harbinger of the Great Cull, 6000 boat people denied landing in the South China Sea. Some of them are from Bangladesh, one of the first countries that will experience the effect of sea-level rise. The Pacific Islands are a drop in the ocean (pun intended) compared to the 157 million people living at an average of 10m above sea level. When the Ganges Delta goes there will be an awful lot of people in boats looking for somewhere to run.

That will impact on us all, wherever we are, but by that time it will be too late to regret how we allowed ourselves to frogmarched into oblivion by a few short-sighted people whose only interest was to protect their assets. Drilling in the Arctic is another instance of that behaviour and Bill McKibben is right to call Obama out on this.

Lennartvdl

"157 million people living at an average of 10m abovw sea level"

If I remember correctly worldwide about 600 million to one billion live at 10m or less above sea level.

Glenn Doty

Neven,

It's a question of what is possible, and what is not. Over the past 10 years in the U.S., we've undergone a "super-renaissance" in the renewable energy space... and the total share of electric energy generated from renewables has increased by ~5%.

The past 6 years have also seen a 5% drop in our liquid fuel dependence, and an increase in the share of biofuels within our liquid fuel consumption has increased ~5%.

That's a fairly rapid shift. But that won't get us carbon neutral next year. That handshake with China - which McKibben childishly derides - is the single most significant step forward in greenhouse gas emission mitigation that has ever been accomplished - by any administration in any country.

The U.S. has seen its net carbon emissions drop over the past 6 years, all while seeing significant economic and population growth.

We're doing well, and the administration has done a LOT. But this is not a challenge that can be solved in a single decade. We'll still need oil in 20 years (in fact global oil consumption will likely not peak for another 20 years). So we can either allow for heavily regulated drilling or we can rely on less regulated drilling from other countries and from Canadiann tar sands and Venesuelan ultra-heavy oil deposits.

We're not going to be able to stop burning fossil fuels in a year. That's just not possible.

(That said, I was horrified when I saw the news, I thought that this would be much safer if they had waited a few years for the ice to thin a little more. A few billion tons of ice hitting the rig supports along a 2m "blade" could cause a lot of problems).

navegante

Man, Glenn, I found your post reasonable until you wrote 'much safer if they had waited a few years for the ice to thin a little more'.
So 20 years until peaking oil production, I see the ice-free Arctic become also rig-full Arctic

Great!! Mad max dreamland

Glenn Doty

navegante,

I've spent my entire adult life working to change policy - in some cases quitting a far more lucrative career and working full time in lobbying/campaigning; while at other times just volunteering time.

I'm working to develop a viable carbon-neutral alternative platform to fossil oil... so in it's not like I'm a friend of the industry.

But it doesn't help anyone for us to not recognize the reality of the situation we're in. three centuries ago we signed a Faustian bargain and started using fossil energy to augment and eventually supplant human work. It gave us godlike power over the rest of the natural world... but it's a Faustian bargain. Those are very hard to break, even when you're trying.

We're going to be stuck to fossil energy for quite a while.

navegante

I find reasonable to look for compromising solutions, although I don't agree with the (a bit long) timescales that you imply (as far as I can understand).

What I find a bit bizzare is to wait for the ice to vanish in order to ensure the safety of the platform(s)

To hell with the platforms, I hope the ice does not vanish and Shell BP and company to hell

Ott Toomet

I have been following this blog a while. Thank you neven:-)

A comment from economic perspective:


  • Drilling in Arctic may well be compatible with fighting global warming, given other policies are in place

  • The "other policies" must include appropriate measures to protect the natural and human environment in case of drilling

  • Instead of regulating the quantity of carbon in the atmosphere through drilling permits, it should be regulated either through carbon tax or a cap-and-trade measures. In this case more supply would redistribute profits among producers but not increase the quantity of oil burned

  • To make it politically more palatable, one has to lower the other taxes in accordance what carbon taxes/permits bring in to the government

Well, I know politics tends to ignore economics, but this is the world we should be striving to.

Glenn Doty

navegante,

While I too am terrified of the ramifications of the dissappearance of the ice pack, there is no possible way that we can prevent a future involving an ice-free arctic.

Had America elected Gore in 1988, and gone on a full-scale renewables push then, with subsidies galore for renewable energy and a well designed carbon credit system for emissions... and had that continued with extremely progressive governments from 1988 till now, the world would likely still be emitting in excess of ~28 GT of CO2, and we'd still be looking at a nearly impossible task of saving the arctic ice (though it might only now be diminished to the point that it was in 2000).

It's a BIG problem, and we have delayed far too long. We're going to have to accept some very large scale accommodation costs.

It's also inconceivable that we could avert continuing growth in global oil demand for at least a decade, probably 2 decades. The 3rd world is growing at a far faster rate than the 1st world is improving efficiency... and none yet have really invested in viable alternative transportation fuel platforms. (It's possible that had WindFuels gotten some seed investment 7 years ago, its growth trajectory might be fast enough to roll back the oil peak a few years - but that is 7 years delayed and counting).

Some things really are as good as they can be - given the current givens. No matter how much it sucks. We had our window to correct course, and we missed it. Now we're going to hit the wall, it's just a matter of reducing the speed as much as possible so we can survive the crash.

jdallen_wa

I think in part in assessing this, we need to start by separating a number of independent issues which become bundled together in this even.

At the heart of it - off-shore drilling - at the very start, is a questionable enterprise. It requires considerable additional capital investment. It requires work to be done in conditions which fundamentally more dangerous than working on land. The risk of accident is amplified by the environmental factors. The risk of environmental damage and the difficulty of mitigating it are orders of magnitude higher than working on land. It is not an activity any sanely managed company would pursue, save for the ridiculous profit to be gained. Under the best of conditions (Gulf of Mexico) it is a ridiculous enterprise. Adding in the challenges of arctic conditions - cold, ice, etc. pushes it into the realm of pathological madness. One blowout like BP could destroy the entire arctic ecosystem; it would be uncontrollable, impossible to concentrate resources to stop, and would create problems which could persist for a century or more.

That by itself should be sufficient cause to walk away from it.

The carbon issue in this case is a sideshow; the actual carbon recovered from arctic oil is nominal; the north slope is already past peak and declining for years. The biggest threats are actually existing production, coal, and the half-assed way gas production is being pursued via fracking.

Given that, I am mystified by Shells determination to pursue this. I doubt they will *ever* be able to make it economically viable. It is Machiavellian, but it would not shock me to find that figured into the decision; let them be fools, and I will (somehow) create political advantage from it.

Clive Mitchell

Some bright guy once said that repeatedly doing the same thing and expecting different results was stupid.

Scientists have been telling the world for years that, with a lot of effort, 2 deg. C is avoidable.

A lot of effort consistently has not been "with-ed" for years so it looks like 2C is not going to be avoided. To deny that is looking like false hope and wishful thinking.

Perhaps we need to stop being stupid and do something different.

Billions of people dying is not important. It's just statistics and (probably/possibly/maybe) "not here". (Until it kicks your door in.)

What is important is politicians losing their place in history.

Perhaps the new message from science should be, "The recent socio-political record shows that we will not avoid 2C. Arctic sea ice loss will affect the jet stream in x years sufficiently to disrupt harvests by y% leading to global food shortages and riots in cities" (with recent examples of food riots) "resulting in the progressive collapse of civilization. The survivors' struggles will not include trying to retain the political history of the world. Your legacy will be forgotten."

It may get a different result. Worth a try?

Chris Reynolds

JD Allen,

While looking at market data I came across a particular firm that had invested in licenses to exploit shale as in the north of England (IGas).

Now this firm has invested a stack of cash into licenses for fracking (IIRC the biggest in the UK - but don't quote me on that). However their actual exploratory drilling programme is very leasurely, unlike Caudrilla.

Such firms, and Shell in the Arctic, are playing a long game. They are buying up licenses, knwing full well that whilst the oil glut persists it won't be economically viable. But the oil glut, and accompanying low prices, will not persist.

Between 2005 and 2008 oil prices increased exponentially as declining oil supply (e.g. Venezuela and others peaking) met with soaring demand (China and the economic bubble created by cheap credit - e.g. in the OECD). In 2008 the 'credit crunch' hit, possibly triggered in part by high oil prices in the US. In the wake of that, oil prices slumped and have not risen as high as in the 2005 to 2008 period.

Now prices are kept low by a combination of lower demand (OECD demand level since 2008), and increased supply. In the past Saudi Arabia would have cut supply to raise prices, this time they have not (US/EU vs Russia game?). Furthermore the increase in prices had supported an explosion of fracking and exploitation of new smaller oil fields.

What the investors in UK gas fracking and Shell in the Arctic are doing is reflecting sentiment regards future energy supply. The levelling of conventional oil supply since 2005 has continued. The increase in oil supply since then has mainly been due to non conventional supply and new fields. A substantial number of the world's oil producing nations are post peak, those that are not have little leeway to increase production to make up for those in decline. The fundamentals remained geared to high oil price, and those investing in leases for new oil/gas fields know this.

We are in a lull in prices, they will go up again. Those holding licenses for exploration and exploitation will move forward substantially then. Some may be investing in production at a loss now in the hope of catching the upswing in oil prices with fields ready to ramp up production around an existing infrasctructure.

stan

Chris,

If I may nitpick, the price of Oil in 2009-2014 was not significantly lower than 2005-2008.

the oil drillers in the USA are having severe balance sheet issues apparently, and at even at high prices, most of the companies couldn't make it work.

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/04/oil-price-collapse-u-s-shales-fault.html

this is an interesting read. Website makes the claim that access to easy credit and low interest rates after 2009 allowed investors to drive the price of oil up to make the plays even possible.

excerpt:

"The current oil-price collapse is because of expensive tight and other unconventional oil and the market’s inability to support its cost. $90 per barrel WTI price appears to be the empirical threshold for demand destruction. Only the best parts of core areas of the Bakken and Eagle Ford shale plays make some profit at $90 per barrel and almost nothing makes money at present oil prices."

Chris Reynolds

Stan,

Thanks, the price fell after 2008 but then did rise to higher levels before the recent collapse.
http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/europpblog/files/2015/01/oilpricechart20002015.jpg
It's been years since I followed the issue closely enough and had misremembered.

But I stand by my reading that the people investing in what seems like uneconomic prospects (in this case Shell) aren't idiots. They're playing a long game. I didn't discuss it above but as you raise it, I suspect a bubble in some of the mainland US investment - expectations losing touch with reality (like the DotCom bubble).

Wayne Kernochan

Much of this discussion appears to center around how to convey the correct amount of fear for the future and need to act far more forcefully now. I believe that the correct analogy is that of stopping a rock rolling downhill and gathering momentum as it goes. For example:

Because of inaction and worse over the last 5-10 years, we have only a 25% chance of avoiding the completion of stage 1 (4 degrees C of global warming) and the onset of stage 2. Completion of stage 1 would doom us to more than ten million deaths from starvation and related effects -- a toll comparable to WW II -- primarily borne by developing countries but also causing significant hits to developed nations' economies. It would also quadruple the costs of avoiding stage 3. Avoidance of stage 2 would require constant-terms decreases of fossil-fuel-related carbon emissions by 5% per year over the next 15 years, and ruling out the use of 96% of coal reserves, 85% of oil/natural gas reserves, and all tar sands/oil shale reserves for the next 1000 years.

Failure to avoid completion of stage 2 (8 degrees C and more of global warming) would doom us to more than 100 million deaths from starvation and global-warming-related disasters -- a toll greater than any in human history. It would again be borne primarily by developing nations, but developed nations are likely to see 1% or more of their populations similarly affected. The global economy is likely to see a drag of 1% per year from this, resulting in slightly more than stagnant economies in all cases. It would also quadruple the costs of avoiding stage 4 (worst case scenario). Avoidance of the onset of stage 3 would require constant-terms decreases of fossil-fuel-related carbon emissions by 2% per year over the next 35 years, and ruling out the use of 94% of coal reserves, 83% of oil/natural gas reserves, and all tar sands/oil shale reserves for the next 1000 years.

Failure to avoid the completion of stage 3 (12 degrees C warming) would doom us to the deaths of more than 1 billion, 10-20% of the world's population, including 10% of developed nations' population. It would also quadruple the costs of avoiding stage 3, in economies and governments struggling with the costs of stage 2. The world economy would shrink to about 60% or its present level before stabilizing. Avoidance of stage 4 would require constant-terms decreases of fossil-fuel-related carbon emissions by 1 1/2% per year over the next 55 years, and ruling out the use of 88% of coal reserves, 67% of oil/natural gas reserves, and all tar sands/oil shale reserves for the next 1000 years.

Failure to avoid the completion of stage 4 (16 degrees C warming, 28 degrees C in the far north and south) would doom us to the deaths of approximately 90% of human population, or 8 billion (assuming population growth as projected until 2050) from starvation, disease, war, poisonous fumes, and extreme weather. The world's present rich are projected to survive at only a 50% rate, and to be less rich than the military men who will take over. Most governments will collapse, and human population will center around growing crops in flammable, mosquito-ridden swamps in central Siberia, northern Canada, and small segments in Manchuria and northern Argentina. For six months of the year, for all except high-altitude populations, work outdoors would be effectively impossible. Economies would be inefficient due to dominance by the military. Avoidance of stage 4 would require constant-terms decreases of fossil-fuel-related carbon emissions by 1% per year over the next 60 years, and ruling out the use of 83% of coal reserves, 50% of oil/natural gas reserves, and all tar sands/oil shale reserves for the next 1000 years.


John Bilsky

OK. I believe that even the idea of drilling in the Arctic is insane. Of course there will always be the paper chase involved however it is not the price of oil that is important to it's extraction. Economics can only play a role as long as the EROEI is halfway decent. In the past it was 100:1 & the energy we obtained was essentially free. NOW the ratio is a LOT less possibly as low as 5:1. Once it hits 1:1 the game is over.

Secondly, well over 90% of all transportation depends on fossil fuels. You will not plow the ground or run semi's across a continent using rechargeable batteries. The chemistry of fuels precludes replacing them with anything other than what is already known. There will be no energy effective liquid fuels based on carbon available. And if the fuel isn't based on carbon, what pray tell will it be based on?

Thirdly, the single factor that many people tend to forget is time. While we are not running out of time, we are running out of the amount of time needed to come to cope and deal with the consequences of not doing something twenty years ago.

Given these basic essentials, and the trends we as a species are perpetuating, things are going to be quite "interesting" in the next couple of decades.

Predictions are hard to make, especially when they are about the future.

Jai Mitchell

Wayne,

4C of warming is [i]incompatible with an organized global community, is likely to be beyond ‘adaptation’ and is devastating to the majority of ecosystems. . .[/i]

http://grist.org/climate-change/2011-12-05-the-brutal-logic-of-climate-change/

Indeed, extreme heat in the tropics associated with 2C of warming would lead to hundreds of millions of excess human deaths, 4C would produce billions. In addition 4C also,

[i]and has a high probability of not being stable[/i]

Only 5.2C of globally averaged warming produces about 10 days a year where the heat and humidity levels in the Ohio river valley become so bad that the human body, laying naked in the shade, in a wind storm would be unable to regulate its core body temperature and die of heat stroke.

it is called the Heat and Humidity Stroke Index.

http://riskybusiness.org/reports/national-report/regions/midwest

8C of averaged warming would make it impossible for most mammals to exist within the 45'N and 45'S latitudes. This is what happened during the Eocene.

drilling for oil in the arctic as opposed to draconian seizure of assets and implementation of a war-era climate mitigation response is worse than inept. It is suicidal.

Robert S

I believe that Ott Toomet has identified exactly the right issues. At the end of the day, achieving meaningful restrictions in GHG emissions will always be primarily driven by reducing demand. While I am completely against arctic drilling for environmental reasons, I regard the current attempts to focus GHG reduction efforts on divestment, arguments around stranded assets, and other supply side efforts, as being not only aimed at the wrong thing, but draining focus and attention from the real issues. These approaches play well with certain elements of the left who see the world through anti-corporate glasses. But to me it seems that these people are fundamentally trying to lever Global Warming action to make a political point, rather than focusing on optimal actions to prevent Global Warming.

Back to the arctic.

LRC

Although very against the drilling the is a very political issue at stake that has not been discussed that much and that is establishing Arctic sovereignty. You have both the russians and the Chinese making big moves to establish control over the Arctic and therefore Canada and the USA must make counter moves otherwise China and Russia will dictate what happens in the Arctic and that will be very bad news all around.
Again do not agree with the move but can understand the political chess match moves as I believe is the real issue at stake.

Sam

We have a new development.

The thick ice has broken up north of Banks island for much of the last decade entering the arctic summer.

Now, the thick ice is breaking up north and east of Prince Patrick island and coming ungrounded.

http://1.usa.gov/1dawGCj

It did that in 2012 - in mid August. Did this happen in 2007 as well? How unusual is this, especially this early?

Sam


Robert S

That is spectacular, Sam. It's moving all the way to Ellesmere, and running the last seven days I can see that there is a lot of movement and fragmentation happening as island sized chunks are grinding into the fast ice and each other. The chain of lows coming up the Bering Strait look likely to continue this motion.

Sam

The ice first fractured open on April 22 all the way to Ellesmere. A separate rupture started building from the Greenland side. And within days a minor fracture opened all the way across. That was when I commented about the fracture clean across the top of Ellesmere.

The western end then opened and fractured (shattered really) seaward of Banks island as the gyre sheared open ice all across several seas from just west of Ellesmere all the way to Alaska.

But as you note, in the last week this has become a pretty spectacular breakup from Banks island to the western end of Ellesmere, with continued movement on the fracture off Ellesmere. This region is the home to the last of the land fast thick ice.

If we get a substantial melt in general and breakup this year, it looks conceivable that this ice could be moved seaward and become subject to much faster melt.

It's definitely worth tracking.

I don't remember this happening before. I remember watching in horror as the ice off Ellesmere fractured for the first time draining an annual lake with a unique ecosystem estimated to be thousands of years old. I do not remember what year that was. It might have been as early as 98-99 or as late as 07. But that was likely the first time. Now it has fractured several times, though I do not recall anything quite like this.

Sam

Jim Hunt

Sam - Here's a video using Hamburg Uni AMSR2 showing the Beaufort end of the events you describe. It's not quite up to date:

https://youtu.be/p8_XUBdyQls

However this Landsat 8 image from middle of the Beaufort Sea in the middle of May is:

Click the image for a closer look.

Sam

The lake was lost in 2002 with the ice breaking up off Ellesmere. That repeated in 2003 and 2010.

http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=45463

The jet stream in the meantime has gotten very strange over North America. It is projected to get stranger with a strengthening cyclonic flow at 250 hpa, and a deep and deepening ridge over the pacific.

http://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/isobaric/250hPa/orthographic=-119.51,52.46,525

http://earth.nullschool.net/#2015/05/22/0900Z/wind/isobaric/250hPa/orthographic=-119.51,52.46,525

Winds are driving heat north into the arctic. That is projected to continue as well. For the moment, surface winds are pushing the ice back on shore competing with the gyre. The projection reverses that in the days to come.

http://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/surface/level/overlay=temp/orthographic=-118.14,70.18,1245

http://earth.nullschool.net/#2015/05/22/0900Z/wind/surface/level/overlay=temp/orthographic=-118.14,70.18,1245


Sam

Also unnoticed in the press, the daily average CO2 levels measured at Mauna Loa exceeded 404 ppm for the last two days for the first time in human history. (404.17 and 404.01). We are at or near the peak for the year. Next year we will blow through 405 and 406 and may flirt with 407.

When you combine that with methane and nitrogen oxides, the levels are much higher, unsustainably higher, which bodes ill for the ice.

Sam

Colorado Bob

On May 12, 2015, a temperature of 80.1°F (or 26.7°C) was recorded in the north of Canada, at a location just north of latitude 63°N.

Below a forecast for May 23, 2015, showing temperatures in Alaska and neighboring parts of Canada that are 36°F (20°C) higher than they used to be (1979-2000 baseline).
http://arctic-news.blogspot.de/2015/05/mackenzie-river-warming.html


Methane blowouts coming to North America .

Jim Hunt

Bob - Do you recall that there is an Arctic Sea Ice Forum? For a slightly more sober assessment see for example:

http://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,1149.msg51489.html#msg51489

et seq.

NeilT

OK let me first state that I don't think that drilling in the Arctic is a good idea.

Now let me try and explain why I believe most of the posts above will not help in keeping it closed.

A few years ago I commented on Joe Romm's site about their position on Obama and the climate. At the time they were hammering on that Obama would not use their terms such as "Climate Change" in his speeches.

What I was trying to make climate activists understand was that the Republicans has so poisoned the debate on "Climate Change" that Obama was effectively crippled from using the term. This was in his first term when he was running up for re-election.

What I tried to get people to understand, as was done here, partially, was to get people to recognise what Obama had achieved without using the lobbying term "Climate Change".

So roll forward to the end of Obama's second term and we see some things. He lost the Fracking argument and had to let it go. But he won the Keystone XL argument. This is astute politicking. If we are going to use the gas anyway, then it might as well come from US producers who push the gains back into the US economy. Fracking turned the US from a net importer of natural gas to either neutral or a net exporter.

The main issue is how the EPA is used to control the fall out.

Again with drilling in the Arctic. Much has been said about the "catastrophe" waiting to happen. As if nothing was learned about the Horizon rig disaster. In the end, with the Horizon disaster, they had to drill into the well from the side and block it.

Given the new licenses for Shell to drill in the Arctic, it is quite likely that the EPA will demand that shutdown bores are created before the main bore reaches oil. In this case, shutting down a disaster would be no more than either pumping into the venting bore or firing an explosive to close the bore.

Not quite the uncontrolled and unmanageable situation that is stated above.

Let's be totally frank with each other. So much CO2 has already been pumped into the atmosphere already that our liveable biosphere is already changed to one that will not be able to sustain a population of 7bn by 2100 without extreme genetic engineering of our food products and without massive efforts in desalination, sea defences and water management in temperate zones.

That is a given.

Add to that the fact that the population of the Earth, come 2100, should our current situation continue, won't be 7bn, it will be more like 10bn people mainly starving and thirsty.

This is a given just on the CO2 currently emitted and if the people and the governments can't take that in and act on it, no amount of ranting about DEAD is going to change their outlook. Only cool rational presentation of the impacts and the consequences. I've turned around several lukewarmers and people who are suspicious of government like that.

Now to look at Obama. So he's done more in his two terms than any summit, treaty or other mechanism out there, to reduce CO2 emissions. Yet what does he get for recognition? Hammered by the climate lobby because he won't use their words, won't do it their way, won't enact every bit of legislation the climate lobby want and won't do it the way the climate lobby want.

Why doesn't he do that? Because the Majority of the people in the US don't want him to and the last time I looked, the US was supposed to be the latest and greatest in the self determination of the people. Even if that self determination is self destructive.

Great. Think how effective the climate lobby would be if they were to work WITH Obama. If they stopped calling him an idiot every time he did something they didn't agree with and worked with him to lock up the carbon producers into a straitjacket which they could just make a profit in and produced less fossil fuels.

Just think how effective it would have been for McKibben to stand up With Obama and say that whilst he deplores the opening up of Oil exploration in the Arctic, he recognises that Obama may have not choice but to do it. However that he holds the US administration wholly responsible for the decision and that the US administration needs to do everything possible to protect the environment of the Arctic during this drilling.

That would have given Obama exactly the platform required to create EPA regulations so strict that Shell might just forgo the whole thing until Oil resources are so low that it has no choice.

Perhaps it's time the climate lobby stopped pissing on the tent and got inside it pissing out.

What I see is two presidential terms of lost opportunity for the climate lobby. They had a friend in the white house. Now an embattled friend who has to do deals with the Republicans just to make government function. Did the Climate lobby help him?

What will the climate lobby do if a Tea party candidate takes the presidency?

Then perhaps we will see this

http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/green-tech/energy-production/frozen-fuel3.htm

Go into production. Just look at those numbers and think 10C CO2 by 2100.... Because if that were viable it would make natural gas so cheap that nobody would even stand a chance of producing renewables and nobody would stop burning it until the sea was washing round their ankles.

My position is, I think, what some above are trying to get at.

Not every battle has to be one of destroying the administration. Obama has done a wonderful job of mitigation without challenging. If every other leader in the world were to do the same, the net impact would be more than the climate lobby actually, realistically, expect to see in reductions in the next 10 years.

Food for thought.

Neven

Just think how effective it would have been for McKibben to stand up With Obama and say that whilst he deplores the opening up of Oil exploration in the Arctic, he recognises that Obama may have not choice but to do it. However that he holds the US administration wholly responsible for the decision and that the US administration needs to do everything possible to protect the environment of the Arctic during this drilling.

This is naive, just as it is naive to think that the US is run by two opposing parties, instead of just one party, or to think that Obama isn't a puppet. Or to think that there is one monolithic climate lobby (if I wouldn't know better, I'd think you're concern trolling).

As long as it isn't enough, you need to push for more. It's an ongoing struggle.

Neven

The Guardian:


Karl Ove Knausgaard condemns Norway's Arctic oil plans

Opening up the Arctic to oil companies is ‘shortsighted and stupid’, says leading Norwegian author as he leads campaign to sue the government

Norway’s best-known author has lashed out at “the shortsightedness and stupidity” of plans to expand oil exploration into the Arctic, as campaigners prepare to sue the government for placing future generations at risk from climate change.

Karl Ove Knausgaard, whose bestselling memoir has been a global literary sensation, is fronting a campaign to mount a legal challenge against moves by Norway to open up the Arctic to oil companies.

Oil and gas extraction in the Arctic has nothing to do with worthwhile goals such as alleviating poverty , Knausgaard said. “Norway is one of the richest countries in the world – it’s all about greed, and it’s a fucking disgrace.”

The environment was the single most important issue of our time, he said, and his feeling of helplessness in the face of environmental destruction made him “just turn away from it and try to think about something else”. But Arctic oil exploration was different, he said.

“The Arctic is one of the few places left on the planet that still is unexploited, it’s a very sensitive area, and I never believed that my government actually would do such a thing. We need to make them stop, and we still can do that. … The shortsightedness and the stupidity of it just makes me want to cry.”

Silly Karl Ove, you should be working with the Norwegian government and tell them what a wonderful job they're doing, seeing that they have it so difficult.

NeilT

(if I wouldn't know better, I'd think you're concern trolling).

Being a Conservative who not only believes in the reality of Climate change but also believes that it will be a total catastrophe to mankind as a whole on this planet is a trial sometimes.... :-)

I've cut out the rest of the response 3 times now. It should be clear what I mean. If it isn't I'm not going to try to explain it. It just makes me even more tired and even more cranky.

NeilT

Oil and gas extraction in the Arctic has nothing to do with worthwhile goals such as alleviating poverty , Knausgaard said. “Norway is one of the richest countries in the world – it’s all about greed, and it’s a fucking disgrace.”

Yes Norway is, per capita, one of the richest nations on earth. BUT, the wealth fund which that Oil grows, every year, is the countries pension.

The rest should be self explanatory if you understand socialist countries. I expect the case to fail miserably. But I'm willing to be hugely surprised....

Chris Reynolds

Neil,

I get where you're coming from: "Politics is the art of the possible..."

Must be a right wing thing (I'm by leaning a small government, free market democracy, libertarian).

Throughout this discussion my most frequent unvoiced thought has been how many people would vote for radical action on AGW? The fact that I am the only person of those I know, who doesn't drive anymore speaks volumes. In managing people I have found that most people respond better to encouragement than to criticism.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)