The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels

Review and Summary of “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels”

By Andy May

The best-selling book The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels was first published November 27, 2014 by Penguin. The author, Alex Epstein, took a BA in Philosophy from Duke University in 2002. He is the President of the Center for Industrial Progress, a former fellow of the Ayn Rand Institute and an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute. He was also named as one of the top 10 in Rolling Stone’s 2013 “Global Warming Denier Elite.” High praise indeed! He was fourth on the list.

Epstein presents a very well written discussion of the climate change debate. He destroys the 97% consensus myth, explains that the carbon dioxide greenhouse effect decreases logarithmically with concentration and shows that the climate computer models used to compute man’s influence on climate have never successfully predicted anything. He also shows that global warming has not increased extreme weather of any kind and that the dangers from extreme weather are less today than at any time in man’s history largely due to fossil fuels. He discusses Craig Idso’s pioneering research proving that increasing carbon dioxide acts as a powerful fertilizer for many plants. But readers of this review know these facts, so we will focus on his discussion of the merits of fossil fuels. He is a good writer and has superhuman skills at laying out a compelling logical argument. He would have put Daniel Webster and Clarence Darrow to shame. I highly recommend the book.

According to ExxonMobil’s 2016 report, in 2014 fossil fuels produced 82% of the energy in the world. Fossil fuels have produced more than 80% of the energy used in the US for over 100 years according to the EIA. They predict that in 2040 fossil fuels will still produce 78% of the world’s energy. Oil will grow at a 0.7% annual rate and natural gas will grow 1.6% per year. Coal will slightly decline. Yet, many in society think fossil fuels are bad for us and the world.


Figure 1: Energy demand in 2014 and 2040, by source

The book challenges this idea that fossil fuels have a negative effect on society. It is a fascinating, fact filled and well-reasoned discussion of the impact fossil fuels have had on our world since they were introduced on a mass scale over 120 years ago. There are 7 billion people on the Earth today and we are better fed, live better and longer than nearly every one of the 900 million people who lived in 1800. It is worth remembering that the average life expectancy, at birth, in 1800, in the UK was about 39 years. Epstein argues that with fossil fuels:

“We don’t take a safe environment and make it dangerous; we take a dangerous environment and make it far safer.”

So what about those that argue against fossil fuels? Fossil fuels are largely responsible for the quality of life we enjoy today, the food we eat, the rapidly falling rate of poverty, our longer life expectancy, lower infant mortality and many other humanitarian benefits. How could someone argue to take away fossil fuels if they valued human life? It seems they value “pristine nature” over human life. Figure 2, below, shows the expected result:


Figure 2

In McKibben’s book The End of Nature, he argues that we need a ‘humbler world” and “Human happiness [should] be of secondary importance.” A Los Angeles Times review in 1989 of McKibbon’s book calls man a cancer and plague upon the Earth. The author, David Graber, continues:

“McKibben is a biocentrist, and so am I. We are not interested in the utility of a particular species, or free-flowing river, or ecosystem, to mankind. They have intrinsic value, more value–to me–than another human body, or a billion of them. Human happiness, and certainly human fecundity, are not as important as a wild and healthy planet.”

Whew! We might need to report him to the Department of Homeland Security. This is the precise opposite of Epstein’s priority of humanity first. Thus, to effectively debate the use of fossil fuels it is important that the debaters state their priorities. Does humanity come first? Or does minimizing human impact on the environment come first? It turns out that this choice makes a huge difference.

The book argues that even if fossil fuels created no waste, including no CO2, if they were even cheaper, if they would last forever, the “Green” movement would still oppose them. The Green movement is not just for a pristine environment untouched by man, they are against human progress. In the 1980’s it was thought that controlled fusion of hydrogen into helium was just around the corner. This was pollution free energy. What did the environmental leaders have to say about that?

Jeremy Rifkin: “It’s the worst thing that could happen to our planet.” Inexhaustible power only gives man an infinite ability to exhaust the planet’s resources, to destroy its fragile balance.

Paul Ehrlich: Developing fusion for human beings would be “like giving a machine gun to an idiot child.”

Amory Lovins: “It would be little short of disastrous for us to discover a source of clean, cheap, abundant energy, because of what we might do with it.”

This “idiot child” would like an inexhaustible, clean source of power. It does often seem that radical environmentalists think everyone else is an “idiot child.” Prince Phillip, the former head of the World Wildlife Fund wanted to be reincarnated as a deadly virus in order to cure overpopulation.

Keeping the air, water and land as clean as possible is a benefit for man and the environment. But, fossil fuels can and do help keep our environment clean. Ask anyone in London (or New York for that matter) in 1894, wading through the horse and human manure in the streets at the time. Automobiles powered by fossil fuels were seen as a huge benefit for the environment. They had mostly replaced horses by 1912 and London was a much cleaner place for it. Automobiles and coal fired electrical plants do emit toxins and cause air pollution, but because of modern technology the air in the US is cleaner now, according to the EPA, than in 1970. This is despite the fact that we burn much more coal and gasoline than we did then. Eliminating fossil fuels would cause untold death, famine, and disease. Their elimination will not help the environment. As humans, in order to live healthy, long, quality lives we must modify our environment. We have to be careful about it to be sure, but that does not mean we should minimize it. In Epstein’s words:

“The relationship between energy and environment is usually considered in a negative way; how can we use the energy that will least “impact the environment”? But we have to be careful; if we’re on a human standard of value, we need to have an impact on our environment. Transforming our environment is how we survive. … If we’re on a human standard, we should be concerned in a negative way only about impacts of energy use that harm our environment from a human perspective …”

He continues:

“But we should also assume that energy gives us more ability to improve our environment, to make it healthier and safer for human beings. … the natural environment is not naturally a healthy, safe place; that’s why human beings historically had a life expectancy of thirty.”


“Being forced to rely on solar, wind, and biofuels would be a horror beyond anything we can imagine, as a civilization that runs on cheap, plentiful, reliable energy would see its machines dead, its productivity destroyed, its resources disappearing.”

Consider, as Mr. Epstein does, that the average human burns at least 1,800 kilocalories of energy a day. The range is from around 1,800 to 8,000 (very intense exercise can burn 12,000 kilocalories in a day) depending upon the level of activity. When we say “calories” of food we are really talking about kilocalories of energy. A 100 Watt light bulb if left on for 32 hours uses 2,000 kilocalories of energy. In the United States in 2011, the average person’s daily energy use (according to the EIA) is 216,095 kilocalories (very similar to the value Epstein gives of 186,000). This includes gasoline, electricity and other outside sources of energy. This is between 27 and 120 human beings worth of energy. So, Mr. Epstein makes this point:

“In the past, before modern energy technology, the main way to overcome the problem of human weakness was putting others into a state of servitude or slavery— which meant that only some could prosper, and at the great expense of others. But with machine energy and machine servants, no one has to suffer…”

We are all descended from slaves, the Roman’s, English, Vikings, Greeks, Chinese, Indians, Native American Indians, every culture in the past had slaves. Slavery really only disappeared after man learned to build machines that used fossil fuels for power. One of Epstein’s themes is “energy is ability.”

As Milton Friedman, the famous economist once wrote:

“Industrial progress, mechanical improvement, all of the great wonders of the modern era have meant little to the wealthy. The rich in ancient Greece would have benefited hardly at all from modern plumbing— running servants replaced running water. Television and radio— the patricians of Rome could enjoy the leading musicians and actors in their home, could have the leading artists as domestic retainers. Ready-to-wear clothing, supermarkets— all these and many other modern developments would have added little to their life. They would have welcomed the improvements in transportation and in medicine, but for the rest, the great achievements of western capitalism have redounded primarily to the benefit of the ordinary person. These achievements have made available to the masses conveniences and amenities that were previously the exclusive prerogative of the rich and powerful.”

Thus, the poor and middle classes benefit the most from fossil fuels. Is it any wonder that the main proponents of taking them away are the wealthy like Al Gore (2 mansions, $200M), John Kerry (“5 mansions Kerry”) and Leonardo DiCaprio (also 5 mansions)?

There are seven billion people in the world today 1.3 billion of them have no electricity, three billion more do not have adequate access to electricity. For everyone to have the access to electricity that every American enjoys would require four times the electricity we produce today. When one considers that 82% of our energy comes from fossil fuels how can we imagine quadrupling the world’s supply of electricity with only intermittent wind and solar?

Regardless of whether climate change is man-made or not, it can be dangerous. Traditionally, drought, extreme temperatures, wildfires and storms caused many deaths. But, climate related deaths worldwide have fallen by 98% in the last eighty years. Further, the data shows that there is a dramatic difference between the heavy fossil fuel users and the light fossil fuels users. You are much safer in an industrialized country than in a developing country. For example, the United States has had zero deaths from drought in the last decade according to the EM-DAT International Disaster Database.

Historically, drought is the number one climate related cause of death. Worldwide it has gone down by 99.98% in the last 80 years for many energy related reasons. Drought relief convoys, more food due to modern fossil fueled agriculture, better fossil fueled water wells and water treatment plants make drought a lesser threat. As Epstein says in Chapter 5:

“The popular climate discussion has the issue backward. It looks at man as a destructive force for climate livability, one who makes the climate dangerous because we use fossil fuels. In fact, the truth is the exact opposite; we don’t take a safe climate and make it dangerous; we take a dangerous climate and make it safe. High-energy civilization, not climate, is the driver of climate livability. No matter what, climate will always be naturally hazardous— and the key question will always be whether we have the adaptability to handle it …”

Epstein argues that the idea that we live in an ideal and delicate climate we are about to screw up is silly:

“The sophisticated version of the idea that our climate is naturally safe or ideal says that because man has flourished in the current climatological period, the 10,000-year post– Ice Age stretch known as the Holocene, that is the only global climate we can live in and if there’s a risk that fossil fuels will break the “natural” temperature highs of that last 10,000 years, we need to stop using them. “Just like us,” says Bill McKibben, “our crops are adapted to the Holocene, the 11,000-year period of climatic stability we’re now leaving . . . in the dust.” This argument does not reflect reality. First of all, the Holocene is an abstraction; it is not a “climate” anyone lived in; it is a summary of a climate system that contains an incredible variety of climates that individuals lived in. And in practice, we can live in pretty much any of them if we are industrialized and pretty much none of them if we aren’t. The open secret of our relationship to climate is how good we are at living in different climates thanks to technology.”

Weather and climate change matter to us, but much less than before the age of fossil fuels. Too hot, go into the air conditioned house; too cold, go into the house heated by natural gas. Absent fossil fuels? Best of luck. Mother Nature is not a real mother, it doesn’t take care of us. To have a good life we need to transform our environment and we need energy to do that.

I’ll close with a quote from Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand that Alex Epstein included in the book. In the midst of a violent storm, Hank Reardon is talking to industrialist Francisco d’Anconia in the safety of d’Anconia’s house. They are watching the storm through a window:

“You stood here and watched the storm with the greatest pride one can ever feel— because you are able to have summer flowers and half-naked women in your house on a night like this, in demonstration of your victory over that storm. And if it weren’t for you, most of those who are here would be left helpless at the mercy of that wind in the middle of some such plain.”

Do you wish to go back to nature? Is your goal to minimize your impact on the environment or is your goal to improve the environment? Epstein shows we should not conflate minimizing our impact with improving the environment. Man is not totally depraved and evil as the environmentalists and the Calvinist’s believe, we can improve the environment and do good work. The key point is, if we value human life we will value fossil fuels and what they have allowed us to do.

If you want the book, it is available at Amazon.



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August 12, 2016 11:02 am

Yes. At last. Ordering the book today. [note to editors: perhaps WUWT could have a link to purchase books of interest?]

August 12, 2016 11:12 am

Bravo, someone who still posses common sense.

August 12, 2016 11:25 am

i helped crowd-fund this book. It’s my one claim to fame. Good article, marred only by the outbreak of greengrocer’s apostrophe’s.

Reply to  Kevin Lohse
August 12, 2016 12:28 pm

+ 1 about the errant apostrophes.

Chris Hanley
Reply to  Oldseadog
August 12, 2016 1:33 pm

Calvinist’s are such pedant’s.

David L. Hagen
Reply to  Kevin Lohse
August 12, 2016 7:15 pm

Andy May – You inverted the Calvinists actual beliefs. Note: :

The Calvinist understanding of total depravity does not mean that people are as evil as they possibly could be. People still make good choices (from a human perspective),</blockquote

Andrew D Burnette
Reply to  David L. Hagen
August 13, 2016 11:52 am

Sorry for the all caps, but equating the Christian view of human depravity (which is in reference to the perfection of the creator) to that of the environmentalists (which is in reference the their perceived “perfection” of the natural — non-human — world) is completely wrong. Apples and oranges.

Ian Macdonald
August 12, 2016 11:32 am

I can understand, and do to some extent agree with, the Greens who say that industrialization has turned the human experience into a crazy rat race, and we would be better to go back to a more symbiotic relationship with nature. Whilst we have reduced disease and hunger, people instead die young through the stress of the job market and employment under a tyrant boss. How many people actually find life in this rat race fulfilling?
Though, the thing which preceded the modern era was serfdom to an aristocracy, a situation where a chosen few lived a life of luxury at the expense of the majority. I don’t think we want to go back to that. Do we?
No, I think the way to a better life is forward, towards increasing our ability to provide the needs of life without backbreaking labour. Eventually, when machines can make almost anything on demand, the need for money will disappear, and with it the desire for conspicuous consumption. That will be a turning point in how we treat the planet, because there will then be no need or reason to waste resources just to prove we’re wealthier than the next guy.
Fossil fuels have been an essential component in advancing towards that goal. Without them, we’d still be living in a feudal society. I do think that developing a cheap, clean inexhaustible source of energy is vitally important though, and that more effort should be put into ideas like LENR. Apart from allowing us to truly progress to a post-industrial society, a reliable non-fossil energy source will also do away with the whole issue of carbon dioxide emissions. Plus, it will allow us to bring the third world up to our standards of living, which would be very hard to do with limited supplies of fossil fuels.

Reply to  Ian Macdonald
August 12, 2016 2:50 pm

Ian, Stop reading

Reply to  Ian Macdonald
August 12, 2016 3:02 pm

Eventually, when machines can make almost anything on demand
We do need to have serious discussions about automation and “the future of work” but it’s a very uncomfortable subject for a variety of people for a variety of reasons.

Alan McIntire
Reply to  PiperPaul
August 12, 2016 5:48 pm

Your statement on “the future of work” reminded me of an Oscar Wilde quote:
“Work is the curse of the drinking classes.”

Clive Perry
Reply to  Ian Macdonald
August 12, 2016 4:52 pm

Carbon dioxide are prove beneficial in many areas important areas such as plant growth

Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy
Reply to  Ian Macdonald
August 12, 2016 11:36 pm

Prior to 1970s, the technologies to control pollution were not available. We used to travel by train that pumps in to atmosphere the black smoke. The wars created not only black smokes but also dust smoke in the atmosphere that reduced the incoming solar radiation and thus lowering the temperature. Also CO2 measurements were very few during this period and thus not accounted this factor. The data adjustment for this period was downward. That means, it is a double impact on temperature instead they should have been adjusted to higher side. So, the linear increase should be half the present pattern.
Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

Brian H
Reply to  Ian Macdonald
August 13, 2016 1:01 am

Far more effective and cheaper than LENR (or any other nuclear reaction):

Reply to  Brian H
August 13, 2016 8:47 am


Warren Latham
Reply to  Ian Macdonald
August 13, 2016 10:49 am

Where, exactly, is this “third” world ?

Reply to  Warren Latham
August 14, 2016 9:29 am

It’s where we send £12 billion a year with no questions asked. It is also run by a corrupt wealthy elite.

Richard Patton
August 12, 2016 11:33 am

I bought and read the book many months ago. It is in my Kindle Library for re-reading. It is an excellent book.

August 12, 2016 11:40 am

I find it interesting that the greens are opposed to “unlimited clean energy” and would rather resort to genocide than space exploration and settlement to “cure” the continued growth of humanity

Reply to  fossilsage
August 12, 2016 1:10 pm

The greens would probably view space exploration as merely spreading the contagion of humanity to other planets, and would therefor oppose it completely.

Reply to  MarkW
August 12, 2016 9:55 pm

what about spreading green vegetation to non-green planets?

Reply to  MarkW
August 12, 2016 11:25 pm

“what about spreading green vegetation to non-green planets?”
If greens wanted green vegetation, they wouldn’t live in cities.

August 12, 2016 11:40 am

living with nature, exposed to the weather,
tools made of pebbles and chewing on leather,
wearing no clothing and painting our cheeks,
squatting in bushes and pissing in creeks,
rattles and feathers and hypnotic trances,
changing the weather with chanting and dances,
dung fires, dibble sticks – isn’t it nice?
smothered in bear grease and clawing at lice.
we are noble – we are savage – and we keep it real!
burning a virgin to placate our gods – and what in the fuck’s a ‘wheel’?

Ross King
Reply to  gnomish
August 12, 2016 4:18 pm

You get my vote for ‘Poet Laureat’!
Two thumbs up!

Reply to  gnomish
August 13, 2016 5:29 am


August 12, 2016 11:42 am

Epstein personally and his CIP were specific targets of the Massachusetts AG ‘Merchants of Doubt’ subpoenas.

Paul Penrose
August 12, 2016 11:43 am

If hard-core environmentalists were really honest, they would go off the gird and live off the land without any modern contrivances. But they don’t because they are the worst type of hypocrites.

Leonard Lane
Reply to  Paul Penrose
August 12, 2016 12:59 pm

The Pauley Ehrlick, Algore, DECaprreeo, and other “me firsters” should live by what they preach. The best response to them is to request that they lead by example when saving the environment by reducing the population.

August 12, 2016 11:53 am

The rich in ancient Greece would have benefited hardly at all from modern plumbing— running servants replaced running water.

How about the monarchs of England before 1707. They had the best living conditions available. They had trouble living past 50. A couple lived into their 70s. Cromwell alone lived into his 80s.
Everyone benefits from modern plumbing, even kings and queens. The chambermaid removes the chamber pot. That’s fine, as far as it goes, but she lives in squalor with her husband the cook. They get a horrible disease and pass it on to their masters with their roast beef.
The rulers are protected only if the servants live in sanitary conditions. Modern sewers protect everyone.

Reply to  commieBob
August 12, 2016 12:09 pm

Alfred the Great (9th C King of Wessex) lived until he was 50 in most unsanitary conditions, continually fighting Vikings.

richard verney
Reply to  commieBob
August 13, 2016 10:40 am

I don’t disagree but there are always exceptions to be found such as:

Ramesses II (variously transliterated as “Rameses” (/ˈræməsiːz/)[5] or “Ramses” (/ˈræmsiːz/ or /ˈræmziːz/);[6] born c. 1303 BC; died July or August 1213 BC; reigned 1279–1213 BC), also known as Ramesses the Great, was the third pharaoh of the Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt.

So Ramesses lived to 90. Many Egyptians must have viewed him as a God since he may have ruled for at least 3 generations assuming that a commoner had a life span nearer 33 to 38 years.

August 12, 2016 11:54 am

I have often pondered the sustainable living idea, although this concept has many different meanings to many different people. My definition means, cut a tree/plant a tree, person dies/baby born, dirty water/clean water, etc. But there is a saying in business, “if you are not growing, you’re dying”. Ultimately the two are incompatible when economics depend on growth. The attack on fossil fuels is not just about stopping CO2, it is about stopping growth, stopping economies from consuming. That is why nuclear is still incompatible to some, as it still allows people/economies to grow, it is too ‘free’.

Reply to  Duncan
August 12, 2016 12:37 pm
Reply to  Duncan
August 12, 2016 7:55 pm

One small push for McKibben and his ilk, one giant leap for mankind….

Reply to  Duncan
August 12, 2016 11:27 pm

In a prison with a view.

Jerry Henson
August 12, 2016 12:09 pm

As I have said many times before, it is not “fossil fuel,” it is hydrocarbons, and it is
being created and replenished from below as hydrocarbons near the surface are
recovered or escape into the atmosphere. This relief of pressure above allows
more to perk up, so hydrocarbons are constantly renewing.
As far as humans are concerned, there is no limit.
Mendeleev taught the Russians the abiotic theory in the 1870’s, They have been
very successful with it.
“In order to understand how Russia has left the rest of the world standing in
its wake, it is essential to know a little bit about where oil is located, and how
it is extracted from the ground for refining and commercial use. It is an enormously
complex subject”
If Mr Epstein would like me to prove to him that hydrocarbons perk up continuously
and therefore can’t be “Fossils”, I will demonstrate to him how natural gas
continuously perks through topsoil and the rate thereof is responsible for topsoil’s

Reply to  Jerry Henson
August 12, 2016 2:07 pm

JH, you must not have studied geology. You are simply wrong.
Coal is ‘fossilized’ woody plants, mostly laid down in the Carboniferous from ~360mya to ~300mya. We know this from fossils in the coal beds. Oil and gas both arise mainly from marine kerogens (mostly algal remains) laid down from ~500 mya to the present in marine shales. We know this from associated fossils where those shales outcrop. Green River Kerogen shale formation is the source of many fantastic fish fossils from ~55mya. When those shales enter the oil window (temperature and pressure at depth) catagenesis converts the kerogen to crude oil. If the shale goes beyond the oil window(higher temp/pressure), furher catagenesis converts crude to natural gas. Bothnthese migrate over time upward along faults into stratigraphic traps with tight caprock, whichnis called an oil or gas field.
There is no abiotic oil (the Swedish goofup was drilling mud pump contamination, the Ukraine goofup badly mistaken Russian geology about a complex igneous overthrust– the Russians have had ZERO success with the false abiotic theory). Under unusual geological circumstances abiotic gas can be formed. There are abiotic natural gas seeps known in Spain, Greece, and Turkey. The largest deposit is the methane hydrate at the bottom of the Fram Strait thanks to iron catalysis from the seafloor spreading basalts there. Most methane hydrate is directly biogenic, formed by Archae methanogens at depth under clathrate forming low temp/sufficient pressure conditions. Some (perhaps 10% like north slope and GoM) is thermogenic– natural gas that migrated into a clathrate forming seafloor region.
Soil and water (swamp) and ruminant methanogens produce most of the atmospheric methane. Permafrost methane is all methanogen, offset by methanotrophs that consume it.

Reply to  ristvan
August 12, 2016 4:34 pm

ristvan your reply to JH is one of the reasons I love this site

Tom Johnson
Reply to  ristvan
August 12, 2016 6:15 pm

Please explain, then, the methane lakes on Saturn’s moons.

J Wurts
Reply to  ristvan
August 12, 2016 9:26 pm

You say…
“JH, you must not have studied geology. You are simply wrong.”
Have you read Thomas Gold’s book, The Deep Hot Biosphere: The Myth of Fossil Fuels? Gold makes a pretty strong case for abiotic hydrocarbon fuels, Now, I do not know if his theory is right or wrong, but I am impressed with the following quote from Freeman Dyson’s foreword.
“Gold’s theories are always original, always important, usually controversial — and usually right. It is my belief, based on fifty years of observation of Gold as a friend and colleague, that the deep hot biosphere is all of the above: original, important, controversial — and right”
It seems that if you think JH is wrong, so you must also think the same of Freeman Dyson.

Reply to  ristvan
August 13, 2016 8:59 am

There is no question that the microbes produce lots of hydrocarbons, and that they have reworked and put their isotopic signatures in most of the fossil fuels we typically use. Yet quoting Thomas Gold’s USGS professional paper 1570:
” The major planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, have large amounts of methane and other hydrocarbon gases in their atmospheres. Titan, a large satellite of Saturn, has methane and ethane in its atmosphere, and these gases form clouds and behave much like water does in the atmosphere of the Earth.”
The atmosphere of the pre biotic earth is also thought to have been largely methane.

Reply to  ristvan
August 14, 2016 4:32 am

I was casually scanning the comments and honed in on the above post. I’d seen the abiotic theory in passing and also seen it dismissed as nonsense, but not with any real explanations. Was impressed with the concise info in this post, so went back to look at the posters name. Not surprised to find and maybe should have know it was you Rud.

Smart Rock
Reply to  Jerry Henson
August 13, 2016 8:36 am

The abiotic theory keeps on popping up like ragweed in August, but its proponents always seem to be talking about abiotic methane, which almost certainly does exist. The logic appears to go like this: “some methane can be shown to be abiotic by its isotopic composition. Therefore all methane is abiotic. Therefore all oil is abiotic.”. This is not a particularly striking example of deductive reasoning.
Oil and natural gas very seldom occur in or adjacent to their source rocks – this is according to the “conventional” theory as neatly summarized in this thread by ristvan with characteristic verbal frugality (“petroleum geology in 500 words or less”) at 2:07 pm on august 12th. BTW ristvan – coal in western North America is mostly Cretaceous in age (had to get that one in). Of course the separation of source and residence rocks has allowed the abiotic theory to keep resurrecting itself, but as a theory, it does not receive much support in the way of hard evidence as geological knowledge increases. Unlike, say, continental drift, which started out as a fringe theory, but got progressively stronger as evidence accumulated, until it was almost mainstream by 1962, and lacked only the plate tectonic model to explain how it worked.
Russia has been very successful at oil and gas production. Agreed. So? Its most striking successes have come since the collapse of the soviet system, but it was the Soviets who embraced abiotic oil because it resonated with certain political theories (in exactly the same way that Stalin liked Lysenko’s ideas). Why has Russia has been successful at oil and gas production? Could it be because it’s a very large country with a lot of Phanerozoic (i.e. Cambrian and later, when life really hit the big leagues) sedimentary rock? Hmm……
Another large country with a lot of Phanerozoic sediments is the USA, which has also had a modest amount of success at oil and gas production (despite the efforts of some recent administrations). Was America’s success informed by the abiotic theory? Hmm……
Then there’s coal. Nobody can deny that coal is a fossil fuel. Coal IS fossils. That’s ALL it is – dead plant remains.

Reply to  Smart Rock
August 13, 2016 9:53 am

Petroleum reservoirs are commonly encased within or adjacent to their source rocks. Most drilling in US in the recent “boom” cycle is actually exploiting production from source rocks themselves (Bakken shale in ND for example). Technological advances in horizontal drilling, not fracking as the world has been told (fracking is old technology) have made production from these unconventional reservoir/source rocks possible.

Stan Bennett
Reply to  Smart Rock
August 13, 2016 2:18 pm

Dr Nacnud comments that horizontal drilling is the reason we are able to tap the shales and states that fraccing is “old” technology. Not quite. We have drilled horizontal and very highly deviated oil and gas wells for a long time. Offshore is a good example and there is an area in England where drilling in the oil field is not permitted(river issues) and deviated wells with displacement(horizontal distance from the surface location to the bottomhole location) of 40,000′ are drilled, offshore wells with displacement of 20,000′ are not uncommon. I drilled horizontal Bakken wells in the 90’s, initial production from the Bakken was from 3 straight wells drilled in the early 1960’s by Conoco. What has occurred in fraccing is we can now isolate and do multiple fracs in the wellbore thus providing access (flow paths) to more of the oil and gas, in the extreme I have heard of up to 50 individual fracs in a given wellbore, initially we would only try one. It is this advance that allows and creates the economies that make the shale plays economic-note, it wasn’t easy, just many steps by good creative engineers and geologist. Typically today the horizontal portion, displacement, of a shale well is less than 5,000′

Reply to  Smart Rock
August 13, 2016 8:54 pm

There is a word which is conspicuous by its absence from all abiotic oil theory “debunking”. It can be found in the periodic table, at atomic number 2.

Reply to  Jerry Henson
August 13, 2016 9:12 am

Rich topsoil is characterized by a population of nitrogen rich bacteria. Some of those produce methane.
The nitrogen cycle is just as important as the carbon cycle.

Reply to  Jerry Henson
August 14, 2016 9:33 am

you are a bit of a thicko.

August 12, 2016 12:15 pm

Ayn Rand’s Objectivist philosophy has to be one of the worst ideas ever. At the very least, it is the antithesis of “moral”. A background as a fellow in the Ayn Rand Institute disqualifies one from making a moral case for anything.

Reply to  lorcanbonda
August 12, 2016 12:30 pm

All Ayn Rand said is nobody should be forced to support anyone else, that charity should be voluntary. Forcing people to give up their goods or services for the benefit of others, however “worthy”, is s form of slavery, legally sanctioned theft.
What is immoral about that? You might disagree, but it is very much a moral perspective.

Alan Robertson
Reply to  lorcanbonda
August 12, 2016 12:39 pm

To me, your words are just a blanket ad hominem attack, which then narrows to include a specific individual. I’m not a student of Ayn Rand, having only read “The Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged”, some decades ago. Her words have proved prescient. In the interim, those who I’ve seen attack her and her works are universally collectivists. leftists and statists of every stripe.
If you have some specific complaint, then level it.
Otherwise, in this case, at least, you’ve aligned your thinking with that sordid bunch, whose philosophies, always implemented at gunpoint, have resulted in the deaths of hundreds of millions of people. As such, I give no credence to your words above, whatsoever.

Jeff Hayes
Reply to  Alan Robertson
August 12, 2016 1:33 pm

Well said Alan. As a student of Ayn Rand’s ideas I can assure you that you are correct. For your reading pleasure and further study, here is the url of the online version of The Ayn Rand Lexicon, the collected and alphabetized writings and speeches of that remarkable humanist. It includes everything she wrote or said, organized by subject with links to related subjects. You will find excerpts from everything, from Atlas Shrugged to Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, Epistemology: Who Needs It? and The Virtue Of Selfishness, among others. Enjoy…

Reply to  Alan Robertson
August 13, 2016 9:28 am

“To me, your words are just a blanket ad hominem attack, ”
Oh, poor baby! Yes, well said but is suspect Alan would call a plumber to change a light bulb.
Morality is useless if you do not have the stones to back it up.

Reply to  Alan Robertson
August 13, 2016 9:45 am

I think Allan was replying to lorcabonda.
It’s been decades since I read Ayn Rand, but she did understand morality. Here are a couple of her quotes:
The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.
Individual rights are the means of subordinating society to moral law.
Government ‘help’ to business is just as disastrous as government persecution… the only way a government can be of service to national prosperity is by keeping its hands off.
We are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission.
How is that “the antithesis of morality”? It sounds just like what we’re observing today.
I notice that one presidential candidate is a producer of wealth, while the other gets very rich without producing anything. Rand had something to say about that, too:
When… you see that money is flowing to those who deal not in goods, but in favors; when you see that men get rich more easily by graft than by work, and your laws no longer protect you against them, but protect them against you …your society is doomed.

Alan Robertson
Reply to  Alan Robertson
August 13, 2016 11:49 am

@ Kit P
I’m not sure what prompted your screwball attack, outside of your poor reading comprehension, since you don’t seem to be supporting any point of view.
You should know that you come off as either exceedingly drunk, or failing that, just a run- of- the- mill jerk.
Ps I just finished replacing the brakes from calipers up on a ride I’m restoring and am presently replacing and headspacing/chamber reaming the barrel on a competition Remington ’03-A3, so take your light bulb and shove it where the Sun don’t shine. Hire a plumber to help you find it, as you only have two hands.
How’s that for stones? Tosser.

Reply to  lorcanbonda
August 12, 2016 1:16 pm

heh. as if he even knew what objectivism is…
as if he ever knew what philosophy is…
as if he had a clue what morality is…

Ken Doolittle
Reply to  lorcanbonda
August 12, 2016 4:20 pm

Anyone who thinks Objectivism is “an idea” is a knob. It is a unique, logically coherent, hierarchically arranged philosophical system – complete with a metaphysics, an epistemology, an ethics, a politics, and an aesthetics. All of its ideas are logically interdependent, and it took Leonard Peikoff 460 pages to summarize it as briefly as he could in his magnificently essentialized book “Objectivism, The Philosophy of Ayn Rand”.

Reply to  lorcanbonda
August 12, 2016 9:20 pm

There are definitely things Rand got wrong, but nonetheless, in the unlikely event humanity pulls out of its full-burner nosedive into 1984-world, she will get – and deserve – major credit for the recovery.

Jacob Zeise
Reply to  lorcanbonda
August 12, 2016 10:53 pm

Larcobanda, you’re wrong about Objectivism. Even worse, the reviewer laid out Epstein’s moral case in a convincing way “pro-human an vs non-impact” and your strongest criticism is guilt by association. Surely you could recognize the ad-hominem fallacy you employed when it’s pointed out to you.
If you think his fossil fuel argument is wrong, please share -why- you think that. If your only motivation for posting is to wrongfully smear Objectivism, then perhaps this is the wrong forum.

Reply to  Jacob Zeise
August 13, 2016 7:05 am

Pro tip for lorcanbonda:
make fun of her name
if you come up with something supremely witty like ‘she named herself after a typewriter’ or something like that you can instantly reclaim your status as the JonBenet Ramsey of interweb philosophers.

Mike Maguire
August 12, 2016 12:22 pm

“Craig Idso’s pioneering research proving that increasing carbon dioxide acts as a powerful fertilizer for many plants.”
Craig Idso has been a leader, providing truth on this matter but we all learned about photosynthesis in science class as children…..and the role that CO2 plays.
If CO2 had fallen from 280 ppm, instead of increased to 400ppm, plants would be shutting down(certainly far less productive at levels less than today) the world could not possibly support feeding our current population.
With regards to extreme weather, decreasing the meridional temperature gradient has DECREASED many measures of this. The last 4 decades of weather/climate and growing conditions on earth, have been the best, since at least the Medieval Warm Period ~1,000 years ago.
Scientists with assumptions based on a theory and their model output…….that give us negative to catastrophic projections continue to be rewarded with funding and maximized dissemination into outlets that broadcast it.
“2015, the hottest year ever” for instance, along with impressive looking statistics or scary sounding extremes and adversities about weather/climate and creatures being harmed.
All the while, the planet quietly greens up, as these people look the other way. Things like increasing crop yields from the outstanding weather/climate and the increase in CO2 don’t get any weighting as if food supply is not important. Oh yes, it becomes important when an extreme weather event takes a toll on a crop somewhere.
For the 2nd year in a row, the US corn and soybean crop is smashing record yields………because of excellent weather and increasing CO2. This is just the last 2 years of data(caused by weather), part of the mostly excellent/improved climate of the last 4 decades here.
Maybe this can be spun into another negative narrative. “Farmers lose money from lower crop prices due to climate change”
Or, “Farmers higher cost from climate change includes spending more money to build larger storage space(bins)”
I would love to see these scientists with the negative takes on how climate change from burning fossil fuels is going to adversely effect crops, actually apply themselves in the real markets. Selling their model projections, advise or consulting services to market players or using it themselves in the real world to predict crop yields.
They would go broke and/or lose their customers quickly in the real world………but in today’s world of climate science, their funding and results are not tied to accountability. They continue to be afforded the luxury of moving the goal post, especially in the realm of time.
It’s way past time to reconcile observations with projections of what should have happened……….and be more objective in applying needed adjustments to models, projections and policies.

Leonard Lane
Reply to  Mike Maguire
August 12, 2016 1:10 pm

Good points Mike. It does seem that the leftist environmentalists and climate change (global warming) extremists do make their living on the backs of others doing honest work–the taxpayers.

Steve Case
August 12, 2016 12:27 pm

The author, David Graber, continues:
“McKibben is a biocentrist, and so am I. We are not interested in the utility of a particular species, or free-flowing river, or ecosystem, to mankind. They have intrinsic value, more value–to me–than another human body, or a billion of them. Human happiness, and certainly human fecundity, are not as important as a wild and healthy planet.”

A few years back in Yellow Stone National Park, I walked across a well manicured lawn in the center of compound of buildings that service tourist needs. There were some elk grazing on that lawn. A park ranger hollered at me for “disturbing” the elk. I told him, “You know what? I live here too.”
Yes, we live here too, and we have just as much right to make our way in the world as the Zeka virus and all the other organisms that have evolved over the eons.

August 12, 2016 2:37 pm
August 12, 2016 2:51 pm

“McKibben is a biocentrist, and so am I. We are not interested in the utility of a particular species, or free-flowing river, or ecosystem, to mankind. They have intrinsic value, more value–to me–than another human body, or a billion of them. Human happiness, and certainly human fecundity, are not as important as a wild and healthy planet.”
This is unicorn worship type stuff here.
What is McKibben ACTUALLY suggesting?
The population is what it is, and it’s currently using way to much in the way of fossil fuels (to support his argument).
So at this point, the only way to reduce the problem now is to KILL PEOPLE.
One wonders why he left this little step out?
The only way to stop the procreation is to sterilize people (we know that simply passing laws will not work).
Now Holdren and his nutty buddies already wrote about doing this, but hardly anybody took them seriously (except Obama, who installed him as the presidential science advisor. Let THAT sink in.)

tony mcleod
Reply to  wallensworth
August 14, 2016 1:51 pm

So at this point, the only way to reduce the problem now is to KILL PEOPLE.
On any measure humans appear to overshooting the planets resources. Only a handful of sociopathic despots would entertain an idea such as mass murder as the solution. However, cornucopian, perpetual growth thinking is also a neurosis. As a modern, citizen of the west, one I am intimately associated with.
How to correct this trajectory is humanity’s dilemma.

Reply to  tony mcleod
August 15, 2016 6:50 am

The earth could easily support 10 times the number of people alive today.
Regardless, if current growth curves are followed, the world will only add one or two billion more people before the population starts falling.

Tom Halla
August 12, 2016 3:49 pm

McKibben, Ehrlich, and their ilk are basicly misanthropes, and love nature as if people are not “natural” by their definition. Everyone should bear that in mind when discussing their proposals for “saving nature”.

Joe Bastardi
August 12, 2016 4:02 pm

Best 5 minute defense of energy I have ever seen, with Alex Epstein

David L. Hagen
Reply to  Joe Bastardi
August 12, 2016 7:09 pm

Examining the Role of Environmental Policies on Access to Energy and Economic Opportunity
Wednesday April 13, 2016, US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.
Alex Epstein, President, Center for Industrial Progress
Testimony PDF

30 years ago, President Obama’s top science advisor, John Holdren, predicted that by now we’d be approaching a billion CO2-related deaths from famine. Instead, famine has plummeted as have climate related deaths across the board. According to data from the International Disaster Database, deaths from climate-related causes such as extreme heat, extreme cold, storms, drought, and floods have decreased at a rate of 50% since the 1980s and 98% since major CO2 emissions began 80 years ago.
. . .Thus, the President’s anti-fossil fuel policies would ruin billions of lives economically and environmentally–depriving people of energy and therefore making them more vulnerable to nature’s ever-present climate danger.
Policies that cause massive, unnecessary human suffering, including increased climate vulnerability, are immoral.
A moral energy policy is one that liberates all the energy technologies, including fossil fuels, nuclear, and large-scale hydro, and lets them compete to the utmost to provide the most affordable, reliable energy for the most people.
A moral energy policy is an energy freedom policy.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  David L. Hagen
August 13, 2016 10:02 pm

“A moral energy policy is an energy freedom policy.”
I think Nicola Tesla would say that as well.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Joe Bastardi
August 13, 2016 3:02 pm

Watch the character to the left (Epstein’s right) during the video. His body language says La-la-la-la…

Reply to  Pop Piasa
August 14, 2016 4:25 am

Mr Epstein was brilliant; nobody is ever allowed to say stuff like that in the UK and in Europe they would be shot at dawn.

August 12, 2016 4:29 pm

Read the book long time ago and follow Alex’ speeches. One of his most important issues is to bring the energy industry to stand up proud for what they have achieved instead of excusing to the greens for what they have done.

Alan McIntire
August 12, 2016 5:45 pm

My brother gave me the book and I read it, but found it a bore. Most of the arguments were already presented, and in a more entertaining form, on this and other skeptical sites.

Reply to  Alan McIntire
August 13, 2016 9:40 am

Thanks for sharing Alan. Alan is a cure insomnia.

August 12, 2016 6:16 pm

“Man is not totally depraved and evil…..”
Unless reigned in.

David L. Hagen
August 12, 2016 7:30 pm

Worldview/Priorities are key

Does humanity come first? Or does minimizing human impact on the environment come first? It turns out that this choice makes a huge difference.
. . . The Green movement is not just for a pristine environment untouched by man, they are against human progress.

Their primary objection is on our origins. See Genesis 1:26:

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

See the Cornwall Alliance
Petition: Forget ‘Climate Change’, Energy Empowers the Poor!

The computer climate models that are the only reason for fears of dangerous, manmade global warming have proven wrong. They predict warming at twice the rate actually observed since the 1970s, and they failed to predict the complete absence of warming since January 1997. There remains, therefore, no good reason for the fears.
It follows that policies to fight global warming fight a non-problem. They waste trillions of dollars needed instead to help the world’s poor meet much more urgent needs. In developed countries they slow, stop, or reverse economic growth, destroy jobs, and raise energy costs, harming everyone—especially the poor and elderly. And, by depriving developing nations of the abundant, affordable, reliable energy they need to rise and stay out of poverty, they would condemn them to more generations of poverty, disease, suffering, and death.
Therefore we petition President Obama, Congress, our governors, our state legislatures, and county and city governments to repeal all policies previously adopted to fight global warming and not to adopt new ones (such as the currently proposed “Clean Power Plan”), and we petition President Obama and the United States Senate to refrain from embracing any global treaty or agreement to limit carbon dioxide emissions to fight global warming.

Jacob Zeise
August 12, 2016 10:38 pm

Great review. Nit picking here, but that conversation between Reardon and D’Anconia happened in Reardon’s house, not D’Anconia’s.
Epstein’s focus on the alternative standards of value are of paramount importance to any environmental discussion, especially climate change. Are we for humans or are we for non-impact?
The machine calorie discussion may be the most interesting in the long term. I am excited to see someone develop that concept so it is more easily communicated. That could be a huge “Ah ha!” moment for people struggling to understand the benefits of fossil fuels.

August 12, 2016 11:10 pm

It’s becoming painfully obvious that Leftists’ CAGW policies are very: anti-human, tyrannical, economically disastrous, ineffective, unsustainable, irrational, illogical and anti-capitalistic, while skeptics’ epistemology is very pro-human, free-market based, sustainable, economically sound, effective, efficient, rational and assures a prosperous future.
Every year that passes sees skeptical views becoming increasing validated, while the CAGW hypothesis becomes increasingly absurd, and Leftists’ wastefuly squandering $trillions on unwarranted CO2 sequestration policies becomes increasingly insane…
Once the CAGW hypothesis becomes completely untenable to the point of ridicule, I hope the world learns the important lesson that Leftist ideology is a failed, oppressive and dangerous construct that needs to be abandoned. Like the CAGW scam they created, it doesn’t work.

Reply to  SAMURAI
August 13, 2016 2:39 pm

But it is worse than anti-human. The “greens” are against every other form of life as well. For example, in a Trenberth presentation, the emergence of a living tree was proof of global warming. The change from ice to tree indeed indicates warming–and they object!

Reply to  ladylifegrows
August 13, 2016 2:44 pm

The emergence of a living tree in the arctic at a place of ice melt

August 13, 2016 1:42 am

In 2002 Alex wrote some features for the Duke University “Chronicle” that impressed me so much that I met with him to find out why he was prepared to put up with the negative consequences of denying “Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming’. It is no surprise to me that he has written this excellent book.
The Duke university physics department has employed several “Deniers” including this camel, Robert G. Brown, Nicola Scafetta and Edward Bilpuch. Duke university is also home to the “Nicholas School of the Environment” that has employed “Alarmists” such as William Chameides and Gabriele C. Hegerl.
Over the last ten years the Nicholas School has expanded into space previously occupied by the Physics Department. IMHO opinion this shows that it pays to “Go Along to Get Along”. Science in the USA is no longer a “Search for Truth”. All that matters is government patronage.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  gallopingcamel
August 13, 2016 10:26 pm

I miss Dr. Brown’s posts here. I hope all is well for him.

August 13, 2016 2:02 am

The book argues that even if fossil fuels created no waste, including no CO2, if they were even cheaper, if they would last forever, the “Green” movement would still oppose them. The Green movement is not just for a pristine environment untouched by man, they are against human progress.

They are against human progress because they are for a pristine environment untouched by man, as your text following this passage explains.
Thank you for this review.

August 13, 2016 3:37 am

Presentation of Evidence Suggesting Temperature Drives Atmospheric CO2 more than CO2 Drives Temperature
September 4, 2015
By Allan MacRae
Observations and Conclusions:
1. Temperature, among other factors, drives atmospheric CO2 much more than CO2 drives temperature. The rate of change dCO2/dt is closely correlated with temperature and thus atmospheric CO2 LAGS temperature by ~9 months in the modern data record
2. CO2 also lags temperature by ~~800 years in the ice core record, on a longer time scale.
3. Atmospheric CO2 lags temperature at all measured time scales.
4. CO2 is the feedstock for carbon-based life on Earth, and Earth’s atmosphere and oceans are clearly CO2-deficient. CO2 abatement and sequestration schemes are nonsense.
5. Based on the evidence, Earth’s climate is insensitive to increased atmospheric CO2 – there is no global warming crisis.
6. Recent global warming was natural and irregularly cyclical – the next climate phase following the ~20 year pause will probably be global cooling, starting by ~2020 or sooner.
7. Adaptation is clearly the best approach to deal with the moderate global warming and cooling experienced in recent centuries.
8. Cool and cold weather kills many more people than warm or hot weather, even in warm climates. There are about 100,000 Excess Winter Deaths every year in the USA, up to 50,000 in the UK and several million worldwide.
9. Green energy schemes have needlessly driven up energy costs, reduced electrical grid reliability and contributed to increased winter mortality, which especially targets the elderly and the poor.
10. Cheap, abundant, reliable energy is the lifeblood of modern society. When misinformed politicians fool with energy systems, real people suffer and die. That is the tragic legacy of false global warming alarmism.
Allan MacRae, Calgary, June 12, 2015

Reply to  Allan MacRae
August 13, 2016 9:50 am

My rebuttal of your points:
1).The point is that carbon-cycle CO2 is not the problem – ACO2 is.
That is leading …. obviously.
2).As Above – yes science does know this – climate scientists found that fact out for you.
Anthro Co2 is leading. It’s a GHG and so reduces Earth’s cooling to space.
3).Again irrelevant as ACO2 leads and is what has caused the 280ppm to 400ppm rise in atmos CO2 since the start of the industrial revolution.
4).How can they be “deficient”, as man evolved during a period when CO2 was at 400! Don’t need any more my friend.
And Ocean PH is slowly reducing. That means it is absorbing more CO2 than it is out-gassing.
Out of balance. The carbon cycle is in balance (over times-scales of decades to centuries).
5).Nope there are multiple lines of evidence that contradict that hand-waving.
6).Again, mere hand-waving the “natural part” was an EN event, after nearly 2 decades of a -ve PDO/ENSO regime. So your “cooling” was natural as well by that argument. They are both *riding* on a background AGW warming signal. BTW: if all warming caused by EN’s were to take the GMT to record levels then the oceans would have boiled away a long, long time ago.
7).There is no evidence of “cooling”via a fading of the Sun that would be anywhere sig against the ongoing AGW warming …. just ask Leif Svalgaard (solar scientist).
8).We are going to have to adapt, as we are already too late. The hard times will come in generations to follow. A fact that seems lost on here, as *predictions* are are deemed to have failed …. when in fact they lie decades ahead (in terms of SL rise in particular). Will cost much, much more to adapt (for future generations) that to develop new energy systems at an accelerated pace – it will have to be done eventually anyway.
It is incumbent on us to not sh**t in our own home.
9).Cold deaths come in advanced countries taking the old and infirm. Heat deaths largely occur in 3rd world countries affecting all generations when accompanied by drought and starvation.

Reply to  Toneb
August 13, 2016 3:39 pm

Oh dear, where to start…
“5).Nope there are multiple lines of evidence that contradict that hand-waving.”
Ah, the “multiple lines of evidence” schtick.
No there aren’t.
Stop making stuff up.
“when in fact they lie decades ahead”
The only evidence for which being computer games.
So total alarmist twaddle from start to finish…

Reply to  Toneb
August 13, 2016 9:48 pm

Amen to Catweazel’s comment.
You should not present GISTEMP data here. We are not swayed by data that has been manipulated to serve a political agenda.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Toneb
August 13, 2016 10:44 pm

Tone(deaf)b, The hard times to come will be at the hands of bureaucrats, not nature. We have the ability to provide affordable electricity, affluence and therefore population reduction to the third world. It is within our grasp to keep innocents from perishing due to cold or heat so your stilted statistics are moot.
I can’t think of a better way to “sh**t” on our world than to cover it with pinwheels and mirrors.

Reply to  Toneb
August 14, 2016 11:24 am

I just happened across your comment. You wrote:
Anthro Co2 is leading.
That’s called an ‘assertion’. But empirical evidence contradicts your assertion:comment image
Your whole argument is based on your claim that since human CO2 emissions lead global temperatures, CO2 causes global warming. But that has been proven to be wrong. On all time scales, ∆CO2 follows ∆T.
Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus.

Reply to  Allan MacRae
August 14, 2016 4:46 am

Toneb – You might actually read my above-cited paper, rather than misinterpreting it.
I will not respond in detail to your points, which I regard as false CAGW nonsense.
I have an excellent predictive track record, dating back to my first publications on this subject in 2002. In contrast, none of the scary predictions of the IPCC and the global warming gang have materialized – they have been consistently wrong.
The global warming gang have perfect negative credibility and yet they have caused our society to squander trillions of dollars of scarce global resources on a false crisis.
It is a professional and ethical obligation to speak out against such destructive nonsense. Cheap abundant reliable energy is the lifeblood of society. When misinformed politicians fool with energy systems, innocent people suffer and die.
Of my ten points above, the only one that I am not highly confident of is my point 6, and I hope to be wrong about imminent global cooling.
The global cooling from ~1940-1975, as fossil fuel combustion strongly accelerated, effectively disproves the CAGW hypothesis.
Regards, Allan

Reply to  Allan MacRae
August 14, 2016 5:30 am

I suggest that the scientific community would benefit by adopting the Code of Ethics of Professional Engineering societies.
One recent example:
I reported a very serious safety concern regarding the Mazeppa sour gas plant near Calgary to the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) on May 28, 2016. Several of the sour gas wells and pipelines are within 1.5 miles of highly populated areas of Calgary. H2S concentrations of 0.5% are instantly lethal. The Mazeppa sour gas plant was processing up to 40% H2S.
As a Professional Engineer, I am obliged to report issues of public safety. I was notified about this extreme hazard, made inquiries to verify the facts and advised the AER within one week. The Mazeppa plant was shut down one month later. Further action was taken by the AER on August 9, 2016.
I have no business or professional relationship with this plant or the company that owns it. I was General Manager of Engineering of an unrelated company that built and owned the plant circa 1992. My obligation, once I was informed of this problem, was to ensure public safety.
– Allan MacRae, P.Eng.
Recent History of the Mazeppa Sour Gas Plant Issue
An excerpted version of my letter to the AER is here.
From: Allan MacRae
Sent: May-28-16 12:28 PM
To: Senior Executive, Alberta Energy Regulator
Subject: Critical Sour Gas Alert
Importance: High
I have, on usually reliable authority, the following information.
The Mazeppa Sour Gas Plant reportedly has very serious safety concerns, including:
a) Failure to pay surface lease rentals and resulting loss of access to sour gas wells;
b) Infrequent anti-corrosion chemical injection of sour gas pipeline gathering systems;
c) Major cost skimping on sour gas plant maintenance, including on major plant turnarounds.
If true, I regard this matter as very high risk, given that the Mazeppa plant and gathering system collects and processes sour gas (as high as ~30-40% H2S) and is close to highly-populated areas, including the City of Calgary.
Thank you, Allan MacRae, P.Eng.
An August 9 article in the Calgary Herald is here.
An August 9, 2016 Order by the Alberta Energy Regulator is here.

Reply to  Allan MacRae
August 17, 2016 2:21 am

H2S concentrations of 0.1% are instantly lethal.

August 13, 2016 6:17 am

This is fine review and commentary on the inconsistency of the environmental movement. Unfortunately, the throwaway line ‘like Calvinist’s [sic] believe’ betrays both a lack of knowledge of Christian teaching and a misunderstanding of the ethical foundations for true concern and care for the environment. I think the points are made perfectly well without throwaway lines like that. Anyone interested in reading a fine essay on what Calvin actually taught should read Marilynne Robinson’s book The Death of Adam.

Smart Rock
Reply to  thomasbrown32000
August 13, 2016 10:05 am

Thomasbrown32000 – Andy May wasn’t talking about what Calvin taught, but what followers of a wide group of protestant sects (widely, colloquially and – OK your point is taken – erroneously referred to as “Calvinist”) tend to believe. When I lived in Scotland, I saw a good deal of various protestant churches that evolved out of the teachings of John Knox, who certainly gave Luther and Calvin a run for their money with his contempt for, and intolerance of anything that gives people pleasure, with his obsession with sin, sin, sin and nothing but sin, and his promotion of non-stop, all-pervasive guilt about sin About 97 percent of what constituted sin in those Scottish sects comprised either acts of a sexual nature between consenting adults, or doing anything on Sunday other than go to church. I suppose committing a sexual act on a Sunday would have got you two consecutive eternities in hell.
Those “calvinist” beliefs cover a fairly wide spectrum, but “we are all sinners” is pretty ubiquitous among them, and I think that’s what Andy was getting at.
Many of us sceptics have commented on the similarities between religion and the CAGW philosophy. No need to go into them again at length, but here are the biggies:
1. the use of guilt about your sins as a motivator to believe;
2. the inability of even strong believers to really abstain from the things they feel guilty about;
3. the promise of salvation if you REALLY believe
As a proudly self-declared atheist, I have a real problem with what I think of as “hard” protestant Christianity. I find its anti-human philosophies repellent, but I have no choice but to admit that – if you look at the countries of western Europe (for example) there appears to be a correlation between their attachment to protestantism and their level of prosperity. I think it’s a real causative correlation, with the one leading to the other. Also, what I’ve seen, the growth of “bible-thumping” in aboriginal communities in northern Canada has (often, not always) led to a decrease in alcoholism, drug use, glue sniffing etc.
That said, just because a particular religion leads to positive social changes, doesn’t mean its beliefs are true.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Smart Rock
August 13, 2016 10:54 pm

Religion is the ultimate drug with which to treat the commoners. Don’t remember who said that first.

Reply to  Smart Rock
August 14, 2016 5:13 am

You captured the point I was trying to make perfectly, thank you. Sorry about the errant apostrophes, I’ll try and avoid that in future.

Johann Wundersamer
August 13, 2016 7:34 am

“We don’t take a safe environment and make it dangerous; we take a dangerous environment and make it far safer.”
‘luja, sog i.

August 13, 2016 7:53 am

Excellent book that I’ve read twice.

Johann Wundersamer
August 13, 2016 8:11 am

And thus we engaged ourselves into armageddonist coronary breakdown.
CO2? No, bored.

Johann Wundersamer
August 13, 2016 8:32 am

I know my gods are laughing.

Johann Wundersamer
August 13, 2016 9:38 am

Until since, 80% of commenters with noli me tangere aliases.
Inert 3 months flipping to impressing Ph.Ds.
Die März gefallenen, eager for niedrige Parteimitgliedsnummern.

August 13, 2016 10:46 am

My philosophy is simple. My wife needs A/C to extend her fragile life.
Our plan was to spend the next two weeks off grid in the mountains or at the ocean. That requires the big generator in the motor to run the A/C unless we can travel in the cool part of the day with the sun behind us.
Unfortunately the big generator will not start. I checked the simple stuff but main an appointment for early in the morning on the way to the mountains. The computer control card failed. That is $500 where I went and $1000 at an authorized dealer.
This a violation of the kiss (keep it simple stupid) principle. The A/C and fridge also have expensive computer control cards. These provide all kinds cool features that would require me to remember to push a button or turn a switch.
Violation of the kiss principle also precludes a $50 do-it-fix.
Being old school in nuclear power, I have long advocated the kiss principle. I think computer controlled electronic ignition is great in your car because it is more reliable than the old technology.
So we are back on the grid. The choice now is a $500 repair to $10,000 generator or replace it with a kiss principle $500 generator that meets the A/C needs. The kiss principle requires manual starting, manual warmup, manual loading, and manual fueling.
Since these activities occur where there is no internet, it would not hinder posting here.

August 13, 2016 11:15 am

Safety and the environmental impact of making electricity are two of my areas of expertise. In the US, regulations require that we show we do it safely and with insignificant environmental impact. We demonstrate this every day.
In other words, there is no ethical dilemma.
There is the ‘want to buy my book’ effect. Books about the sky is falling are popular among those who enjoy electricity and have time to worry about problems that do not exist. In this case, the book to buy is one explaining the morality of dealing with ethical issues that do not exist.
We can save a lot of time. Send me $20, I will not write a book. You will not have to read this book. I will make good use of the money. My wife will buy me more red wine out of bottle than a box. Send me enough $20 units and I promise to tour wineries in the motorhome comparing cheap Walmart box wine to more fashionable tourist wine destinations.
It is like comparing nuclear power to local windfarms. One works and the other make some feel good about having a comfortable life style.

Dick of Utah
August 13, 2016 7:57 pm

If you listen to podcasts:
Power Hour with Alex Epstein
Rubin Report episode 42 (fair minded liberal Dave Rubin hosting Alex E.)
All can be found free on Itunes.

August 14, 2016 4:00 am

All of mankind’s progress is due to fossil fuels. Smelting of metals early on was down C reducing oxides producing CO2 giving us the tools to hack through the wilderness and earn a living. Without C combustion we would still be back in the stoneage; which is probably where the greens would like to be.

Reply to  chemengrls
August 14, 2016 9:40 am

Alex Epstein is brilliant…..

Reply to  chemengrls
August 14, 2016 9:43 am

….greens would like us to be…..

Reply to  chemengrls
August 14, 2016 4:25 pm
Agree – fossil fuels have delivered humanity from the worst forms of poverty and slavery.
Now, warmist scoundrels and imbeciles want to deny the benefits of cheap fossil fuel energy to the poorest of humankind, and drive the rest of us backwards into energy poverty. What the warmists are advocating is not only wrong, it is harmful and it is evil.
Cheap, abundant reliable energy is the lifeblood of humanity – it IS that simple!
Best regards, Allan MacRae, P.Eng.

August 14, 2016 9:41 am

..down to C reducing oxides….

Tom Anderson
August 14, 2016 10:19 am

What, still surprised by the McKibben, Ehrlich, et al., jeremiads?
Environmentalism is absolutely, necessarily anti-human. It was as essential Nazism as to the Greenpeace corps of social engineers. It’s part and parcel of the program. What do you think that “Renaissance Faire” fantasy is about?
The only contemporary writer who seems to have scented the green pathology’s DNA is Martin Durkin, a documentary maker for, among other media, the History Channel.
Once again, to all who will take a few well-spent minutes I highly recommend a look at his 25 pp. on what led to the Nazi-Green shack up and beyond. Nothing has changed friends; just not been paying attention, have we?
Here . . . as we used to say in the newspaper biz, read it and weep.

Reply to  Tom Anderson
August 15, 2016 4:15 am

Thank you for this article Tom.
NAZI GREENS – An Inconvenient History
By Martin Durkin
The modern State did not arise in or order to ‘curb the cruelties’ of capitalism. Far from it. It arose specifically to preserve the privileges of the existing ruling classes against the democratic, liberating, enriching and levelling forces of capitalism.

August 15, 2016 3:46 am

Alan Epstein has a few reap solid videos over on Prager University:

August 15, 2016 3:47 am

Here is another one:

August 15, 2016 3:48 am
August 15, 2016 3:54 am

Alex Eppstein is a frequent guest on Free Domain Radio.
In chronological order:
1. Episode 3086 “Why You Should Love Fossil Fuel | Alex Epstein and Stefan Molyneux”
2. Episode 3141 “Inconvenient Facts About Global Warming | Alex Epstein and Stefan Molyneux”
3. Episode 3192 “America’s Energy War: Fossil Fuels, Ethanol and Industrial Progress! Inconvenient Facts About Global Warming | Alex Epstein and Stefan Molyneux”
4. Episode 3349 “Free Speech Under Attack | Alex Epstein and Stefan Molyneux Inconvenient Facts About Global Warming | Alex Epstein and Stefan Molyneux”

August 15, 2016 12:00 pm

It was a good book in 2014.
Seems like it took along time for you to read it.

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