(10-30-2009 10:15 AM)Richard S Courtney Wrote: Slide 5: Fossil fuel statement
I repeat that AGW does not pose a global crisis but the policy of attempted global climate control does. And not merely because it is a tool to give children nightmares. The policy threatens constraint of the use of fossil fuels and that constraint would kill millions probably billions of people.
The use of fossil fuels has done more to benefit human kind than anything else since the invention of agriculture.
Most of us would not be here if it were not for the use of fossil fuels because all human activity is enabled by energy supply and limited by material science.
Energy supply enables the growing of crops, the making of tools and their use to mine for minerals, and to build, and to provide goods, and to provide services.
Material Science limits what can be done with the energy. A steel plough share is better than a wooden one. Ability to etch silica permits the making of acceptably reliable computers. And so on.
People die without energy and the ability to use it. They die because they lack food, or housing, or clothing to protect from the elements, or heating to survive cold, or cooling to survive heat, or medical provisions, or transport to move goods and services from where they are produced to where they are needed.
And people who lack energy are poor so they die from pollution, too.
For example, traffic pollution has been dramatically reduced by adoption of fossil fuels. On average each day in 1855 more than 50 tons of horse excrement was removed from only one street, Oxford Street in London. The mess, smell, insects and disease were awful everywhere. By 1900 every ceiling of every room in Britain had sticky paper hanging from it to catch the flies. Old buildings still have scrapers by their doors to remove some of the pollution from shoes before entering
Affluence reduces pollution. Rich people can afford sewers, toilets, clean drinking water and clean air. Poor people have more important things they must spend all they have to get. So, people with wealth can afford to reduce pollution but others cannot. Pollution in North America and Europe was greater in 1900 than in 2000 despite much larger populations in 2000. And the pollution now experienced every day by billions who do not have the wealth of Americans and Europeans includes cooking in a mud hut using wood and dung as fuel when they cannot afford a chimney.
The use of fossil fuels has provided that affluence for the developed world. The developing world needs the affluence provided by the development which is only possible at present by using fossil fuels.
We gained our wealth and our population by means of that use.
Slide 6: population growth graph
The energy supply increased immensely when the greater energy intensity in fossil fuels became available by use of the steam engine. Animal power, wind power and solar power were abandoned because the laws of physics do not allow them to provide as much energy as can be easily obtained from using fossil fuels.
The greater energy supply enabled more people to live and the human population exploded. Our population has now reached about 6.6 billion and it is still rising. All estimates are that the human population will peak at about 9 billion people near the middle of this century.
That additional more than 2 billion people in the next few decades needs additional energy supply to survive. The only methods to provide that additional energy supply at present are nuclear power and fossil fuels. And the use of nuclear power is limited because some activities are difficult to achieve by getting energy from the end of a wire.
If anybody here doubts this then I tell them to ask a farmer what his production would be if he had to replace his tractor with a horse or a Sinclair C5.
So, holding the use of fossil fuels at its present level would kill at least 2 billion people, mostly children. And reducing the use of fossil fuels would kill more millions, possibly billions.
That is not an opinion. It is not a prediction. It is not a projection. It is a certain and undeniable fact. Holding the use of fossil fuels at their present levels would kill billions of people, mostly children. Reducing the use of fossil fuels would kill more millions or billions.
Improving energy efficiency will not solve that because it has been known since the nineteenth century that improved energy efficiency increases energy use: as many subsequent studies have confirmed.
So, in a period of a few decades we have moved from the tried and tested climate policy that has stood the test of time since the Bronze Age, and we have replaced it with quasi-religious political madness which if not stopped will pale into insignificance the combined activities of Ghengis Khan, Adolf Hitler and Pol Pot.
I've had thoughts along those lines but never in that exact way before. This is an important point that should be stressed more.
My one point of contention would be the same discounting of human ingenuity that AGW supporters are known for. I suppose any "doom" prediction depends on assuming that we would not respond to a challenge in a positive way. I do understand the need to put a real dramatic scenario out there....but it bothers me on some level since I've been critical of AGW supporters for doing just this. (In other words, politics makes me ill)
I've always assumed that we will leave fossil fuels behind just like we've done everything else. But not in a "forced to change" way. We didn't stop using wood to heat our homes because we ran out of wood for instance. I would not be at all surprised if we were not using oil to run our cars by mid-century....with or without the AGW scare. (the internal combustion engine is 150+ years old...that's a long time for us to stick with a type of technology at this point in our history)
Having said all that, the point you made is valid. We should be looking to increase
our energy production...not decrease it. That's almost suicidal. The potential of solar energy is exciting and may just be our future...but it's still "potential" at this point.
Quote:The Kyoto Protocol is a very expensive. It has been estimated that every man, woman and child on Earth could be supplied with clean drinking water and mains sewers for less than a tenth of the cost of the Kyoto Protocol if it were implemented.
This is a point I've tried to make before. I would be curious to know how and by whom that estimate is made. (Bjorn Lomborg perhaps?)