An Ocean of Ignorance Guides Western Energy Policy

Reposted from BOE REPORT

Column: Maybe we’re better off if we can’t find our politicians – an ocean of ignorance guides western energy policy

Terry Etam

A few years ago, I was discussing the impacts of drought on some Canadian crop regions with an acquaintance. The guy had no farming background whatsoever, which is not particularly unusual, as is the often accompanying disjointed view of how things really work. After a minute of mulling the crop devastation, he asked, “Couldn’t you just use like a watering hose?”

The guy wasn’t a particularly sizeable idiot; he was just isolated and had no idea how impractical and implausible that idea was. Short of helicoptering him to the middle of a 640 acre field, it can be hard to adequately describe the reality of the situation.

We can all be in this person’s shoes if we venture a solution for something we have no clue about. If a surgeon mentioned some procedural problem at work, I highly doubt my knowledge-free/chainsaws-are-wonder-tools suggestions would be much help.

That’s just an oddity of human discourse, and rarely anything more than an amusement. But not in the energy world. The garden-hose thinkers have elbowed their way to the decision table.

In January, a group of 400 “scientists, academics, and energy system modellers” sent a letter to federal cabinet ministers Freeland, Wilkinson and Guilbealt (sounds like a terrifying law firm) urging the federal government not to offer a tax credit for carbon capture and storage if that process was used to enhance oil recovery (CCUS).

The stance is a peculiar one; an underlying principle of engineering (and common sense) is that dual purpose efficiencies are the lowest hanging fruit there is. Since the world will be burning all that oil anyways, it makes complete sense to start there, and utilize that infrastructure wherever possible.

Not for the crowd of 400 though, who somehow have deemed themselves as better suited to deal with the issue. (Included in the signatories from whom we should take engineering advice are dozens of public policy people; dozens of sociologists; professors in film studies, Asian studies, religious studies, history, accounting, English, art history, philosophy…pretty much any social science discipline you can imagine.) All have deemed themselves experts on CCUS. All are collectively telling the government “don’t listen to the shill, a water hose will work just fine.”

Consider one of their complaints: “The buildout of CCUS infrastructure would require an enormous system of pipelines to transport the carbon.” It is one of the few items that they don’t bother to cite in their web of circuitous/nonsensical peer review, because to them that world doesn’t exist. Hydrocarbons are simply cut out of the equation going forward. The group urges the feds to instead pursue “increased electrification, wide-scale use of renewable energy, and intensifying energy efficiency.”

Nothing wrong with increasing energy efficiency, but what about the replacement of hydrocarbons with wide-scale use of renewable energy (their replacement logic, not mine)? As with farmers, they are bringing out the garden hose suggestion, but let’s hear what others that are interested in functionality have to say.

The IEA, who in some circumstances are still nobly unable to avoid certain truths, pointed out in a report last year that keeping global temperature rise under 2 degrees will quadruple mineral requirements/new mines by 2040, and to get to net-zero-2050 would mean a sixfold increase.

If that sounds ludicrous, that’s because it is, and won’t happen – according to another article by actual engineers, to achieve a full energy transition “would exceed not just existing and planned production capabilities [for copper, nickel, graphite, lithium, and others], but also known global reserves of those minerals.”

And that’s the theoretical part. Here’s the actual view from the ground – that no matter what the reserves are, they are getting more and more difficult to extract.29dk2902l

A few weeks ago, mining giant Freeport-McMoRan (you know who they are, the ones that brought down multi-billion dollar Bre-X by asking “Can we look at those gold samples for a few minutes please?”) CEO said in a year-end conference call: “We’re seeing increasing scarcity in supply, at a time when demand is growing so significantly. There are a limited number of projects, which have been under development for some time now…beyond that, it’s hard to find actionable projects that are can be developed within a very short period of time…there’s increasing political risk around the world that will have its impact on copper supply development. Notably in Chile and Peru, where 40% of the world’s copper comes from, there’s new President who run on agendas that are oriented towards social programs…you see this in countries like the United States, you see others countries restricting new supply development for community social issues…ranging all the ways from Asia to Central America to Africa. All of these things add into supply constraints.”

For reference, and this was helpful to me as a mining idiot, F-M’s latest mine to come onstream, in Indonesia – for which the company began spending capital 20 years ago – has over 350 miles of tunnels, seven miles of underground railroad to feed huge crushers, and five miles of conveyor belts. That’s why mines take 20 years to get running, and that time will only grow as regulations make them hard to get off the ground at all.

There is of course no guarantee that Trudeau/Guilbealt/Wilkinson/Freeland will listen to the group of 400, but there is no reason to think they won’t. Western leaders have surrounded themselves with ideological clones that are unfit for the job, that lack any experience in actually running an energy system.

Europe’s energy fiasco need hardly be discussed again, and the most startling part of all of it is that many of those failed energy generals are pointing to the high cost of natural gas as a reason to accelerate towards more renewables. That is exactly the same solution as the guy that suggested watering square-mile-fields with a garden hose or two.

The dementia extends over here. Biden is scouring the world for natural gas supplies for Europe in the event that Russia invades Ukraine, while back home his minions are doing whatever they can to diminish the hydrocarbon industry in favour of renewables.

Rumours are circulating (based on draft US government discussion papers) that Biden’s Administration will hike petroleum royalty rates by 50 percent (a White House spokesperson downplayed the report, calling the hike “pre-decisional draft language”).

The US is now one of the largest exporters of natural gas in the world (it took the title at least temporarily), a world that is without question desperately seeking more, and Biden’s new-energy mavens seem to think making production more difficult is a logical card to play, all while their boss looks under every global rock for more supply.

The wildly dangerous, off-course thinking underlying many of these decisions is the fundamentally ignorant belief that the energy transition is happening rapidly. Thus we have these armies of people that now declare themselves “energy experts” because they study every aspect of renewable energy with the embedded assumption that that will be the whole story.

It goes without saying that there are thousands of start up companies trying every new clean technology imaginable, and some will work, but most bring us right back to the critical minerals shortage issue like a crater that can’t be circumnavigated.

How can you trust any analysis that refuses to integrate the current hydrocarbon system that meets 80 percent of global energy needs? Any sensible game plan would start with that as the foundation, and embrace things like CCUS as relatively easy to reach milestones (and I have no idea if CCUS is economic at large scale either; all I know is that ‘decarbonization’ is going to be outrageously expensive in either economic or living standard terms, so if it is going to happen I vote for CCUS as being as sensible as anything).

Furthermore, despite several decades and trillions of expenditures, it can be easily argued that there is as of yet no energy transition at all – 80 percent of global energy transition needs were met by hydrocarbons 30 years ago, and that percentage is almost the same today. That is not the definition of a transition – it is a picture of an ever-increasing energy consumption pie with the size of each piece growing due to an increase in diameter, not an increase in proportion. 

It feels a bit weird to point out such obvious circumstances when it is becoming more evident every day that the world is crying out for more hydrocarbons and not less. But as long as our governments – and the people that vote them in – continue to live in their la la land, the choice is to capitulate and let them drive the entire system into the ground, or take them out into the wheat field with a garden hose and wait for the light to go on. 

How did we get in such an energy quagmire? Find out how, and how to get out – pick up  “The End of Fossil Fuel Insanity” at, or Thanks for the support.

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February 12, 2022 6:17 am

Couldn’t you just use like a watering hose?

For sure. It’s called irrigation. It’s standard operating practice in many places. Of course, you need a supply of water.

FWIW, Saskatchewan is pushing ahead with expanded irrigation near Lake Diefenbaker. link

Philip York
Reply to  commieBob
February 12, 2022 12:12 pm

You need water for irrigation. Ever tried getting water storage past greenie councils.

Old Cocky
Reply to  commieBob
February 12, 2022 12:49 pm

You tend to end up with soil salinity problems as well.

Reply to  commieBob
February 12, 2022 3:50 pm

Ans a big hose.

Tom Halla
February 12, 2022 6:20 am

And we have the clowns around Biden blocking the development of a mine that would produce copper and other metals needed for “renewables” construction.
The greens somehow act as if someone else will produce the metals and concrete needed for prayer wheels, somewhere else.

Ralph Knapp
Reply to  Tom Halla
February 12, 2022 8:16 am

“Send in the clowns, don’t bother he’s here…”

February 12, 2022 6:22 am

Yes, very insightful. Masses of people pronouncing (and deciding) without the slightest understanding of the subject.

The question to ask the Green fanatics is simple:

Why do you want us all to do things in the name of climate that are impossible to do, and even if possible will have no effect on it?

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  michel
February 12, 2022 6:46 am

Makes me wonder- is anyone paying attention to the skeptics of the climate “crisis”? This blog as of the moment claims “458,796,776 hits”. I can’t imagine how anyone could read this blog and not be at least a bit skeptical. I suspect that if the net zero thing was put to a vote- it would lose “bigly”.

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
February 12, 2022 7:19 am

Silly question, msm = minority rule, the masses, no matter what their point of view, are irrelevant

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
February 12, 2022 3:33 pm

There is a push to get a referendum on net zero in the UK, by Brexit folks who know how to do it.

February 12, 2022 6:56 am

An ocean of willful ignorance fed with lies.

February 12, 2022 7:07 am

People forget a basic equation.

Energy x technology = wealth

Take away our energy and no amount of smarts will keep billions of people from dying in the cold or starving. EVERYTHING that makes it possible to sustain comfortable billions instead of miserable millions of people on this planet needs energy.

John the Econ
February 12, 2022 7:07 am

Every so often, I get one of those useless idiots from the university at my door wishing me to sign a petition against mining in the state. They frequently have a peiricng or two. I ask where the silver for those came from. They haven’t a clue. I ask if they are for “locally sourced produce” and why. They will answer enthusiastically. I’ll then ask why they’re not in favor of “locally sourced minerals”. You get that deer-in-the-headlights look.

Thanks to this piece, I’ll now add that we’ll be needing new fewer than 6-times the new mines in the state if we’ll want any chance to achieve “net zero” by 2050 to save us from their imaginary crisis.

Steve Case
Reply to  John the Econ
February 12, 2022 8:55 am

Locally sourced minerals

Good one!

John Hultquist
Reply to  Steve Case
February 12, 2022 8:23 pm

This is easily done when someone in your family dies.
Titanium alloys in total joint replacement is a start. There are pacemakers, gold teeth, and jewelry of all sorts, and there is lots of bling in ears, nose, face, and tongue.

Reply to  John the Econ
February 12, 2022 9:41 am

Cal PIRG (California Public Interest Research Group) is the name of the group that hires our doorbell ringers.

They only hire students who show up at the beginning of every semester with some petition, initiative or issue that they want to “educate” you about, always with the request for your signature and donation to “The Cause” which changes with every semester.

I’ve never heard any politician reference their policy plans directly or indirectly or seen anything they talk about make it onto a ballot, so I am not sure what the money they are raising from doorbell ringing is actually going to. I suspect that after everyone involved gets paid, the remainder gets aggregated and redistributed into other groups who then dole it out to any “Cause” they think needs funding regardless of what the original begging was for.

John the Econ
Reply to  Doonman
February 14, 2022 10:43 am

The people who arrive at my doorstep are usually members or employees of our local “PIRG”. Most of the time they only have a superficial understanding of whatever their issue is and a basic script to follow. They’re rarely prepared to answer anything beyond what’s in the script and don’t understand much of anything. They usually ask for money and it does seem like a racket. Obviously they make enough money doing this to sustain the operation.

February 12, 2022 7:13 am

It is unfortunate that ignorance cannot be used to generate electricity, given its ready availability.

Reply to  roaddog
February 12, 2022 7:43 pm

And certainly is renewable.

February 12, 2022 7:35 am

Are you talking about Michael Bloomberg? His statement about how easy it was to be a farmer, is proof of Scott Adam’s hypothesis of all of us exhibiting idiot-savant characteristics. The problem is when the idiot savants are politicians talented enough to get to the top of the political heap, and then idiot enough to try to run everything else, which they fail at.
Think Hitler & Stalin. A poll of Germans in 1945, would have similarities to Joe Biden approval numbers today.
It has been said of Stalin that a paid agent of Germany could not have left the Soviet Union more vulnerable than the USSR was in 1942, prior to Barbarossa.

Kevin kilty
Reply to  CWinNy
February 12, 2022 8:12 am


Reply to  Kevin kilty
February 12, 2022 11:38 am

Well it took until 1942 for Stalin to realise murdering most of the top brass of the army didn’t work too well,-

then, that cold weather worked even better than firing bullets at the German army sitting freezing to death just outside Ostankino Tikvin, & Gatchina forests.

Kevin kilty
February 12, 2022 7:45 am

Last year a materials scientist/expert visited the campus. As is usual a couple of us were tagged to have lunch with him. When we began discussing general technical topics the conversation did not turn to where one might think — climate change etc. Instead he stated as absolutely factual that we need to abandon our use of metals for plastics/composites, which are his specialty.

I pointed out that not only can composites not perform all the task of metals, but that in most cases we recycle practically all metals now. Cases in point are lead and aluminum. He thought about this for a moment and decided that he had jumped to a conclusion without thinking things through.

Yes, deep expertise can sometimes look a lot like broad ignorance.

Reply to  Kevin kilty
February 12, 2022 8:28 am

He would be one of those who went the route of chemistry and then polymers and composites to become a materials specialist.

Us material engineers tend to have been down a much broader route which has a solid metallurgical base and then moves into ceramics and polymers. Even then we wouldn’t suggest getting rid of all plastics and using metals and alloys instead.

Reply to  Kevin kilty
February 12, 2022 9:30 am

Where I went to school all course 14 (Materials E) freshmen majors had to blacksmith and heat treat their own knives from steel bars, then analyze them extensively. Composites were much later if you chose that option, but mostly those were the course 4 (Chem E) majors.
Cross discipline education was encouraged.

Reply to  Rocketscientist
February 12, 2022 9:37 am

OOPS! my memory engineering school #s at the “Tute” is slipping. I was reminded Materials Eng is course 3. NOT 14! (which is Economics)

Reply to  Rocketscientist
February 12, 2022 4:48 pm

Thanks, Rocket….
At my college we had to cast concrete(cement with stuff) to see that the ancients had pretty good mixtures. We could try our own additives, and then test them, but somehow the elders had pretty good mixtures….oh yeah, then the curing process……
Gums sends…

February 12, 2022 7:53 am

Well said. It is all a total head-scratcher to me.

February 12, 2022 7:56 am

I am sure their “goal” for our energy future is that beautiful, unspoiled era of humanity circa 1870.

Reply to  Wharfplank
February 12, 2022 8:37 am

More like, 1770 or earlier. They have no idea of what they really will bring about should their actions actually come to fruition. Morons.

February 12, 2022 8:29 am

Has anyone read a Mosher post in a while?

I wonder if they scooped him up in a contract tracing situation.

Reply to  Derg
February 12, 2022 9:07 am

Possibly the turnaround of his “CoVid is under control in South Korea” meme has resulted in him going into hiding…..sort of like Nick Stokes “10% CoVid infection rate will result in herd immunity” meme…

Last edited 1 year ago by DMacKenzie
Bruce Cobb
February 12, 2022 8:31 am

There are multiple oceans of ignorance – about 11, I believe.

Curious George
February 12, 2022 8:33 am
Federico Bär
Reply to  Curious George
February 13, 2022 7:07 pm

Being also curious, I ask the same question, George!
Even before having followed the link, I wanted to comment that, contrary to ignorance, an ocean of evil will is concerned. These people know very well but wilfullly ignore, the consequences of their proposals.
Unfortunately, they receive a lot of (too much) support – both active, and passive by omission.
I would like to avoid being in the “passive” group but I am jusr a simple citizen, without any network relations.

What a powerful article!

Peta of Newark
February 12, 2022 8:37 am

I got an email this morn, on the subject of ‘health’
It had 2 main stories, both of which might be relevant
One was about 8 un-named major shareholders inside of Pfizer and Astra
All it had to say was that these individuals had seen their (combined) wealth rise by just over $10 Billion inside the previous 12 months

Story two was concerned the very actual South African doctor who first ever identified Ohmygoddycron variant of uno -wot.
At the time and with great fanfare, she declared it not be of any great concern – it wasn’t much of a threat to anyone. hardly.
(Mmmm, many here think, I know of ‘something like that)

At which point she was besieged by high ranking folks from numerous Western Governments telling her to STFU
But, considering her position and that there was No Way she could just STFU without raising suspicion. Thus she was told in no uncertains to change her story – to say henceforth that there’d been a mistake and that the Ohmygoddycron variant was just as nasty as all the previous variants, if not more so .Did anyone notice that at the time?
I did but, because of the deluge of garbage, out it down as more of the same.

That’s happening in Climate Science isn’t it but just how big?
Is that what’s propelling the entire shebang?
A desperate urge for control by one party in collusion with another party = a one with a desperate urge for $$$$$$

IOW. Not an Ocean of Ignorance – an Ocean of (enforced) Mendacity.

Ignorance is forgivable………….

Last edited 1 year ago by Peta of Newark
Reply to  Peta of Newark
February 12, 2022 10:01 am

So it is a conspiracy of global proportions?

Reply to  Tom.1
February 13, 2022 3:31 am

Big pharma, oil gas and renewables are all global industries. The largest industries in the world.

I will let you figure it out.

Reply to  Peta of Newark
February 12, 2022 3:27 pm


It’s just the same old, same old.
Control, just follow the money.
Getting easier to do with all the internutiness just more tiresome.
When will the human organism wake up and regain Control?
I think it’s starting.

Reply to  Peta of Newark
February 13, 2022 3:30 am

Ther is no doubt in my mind that Asrra Zeneca was deliberetely bad mouthed for their not-for-profit vaccine by people who wre paid highly to say that by probably Pfizer.

I dont think te virus itself was a scam – too many people got too ill – but for sure it was a heaven sent opportunity to make a lot of money.

But not Astra Zeneca. They are only just starting to make money on it.

February 12, 2022 8:53 am

I think it’s time to flip the script on this claim that citizens that disagree with CAGW are seditious. Realists should form a class action suit to sue the global warming/climate change supporters with sedition. Vet everything out in a court of law in front of a jury. I think it will be the trial of the century and the truth will prevail because the whole CAGW hypothesis is founded on junk science. CO2 is not an evil pollutant but rather a giver of life to our carbon based existence.

Gary Pearse
February 12, 2022 9:34 am

(New mining) …to get to net-zero-2050 would mean a sixfold increase.

I guess they don’t know that such a demand will cause a multi-fold increase in mineral commodity prices. And wait until they have to make composites for rotor blades with algal slimes that “researchers” herald as a ‘brealthrough’. In this context I like the new Ozzie (?) synonym for it: “disruptive technology”! £10,000/Megawatt/hr anyone?

Reply to  Gary Pearse
February 12, 2022 10:34 am


Willem post
February 12, 2022 1:01 pm

It looks like wind and solar will:

1) Bring PEACE ON EARTH, with very high energy prices and very high other prices
2) Provide a cure for COVID
3) Make us all very happy, because the global warming “problem” is solved



Energy Secretary Granholm says solar panels may bring about world peace


Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm suggested solar panels and wind farmscould be the key to ensuring world peace in the future.

Solar, wind and other renewable sources would be key for the US, and its European allies to have energy security, Granholm said during her remarks at the US/EU Energy Ministerial, hosted by the US State Department on Monday, February 8, 2022. 

She added fossil fuel dependence puts the West at greater risk of volatile energy prices.

“High energy prices have been putting strains on households on both sides of the Atlantic,” Granholm remarked. “In Europe, you have seen prices go through the roof. Of course, tensions between Russia and Ukraine pose threats to the energy security of the EU, who are our friends and partners.”

“All of this underscores the benefits of clean energy,” she continued. “I was at a ministerial last week, and my counterpart in Ireland, Minister Ryan, said words I thought were very interesting: 

No country has been held hostage to access to the sun. 
No country has been hostage to the wind. 
This is not just an energy and climate issue; it is also potentially the greatest peace plan that ever existed.”

Last edited 1 year ago by wilpost
John V. Wright
February 12, 2022 1:46 pm

By the way Terry, chainsaws ARE wonder tools. And don’t forget the main rules after finishing a session:
1 – Make sure that you top up with oil before cleaning down and putting away.
2 – count your fingers.
3 – go get a large bourbon.

John Hultquist
Reply to  John V. Wright
February 12, 2022 8:31 pm

Old chains and bars — another of those locally sourced metals.

February 12, 2022 1:56 pm

Its not ignorance, it is out and out fraud.

Last edited 1 year ago by Leo Smith
February 12, 2022 4:23 pm

There are two types of people in the world. Electron people and green electron people-
As gas costs soar, tariffs branded ‘green’ are going up even FASTER! (

February 13, 2022 5:47 am

The “400” are terrified of CCS/CCUS. If we, as an industry, can demonstrate that we can employ it on a large enough scale to effectively produce Scope 3 “carbon-neutral” oil & gas, it would cut the legs out of every argument against oil & gas.

Reply to  David Middleton
February 14, 2022 7:41 am

The “400” are terrified of CCS/CCUS.”

The usual hypocrisy of the borrow and spenders. What you forgot to add is that the 45q CCS/CCUS program you – as a current/former employee of an E&P firm that is so poorly managed that it is rent seeking 45q $ to stay afloat – are pimping, is not for “demonstration” projects and is not paid for, except by more debt/deficit. So, feel free to do CCS/CCUS on your own dime.

If AGW is detrimental enough to ameliorate. then we should be paying for that amelioration by making CCS/CCUS projects compete for carbon tax $ against the many other sources of source reduction. If not, then nada for you.

I would have thought that you had been dope slapped enough by the reaction – even within the hard core WUWT acolytion – from your past efforts to post pro 45q misguidance in your efforts to either stay employed or to regain same…

February 13, 2022 6:50 am

“Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you’re a thousand miles from the corn field.”

— Dwight D. Eisenhower

February 13, 2022 11:20 am

Very well written, good read for the layman or general public. Some of the comments remind me of conversations I’ve had ( tried to have ) with door knockers, Etc. ( no puns please ) in which I ask — Well, what temp are we trying to achieve ( and Why? ) and /or what concentration of Co2? Blank stares or in the case of the green candidate for office —sorry, I have to go now!

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