Plunging Oil Prices Expose The Great Green Lie

GWPF | 18 Jan 2015

The Scientific Consensus Has Been Dead Wrong On Oil

The predictions of the end of oil have been going on for most of the last century. Just over 100 years ago, the U.S. Bureau of Mines estimated total future production at 6 billion barrels, yet we’ve produced more than twenty times that amount. In 1939 the Department of the Interior predicted US oil supplies would last thirteen years. I could go on. The wonder is that smart people like Nobel prize winners Krugman and Obama haven’t learned anything from history and instead keep regurgitating these myths about “running out.” Today we have twice as many reserves as we had in 1950. And we have already produced almost ten times more oil than the government told us we had back then. My mentor Julian Simon and Herman Kahn challenged this conventional wisdom. Today they would be disparaged as “deniers.” Yet on ever score these iconoclasts were right and the green scientific consensus was wrong. –Stephen Moore, Town Hall, 28 December 2015
The concept of ‘peak oil’ was just wishful thinking on the part of the green lobby, which wanted us to be forced to stop burning fossil fuels. While I didn’t quite fall for the myth, the Government did. As a result, we’ve been left with a national energy policy that assumes fossil fuel prices can only rise. Huge subsidies — running at £3.4 billion a year — have been paid to subsidise solar, wind and other renewable energy. With the exception of Britain hardly any countries have legally committed themselves to reducing emissions. When it comes to the crunch, does anyone really think they will do as we have done: force their industries to drop fossil fuels and buy much more expensive green energy, thus losing competitive advantage? –Ross Clark, Daily Mail, 16 Januray 2016

1) Plunging Oil Prices Expose The Great Green Lie
Bloomberg, 18 January 2016

2) The Scientific Consensus Has Been Dead Wrong On Oil
Town Hall, 28 December 2015

3) Humans Innovate Their Way Out of Scarcity
Reason, 12 January 2016

4) Reminder: International Energy Agency’s Peak Oil Scare
Science 21 August 1998

5) U.S. Republicans Increasingly Sceptical Of Climate Alarm
The Wall Street Journal, 16 January 2016

6) Green Suicide: UK Steel Industry Enters ‘Death Spiral’ After Another 1,000 Jobs Are Axed
Daily Mail, 18 January 2016

7) Post-Modern Fascism: At British Universities Freedom Is Dying
The Spectator, 18 January 2016

The Government was today accused of ‘sitting on its hands’ as Britain’s steel industry entered a ‘death spiral’ after another 1,000 jobs were axed. Since August 5,000 steel workers have been made redundant – one in six jobs in the industry – as it struggles to cope with rising energy costs and a glut of cheap Chinese imports. –Martin Robinson, Daily Mail, 18 January 2016

Over the last 55 years, the world’s population has increased by 143 percent. Over the same time period, real average annual per capita income in the world rose by 163 percent. What happened to the price of commodities? Taken together, commodities rose by 43 percent. If energy and precious metals are excluded, they declined by 16 percent. Assuming that an average inhabitant of the world spent exactly the same fraction of her income on the World Bank’s list of commodities in 1960 and in 2015, she would be better off under either scenario, since her income rose by 163 percent over the same time period. This course of events was predicted by the contrarian economist Julian Simon some 35 years ago. In The Ultimate Resource, Simon noted that humans are  intelligent  animals, who innovate their way out of scarcity. –Marian Tupy, Reason, 12 January 2016

Many economists foresee another half-century of cheap oil, but a growing contingent of geologists warns that oil will begin to run out much sooner–perhaps in only 10 years. These pessimists gained a powerful ally this spring when the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reported for the first time that the peak of world oil production is in sight. Sometime between 2010 and 2020 the gush of oil from wells around the world will peak at 80 million barrels per day, then begin a steady, inevitable decline, the report says. –Richard A. Kerr, Science 21 August 1998

Until 2008, many Republicans, including then-presidential nominee John McCain, supported cap-and-trade to address climate change. Once Mr. Obama won the White House, Republicans swiftly unified against nearly all of his initiatives, including a cap-and-trade bill that would have set limits on carbon emissions and allowed companies to trade pollution credits to comply. Responding to what they call big-government overreach by Mr. Obama, many Republicans have moved to the right on several other issues as well, including illegal immigration, health-insurance mandates and the Common Core academic standards. GOP candidates who had generally accepted the scientific consensus on man-made climate change, have said recently that it is unclear how much, if at all, humans are contributing to warmer temperatures. –Amy Harder and Beth Reinhard, The Wall Street Journal, 16 January 2016

Have you met the Stepford students? They’re everywhere. On campuses across the land. Sitting stony-eyed in lecture halls or surreptitiously policing beer-fuelled banter in the uni bar. They look like students, dress like students, smell like students. But their student brains have been replaced by brains bereft of critical faculties and programmed to conform. If your go-to image of a student is someone who’s free-spirited and open-minded, who loves having a pop at orthodoxies, then you urgently need to update your mind’s picture bank. Students are now pretty much the opposite of that. It’s hard to think of any other section of society that has undergone as epic a transformation as students have. From freewheelin’ to ban-happy, from askers of awkward questions to suppressors of offensive speech, in the space of a generation. –Brendan O’Neill, The Spectator, 18 January 2016

1) Plunging Oil Prices Expose The Great Green Lie
Daily Mail, 16 Januray 2016

Ross Clark

[…] The concept of ‘peak oil’ was just wishful thinking on the part of the green lobby, which wanted us to be forced to stop burning fossil fuels. While I didn’t quite fall for the myth, the Government did. As a result, we’ve been left with a national energy policy that assumes fossil fuel prices can only rise.

Huge subsidies — running at £3.4 billion a year — have been paid to subsidise solar, wind and other renewable energy.

All along, we have been told that showering renewable energy firms with public money — paid for through taxes and levies on consumers’ bills — was a wise investment that would save us money in the long run because it would make us less dependent on ever more expensive fossil fuels.

For example, the Coalition’s climate change secretary, Chris Huhne — remember him? — said in 2011: ‘Sticking with yesterday’s fuels could be tomorrow’s headache.

With rising energy prices and finite supplies of fossil fuels, not many want to bet against low carbon.’

I wouldn’t mind betting against it now. Falling oil and gas prices mean that subsidies for green energy would have to rise to keep them competitive.

Last month, world leaders met in Paris to thrash out a deal to reduce carbon emissions. At the end of their marathon ten-day talks they all agreed that they were going to slash emissions.

With the exception of Britain, however, hardly any countries have legally committed themselves to reducing emissions.

When it comes to the crunch, does anyone really think they will do as we have done: force their industries to drop fossil fuels and buy much more expensive green energy, thus losing competitive advantage?

The world certainly isn’t showing any signs of reducing its reliance on oil so far. Global consumption — as well as production — has never been higher than it was in the final quarter of last year.

Ironically, the one large industrial nation that has succeeded in reducing carbon emissions — by 9 per cent over the past decade — is the U.S.

This isn’t down to green energy, however, so much as to fracking.

Cheap gas has consigned to closure much dirtier coal-fired power stations — which emit around twice as much carbon for every kilowatt-hour of electricity.

We, and the rest of the world, could be slashing carbon emissions, too, if we switched from coal to gas rather than trying to rely on expensive and intermittent wind and solar energy.

I doubt whether we have reached ‘peak oil’ or ‘peak gas’ just yet. But hopefully we might just be past the point of peak hubris from the green lobby.

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2) The Scientific Consensus Has Been Dead Wrong On Oil
Town Hall, 28 December 2015

Stephen Moore

The peak oil sceptics were right and the green scientific consensus was wrong.
Oil prices have fallen from $105 a barrel in the summer of 2014 to hovering at [$30 a barrel]. That’s a two-thirds reduction in the price and the biggest factor is shale oil brought to you by fracking. In many areas of the country gas is now less than $2 a gallon and it could fall further in the weeks ahead.

The falling price means, of course, an expanded supply. But now listen to Obama, who has lectured the nation on energy as if he were one of the top experts for the last eight years.

In a 2008 Speech in Lansing, Michigan, presidential candidate Obama was all doom and gloom about oil, advising: “We cannot sustain a future powered by a fuel that is rapidly disappearing.”

Then in 2010 from the Oval Office he solemnly declared: “We’re running out of places to drill,” and he jeered that the oil and gas industry might want to start pumping for oil near the Washington Monument.

During a 2011 Weekly Address he referred to oil and gas as “yesterday’s” energy sources.

Then during a speech at Georgetown University, he pontificated: “The United States of America cannot afford to bet our long-term prosperity, our long-term security on a resource (oil) that will eventually run out.”

By the way this discredited Malthusian belief that we are running out of oil is still widely believed by many scientists and pundits as well. Paul Krugman of the New York Times wrote in 2010 that “the world is fast approaching the inevitable peaking” of global oil production and that “world commodity prices…are telling us that we’re living in a finite world.”

That was when prices were abnormally high. So if high prices tell us we are running out, then obviously low prices must tell us supply is rising.

These predictions of the end of oil have been going on for most of the last century. Just over 100 years ago, the U.S. Bureau of Mines estimated total future production at 6 billion barrels, yet we’ve produced more than twenty times that amount. In 1939 the Department of the Interior predicted US oil supplies would last thirteen years. I could go on.

The wonder is that smart people like Nobel prize winners Krugman and Obama haven’t learned anything from history and instead keep regurgitating these myths about “running out.”

The folks at the Institute for Energy Research recently published a study showing three data points: first, the government’s best estimate of how much oil we had in America 50 years ago.

The second was how much US oil has been drilled out of the ground since then. And the third is how much reserves there are now.

Today we have twice as many reserves as we had in 1950. And we have already produced almost ten times more oil than the government told us we had back then.

Technology and innovation account for the constant upping the amount of “finite” oil we can produce. We discover new sources of oil much faster than we deplete the known amount of reserves and so for all practical purposes, oil and natural gas supplies are nearly inexhaustible. Fracking is the latest game changer and the access it gives us to shale oil and gas resources has virtually doubled over night. And this technology boom in drilling is just getting started.

My point is how absurd it is for Americans to blindly trust any “scientific consensus” on any of these natural resource or environmental issues. The credibility of the alarmists is just shot. In 1980, hundreds of the top scientists in the United States issued a eport called The Global 2000 Report to the President which was a primal scream that in every way life on earth would be worse by 2000 because the world would run out of oil, gas, food, farmland, and so on.

My mentor Julian Simon and Herman Kahn challenged this conventional wisdom. Today they would be disparaged as “deniers.” Yet on ever score these iconoclasts were right and the green scientific consensus was wrong.

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3) Humans Innovate Their Way Out of Scarcity
Reason, 12 January 2016

Marian Tupy

Decline in commodities prices since the 1960s illustrates the enduring wisdom of Julian Simon

Last week, the World Bank updated its commodity database, which tracks the price of commodities going back to 1960. Over the last 55 years, the world’s population has increased by 143 percent. Over the same time period, real average annual per capita income in the world rose by 163 percent. What happened to the price of commodities?

Out of the 15 indexes measured by the World Bank, 10 fell below their 1960 levels. The indexes that experienced absolute decline included the entire non-energy commodity group (-20 percent), agricultural index (-26 percent), beverages (-32 percent), food (-22 percent), oils and minerals (-32 percent), grains or cereals (-32 percent), raw materials (-32 percent), “other” raw materials (-56 percent), metals and minerals (-4 percent) and base metals (-3 percent).

Five indexes rose in price between 1960 and 2015.  However, only two indexes, energy and precious metals, increased more than income, appreciating 451 percent and 402 percent respectively. Three indexes increased less than income. They included “other” food (7 percent), timber (7 percent) and fertilizers (38 percent).

Taken together, commodities rose by 43 percent. If energy and precious metals are excluded, they declined by 16 percent. Assuming that an average inhabitant of the world spent exactly the same fraction of her income on the World Bank’s list of commodities in 1960 and in 2015, she would be better off under either scenario, since her income rose by 163 percent over the same time period.

This course of events was predicted by the contrarian economist Julian Simon some 35 years ago. In The Ultimate Resource, Simon noted that humans are  intelligent  animals, who innovate their way out of scarcity. In some cases, we have become more parsimonious in using natural resources. An aluminum can, for example, weighed about 3 ounces in 1959. Today, it weighs less than half an ounce. In other cases, we have replaced scarce resources with others. Instead of killing whales for lamp oil, for instance, we burn coal, oil and gas.

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4) Reminder: The International Energy Agency’s Peak Oil Scare
Science 21 August 1998

Richard A. Kerr

Many economists foresee another half-century of cheap oil, but a growing contingent of geologists warns that oil will begin to run out much sooner–perhaps in only 10 years

Nature took half a billion years to create the world’s oil, but observers agree that humankind will consume it all in a 2-century binge of profligate energy use. For now, as we continue to enjoy the geologically brief golden age of oil, the conventional outlook for oil supply is bright: In real dollars, gasoline has never been cheaper at the pump in the United States–and by some estimates there are a hefty trillion barrels of readily extractable oil left in known fields. Thanks to new high-tech tricks for finding and extracting oil, at the moment explorationists are adding to oil reserves far faster than oil is being consumed. So, many who monitor oil resources, especially economists, see production meeting rising demand until about 50 years from now–plenty of time for the development of alternatives.

Comforting thinking–but wrong, according to an increasingly vociferous contingent, mainly geologists. They predict that the world will begin to run short of oil in perhaps only 10 years, 20 at the outside. These pessimists gained a powerful ally this spring when the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reported for the first time that the peak of world oil production is in sight. Even taking into account the best efforts of the explorationists and the discovery of new fields in frontier areas like the Caspian Sea, sometime between 2010 and 2020 the gush of oil from wells around the world will peak at 80 million barrels per day, then begin a steady, inevitable decline, the report says.

“From then on,” says consulting geologist L. F. Ivanhoe of Novum Corp. in Ojai, California, “there will be less oil available in the next year than there was in the previous year. We’re not used to that.” Scarce supply, of course, means a higher price, especially because optimists and pessimists alike agree that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which triggered the oil crises of 1973 and 1979, will once again dominate the world oil market even before world oil production peaks. At the peak and shortly thereafter, as more expensive fuel sources such as hard-to-extract oil deposits, the tarry sands of Canada, and synfuels from coal are brought on line, prices could soar. “In the 5 to 10 years during the switch, there could be some very considerable price fluctuations,” says an IEA official. “Then we will plateau out at a higher but not enormous price level.” In other words, gas lines like those of the Arab oil embargo 25 years ago could return temporarily, followed by permanently expensive oil.

Full story

5) U.S. Republicans Increasingly Sceptical Of Climate Alarm
The Wall Street Journal, 16 January 2016

Amy Harder and Beth Reinhard

GOP presidential candidates who had generally accepted the scientific consensus on climate change have said recently that it is unclear how much, if at all, humans are contributing to warmer temperatures.

Shortly after a conservative website on Wednesday posted 2008 footage of Sen. Marco Rubio backing a cap-and-trade program to combat climate change, his campaign roared back with a counterattack that included an entire web page aimed at debunking the video.

Mr. Rubio’s muscular response revealed how toxic the issue of climate change has become in the Republican Party under President Barack Obama, who has sought to make reducing carbon emissions to alleviate global warming one of his signature accomplishments.

As speaker of the Florida House, Mr. Rubio did vote for a 2008 bill authorizing the state to come up with rules for a cap-and-trade plan, though he raised questions about its cost and effectiveness. A press release from the House Majority Office at the time described the bill as a “responsible response to concerns about global climate change.”

But since running for U.S. Senate in 2010 as the conservative alternative to then-Gov. Charlie Crist, Mr. Rubio has questioned whether climate change is man-made, and opposed potential remedies like cap-and-trade that he says would hurt the economy.

Shifts by Mr. Rubio and some of his rivals on the issue recall an inconvenient past that many in the GOP would like to forget: Republicans, not Democrats, first championed market-based systems to control pollution, as a way to avoid more direct regulation.

Until 2008, many Republicans, including then-presidential nominee John McCain, supported cap-and-trade to address climate change. Once Mr. Obama won the White House, Republicans swiftly unified against nearly all of his initiatives, including a cap-and-trade bill that would have set limits on carbon emissions and allowed companies to trade pollution credits to comply.

Responding to what they call big-government overreach by Mr. Obama, many Republicans have moved to the right on several other issues as well, including illegal immigration, health-insurance mandates and the Common Core academic standards.

GOP candidates who had generally accepted the scientific consensus on man-made climate change, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, have said recently that it is unclear how much, if at all, humans are contributing to warmer temperatures.

“The climate is changing—it always has, that’s not any news flash—and the outcomes of that are still not determined,” Mr. Bush said in response to a question at a New Hampshire town hall in December. “To create policies for today that will have some impact for 50 years from now is almost destined to be wrong.”

Full story

6) Green Suicide: UK Steel Industry Enters ‘Death Spiral’ After Another 1,000 Jobs Are Axed
Daily Mail, 18 January 2016

Martin Robinson

The Government was today accused of ‘sitting on its hands’ as Britain’s steel industry entered a ‘death spiral’ after another 1,000 jobs were axed. Since August 5,000 steel workers have been made redundant – one in six jobs in the industry – as it struggles to cope with rising energy costs and a glut of cheap Chinese imports.

Freefall: Tata has axed 1,000 jobs at its steel plant in Port Talbot, pictured today, and four more sites  as part of 5,000 job cuts since the summer
Freefall: Tata has axed 1,000 jobs at its steel plant in Port Talbot, pictured today, and four more sites  as part of 5,000 job cuts since the summer

Four months ago Tata announced it was cutting 3,400 jobs in England and Scotland – including 2,200 at Redcar, 900 in Scunthorpe and 270 more at two Scottish plants.

Downing Street said today the Government was doing it all can to help the steel industry and is considering backing a £400m rescue of Tata’s plant in Scunthorpe.
But Labour claim ‘laissez-faire’ ministers have taken no decisive action.

Shadow business secretary Angela Eagle said: ‘Labour has long called for David Cameron’s Government to take immediate action to help the steel industry, but they’ve sat on their hands while the industry has descended further into crisis.
‘Vital reform of EU trade defence instruments, for example, has been blocked by a number of countries, principally led by this Tory Government.

‘Only by taking immediate and decisive action, not least by fully engaging at an EU level, can the Government make sure our steel industry survives so that it can benefit from planned infrastructure spending. If this doesn’t happen urgently, the Tories’ laissez-faire attitude to our steel industry could lead the downturn into a death spiral’.

The steel industry has been dealt another huge blow after Tata confirmed that more than 1,000 jobs are to be axed.

Most of the jobs will go at the huge plant in Port Talbot, south Wales, where 750 posts will be cut.

But other factories will also be hit, with 200 in support functions and 100 at steel mills, affecting Llanwern, Trostre, Corby and Hartlepool.

Full story

See also: UK Steel Crisis – GWPF Call on Government to Scrap Carbon Floor Price

7) Post-Modern Fascism: At British Universities Freedom Is Dying
The Spectator, 18 January 2016

Brendan O’Neill

Student unions’ ‘no platform’ policy is expanding to cover pretty much anyone whose views don’t fit prevailing groupthink

Have you met the Stepford students? They’re everywhere. On campuses across the land. Sitting stony-eyed in lecture halls or surreptitiously policing beer-fuelled banter in the uni bar. They look like students, dress like students, smell like students. But their student brains have been replaced by brains bereft of critical faculties and programmed to conform. To the untrained eye, they seem like your average book-devouring, ideas-discussing, H&M-adorned youth, but anyone who’s spent more than five minutes in their company will know that these students are far more interested in shutting debate down than opening it up.

I was attacked by a swarm of Stepford students this week. On Tuesday, I was supposed to take part in a debate about abortion at Christ Church, Oxford. I was invited by the Oxford Students for Life to put the pro-choice argument against the journalist Timothy Stanley, who is pro-life. But apparently it is forbidden for men to talk about abortion. A mob of furious feministic Oxford students, all robotically uttering the same stuff about feeling offended, set up a Facebook page littered with expletives and demands for the debate to be called off. They said it was outrageous that two human beings ‘who do not have uteruses’ should get to hold forth on abortion — identity politics at its most basely biological — and claimed the debate would threaten the ‘mental safety’ of Oxford students. Three hundred promised to turn up to the debate with ‘instruments’ — heaven knows what — that would allow them to disrupt proceedings.

Incredibly, Christ Church capitulated, the college’s censors living up to the modern meaning of their name by announcing that they would refuse to host the debate on the basis that it now raised ‘security and welfare issues’. So at one of the highest seats of learning on Earth, the democratic principle of free and open debate, of allowing differing opinions to slog it out in full view of discerning citizens, has been violated, and students have been rebranded as fragile creatures, overgrown children who need to be guarded against any idea that might prick their souls or challenge their prejudices. One of the censorious students actually boasted about her role in shutting down the debate, wearing her intolerance like a badge of honour in an Independent article in which she argued that, ‘The idea that in a free society absolutely everything should be open to debate has a detrimental effect on marginalised groups.’

This isn’t the first time I’ve encountered the Stepford students. Last month, at Britain’s other famously prestigious university, Cambridge, I was circled by Stepfords after taking part in a debate on faith schools. It wasn’t my defence of parents’ rights to send their children to religious schools they wanted to harangue me for — much as they loathed that liberal position — it was my suggestion, made in this magazine and elsewhere, that ‘lad culture’ doesn’t turn men into rapists. Their mechanical minds seemed incapable of computing that someone would say such a thing. […]

If your go-to image of a student is someone who’s free-spirited and open-minded, who loves having a pop at orthodoxies, then you urgently need to update your mind’s picture bank. Students are now pretty much the opposite of that. It’s hard to think of any other section of society that has undergone as epic a transformation as students have. From freewheelin’ to ban-happy, from askers of awkward questions to suppressors of offensive speech, in the space of a generation. My showdown with the debate-banning Stepfords at Oxford and the pre-crime promoters at Cambridge echoed other recent run-ins I’ve had with the intolerant students of the 21st century.

I’ve been jeered at by students at the University of Cork for criticising gay marriage; cornered and branded a ‘denier’ by students at University College London for suggesting industrial development in Africa should take precedence over combating climate change; lambasted by students at Cambridge (again) for saying it’s bad to boycott Israeli goods. In each case, it wasn’t the fact the students disagreed with me that I found alarming — disagreement is great! — it was that they were so plainly shocked that I could have uttered such things, that I had failed to conform to what they assume to be right, that I had sought to contaminate their campuses and their fragile grey matter with offensive ideas.

Where once students might have allowed their eyes and ears to be bombarded by everything from risqué political propaganda to raunchy rock, now they insulate themselves from anything that might dent their self-esteem and, crime of crimes, make them feel ‘uncomfortable’. Student groups insist that online articles should have ‘trigger warnings’ in case their subject matter might cause offence. […]

One day, these Stepford students, with their lust to ban, their war on offensive lingo, and their terrifying talk of pre-crime, will be running the country. And then it won’t only be those of us who occasionally have cause to visit a campus who have to suffer their dead dogmas.

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See also: Half of UK universities are curbing free speech

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