Komorowski’s Korner – Climate Change – Politics and Economics – March 20, 2012

Komorowski’s Korner – Climate Change – Politics and Economics – March 20, 2012

CFN – Climate change is a major topic for discussion, and with the recent revelations of the Heartland Institute’s conspiracy to fake the science involved (Fakegate, or Denialgate), for their own economic benefit and that of their clients, people are naturally confused about the whole issue.

Very briefly, climate change (or global warming) is caused by increasing amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) being emitted into the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels. Carbon dioxide is not the only greenhouse gas (GHG), other important ones are methane, or natural gas (CH4), water vapour, ozone (O3), various nitrous oxides, and CFCs (chlorinated fluorocarbons) – however, CO2 is the major and controlling factor.

Unless the world starts to control, and eventually eliminate, carbon dioxide production from fossil fuels (i.e. stop burning coal, oil and natural gas), the atmospheric CO2 content will continue to increase, further warming the earth’s climate. If this is not done, then we risk a global climate and ecological catastrophe, which will make life virtually unbearable for future generations.

Climate Change Mitigation

By eliminating fossil fuel consumption in time, the world can avoid disastrous climate change. The problem facing society, governments and industry, however, is that it will cost money (a lot of money) to do so. Estimates of the cost vary – the Stern Report, commissioned by the UK government, at first estimated the cost would be 1% of the Gross World Product (GWP), or, in other words, 1% of the GDPs of all the world’s countries. Later, this estimate was raised to 2%, primarily because world governments are lagging behind, so it is becoming more costly to fix the problem.

According to Statistics Canada, the Canadian GDP is about $1.3 trillion dollars (in 2002 dollars). The Fraser Institute, a right wing libertarian “think tank”, estimates that for Canada, the cost will be about $60bn, which is about 3%. Due to the political biases of the Fraser Institute, this figure might be inflated – on the other hand, given that virtually any cost estimate is always on the low side, they might very well be right. The Heartland Institute estimates a figure of 1.7% of GWP, assuming a GWP of $65tn, and therefore a spending of $1.1tn per year.

Funding Climate Change Denial is Cheaper than Taking Responsible Action

The greenhouse properties of CO2 have been known since 1896. There is absolutely no valid scientific argument that can deny this fact without changing all the laws of chemistry and physics. “Scientists” who try to convince people otherwise are paid to do so. Take for example Fred Singer, who receives a $5000 monthly retainer from the Heartland Institute to promote fake science.

Fixing climate change is going to be expensive, no matter whose figures are correct, and quite understandably, no one wants to spend this kind of money. If there is a shift from burning fossil fuels to renewable energy (e.g. hydro, solar, wind, tidal, geothermal) which produce negligible CO2, or nuclear (which is not, strictly speaking, renewable, but does have a negligible carbon footprint compared to any fossil fuel), then the big losers are going to be the fossil fuel industries. They need to worry on three fronts – being made to pay for their share of the problem caused by the greenhouse gasses their products emit, a declining market share as people and industry shift to renewables, and a declining availability of their natural resource (e.g. Peak Oil).

This is a critical problem for the fossil fuel industry, and other industries which depend directly on fossil fuels, such as automobile manufacturing, fertilisers and petro-chemicals, and utility providers. They are faced with two options – they can adapt, and start developing alternative energy solutions, or they can fight the very idea of climate change and global warming, hoping the problem will go away.

Unfortunately, it is cheaper and easier to spend millions of dollars to fund a climate science denial industry than to spend potentially billions of dollars to adapt their business practices towards the new global reality.

Record Breaking Year for Big Oil

To put this into context, the Big Five oil companies (BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil and Shell) made a record $137bn profit during 2011, up 75% from 2010, as shown in Figure 1.

Note: the percentage profit increase is higher than it should really be, because BP actually suffered a $4bn loss in 2010, due to the Gulf Oil Spill.

Profits are OK. There’s nothing wrong with a company making a profit, because without profits they would be out of business. If all the oil and other energy companies suddenly went out of business and could no longer deliver their product or service, the results for humanity would be catastrophic. If the oil companies would actually invest a significant portion of their profit in researching and developing renewable, carbon free energy sources, then these profits would be reasonable. However, it costs far less to fund the climate science denial industry.

More Profits for Less Work

Another striking feature of the 2011 vs. 2010 figures for the Big Five is an almost across the board decline in actual oil production, as shown in Figure 2. Much of the increase in profit is due to the continually rising world price for oil, but given the decline in actual production, the profit margin per barrel has increased substantially, as shown in Figure 3. One of the reasons that the profits are increasing is that, despite propaganda that would have one believe otherwise, the actual number of jobs in the US Oil and Gas sector has declined. According to the (US) House Natural Resources Committee, dated September 2011: “Despite generating $546 billion in profits between 2005 and 2010, ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell, and BP combined to reduce their U.S. workforce by 11,200 employees over that time. Just in 2010 alone, the big 5 oil companies reduced their global workforce by a combined 4,400 employees, while making a combined $73 billion in profits.”

Oil Companies Produce Oil and Doubt

Doubt is our product since it is the best means of competing with the ‘body of fact’ that exists in the mind of the general public.”

There is no way that even the fossil fuel industry can change the fact that increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide is causing global warming and climate change. It just can’t be done without changing all the laws of chemistry and physics. Instead, in order to continue their business model, rather than invest anything substantial in renewable technologies, taking a lesson from the tobacco industry, they invest in sowing doubt in climate science itself.

Some of the climate science denial industry’s self-proclaimed “experts” include so-called scientists who learned their trade denying the health effects of cigarettes. These include Fred Singer, who gets a $5000/month retainer from Heartland, and Frederick Seitz. Seitz is unique – according to Singer, Seitz was still active chairman of one of the denial industry’s key mouthpieces, the Science and Environmental  Policy Project (SEPP), for over two years after his death in 2008. Perhaps he rose from the dead for a while, but as there is no record of him ever walking on water, perhaps one should be skeptical, not only about him and Singer, but about the whole climate science denial industry in general.

Protecting the Profits

With their current business model and profits, it should come as no surprise that the oil industry spend huge amounts lobbying in Congress and the Senate, contributing to (mostly) Republican election campaigns, pretending there is no such thing as global warming, and therefore no need to change their business practices.

  • Political campaign contributions to (mostly) Republicans: $1.6m
  • Lobbying the US Federal Government: $67.5m
  • Preventing effect action on climate change and global warming: Priceless

 

KAV Productions

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39 Comments on "Komorowski’s Korner – Climate Change – Politics and Economics – March 20, 2012"

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Eric
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Can you point me in the right direction as you mentioned not being able to change the laws of physics and chemistry? We know plants & trees need carbon to grow and people even exhale some. As carbon dioxide increases, is another element in the air we breathe reduced, altered or flows to a different level of the atmosphere? Oxygen percentage changes?

Meme MIne
Guest

Climate change was our Iraq War and the Bush families laughed watching us act like neocons when we condemned our own children to the greenhouse gas ovens just to make sure they stayed environmentally aware.
As liberals we need to return to spreading love for the planet, not fear.
The CO2 exaggeration and fear mongering from us could keep us out of power for a decade or more.

Hot air
Guest

Mount Etna erupted last month wiping out all Italy’s “credits” of CO2. The UN would now order Italians to buy “credits” from Saudi Arabia…lol

hailey Brown
Member
Rick The oil companies have always publically displayed their research regarding environmental practices. You have made that clear here in your letter Why is Big Oil science not refuted by the environmentalists? Can you or any environmental agency please provide the empirical evidence that refutes what industry claims? Can these environmental fear Mongers do as I asked in our previous discussion “In science reported results must be of such a nature that they can be independently replicated. Not until they are repeated under similar conditions by different and skeptical investigators will they be finally accepted into the ranks of scientific… Read more »
Pete Dick
Guest

I think we can assume for whom Hailey Brown is working.

hailey Brown
Member

Pete.
I think we can assume you have no answer therefore you create suspicion of my credibility, confuse the issue. You must be a lawyer

….However I can assure you I do not work in petro-chemical

Pete Dick
Guest

No Hailey, I was thinking either the PMO or the Reformatories.
What do Conbots get paid per post these days?

The Watcher
Member
@ Hailey Brown You say you are an engineer. Really? Please forgive me if I have my doubts. Real engineers understand that they are bound by the laws of physics, chemistry (where applicable), mathematics, dynamics and statics, soil mechanics, etc. They know that if they try to ignore these laws, or change them to suit their own particular ideology, their product won’t work. It’s quite simple, certainly not rocket science. Carbon Dioxide causes atmospheric warming. It holds in some of the sun’s heat, which would otherwise bounce right back into space. Period. No ifs, ands or buts. It’s been proved… Read more »
The Watcher
Member

@Pete Dick
Quote: What do Conbots get paid per post these days?

Good one, Pete. It must be quite good, because I don’t think some of these folks should depend on their day jobs. Meme Mine, (see above) has been professional comment fodder for some years now.

The Watcher
Member
My comment @ Hailey Brown just got peer-reviewed. It turns out that that the Iron Ring’s connection to Quebec City is something of an urban myth. From Wikipedia: Iron Rings are given to graduating engineers who choose to obligate themselves to the highest professionalism and humility of their profession. It is a symbol that reflects the moral, ethical and professional commitment made by the engineer who wears the ring. In other words, an engineer is obligated to follow the accepted practices of the profession, and of the underlying science itself. If scientists have demonstrated the particular properties of a substance,… Read more »
hailey Brown
Member

Is your system down or is there a limit to post sizes?

hailey Brown
Member

says there is a duplicate comment but does not show as waiting moderation

hailey Brown
Member
I will try submitting in two different posts Rick I found out what your problem is. You accept the information as you see fit. My ring, which I do not wear, is an ethical commitment to safety and best practices in my career. It is not an excuse to blindly follow the opinions and beliefs of others. It is what gives me the right and obligation, by profession, to question the best practices of those I work with in my discipline. The ring also is to remind us what happens when we do not follow these practices, see The Quebec… Read more »
hailey Brown
Member
In 1963 Mitchell showed how global cooling has been occurring since the 1940’s. In the 1940’s began the decline of the industrial revolution thus eliminating huge amounts of uncontrolled emissions. In 1974 Time Magazine presented an article “Another Ice Age” where it was stated that the atmosphere has been growing cooler for the past three decades. “In Africa, drought continues for the sixth consecutive year, adding terribly to the toll of famine victims. During 1972 record rains in parts of the U.S., Pakistan and Japan caused some of the worst flooding in centuries. In Canada’s wheat belt, a particularly chilly… Read more »
hailey Brown
Member
In 1975 Newsweek wrote a similar article called “The cooling Planet”, in both article the opposite of what is being said now about global warming was stated about the next Ice Age. Even WMO made the same claims, claiming the temperature drops in the 40’s were significant enough to prepare for an Ice Age. The entertaining component about this, it is the exact same environmentalists. Take for instance Tim Flannery who claims the earth’s oceans will raise drowning beach front property, yet he owns two homes worth well over a million dollars on the Hawkesbury, Deerubbun in Australia. Both homes… Read more »
Tammy A. Hart
Member

Way to go Hailey Brown.
Attack the message NOT the messenger.
In the mean time keep on posting.
Love the read, very interesting.

The Watcher
Member
@ Hailey Brown Here is a FACT: CO2, emitted by burning fossil fuels, is causing global warming. Period. Full Stop. Please explain why you don’t believe this FACT. Please give us one or two links to a relevant article from a relevant government or educational institution that proves that CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels does not cause global warming. And just to be fair, here are some links that indicate that CO2 does cause global warming, and acknowledging some of the potential effects of climate change. These links links, two scientific and one from the engineering world, represent… Read more »
hailey Brown
Member

Thank You Rick!!
I will peruse them over the weekend.

I do hope they show more then CO2 contributes to global warming, This is something we already know, I do look forward to the proof that the largest contributor is Mankind.

Maybe you can help me a little here, I have been trying to post the link from The Cooling World article written Newsweek, April 28, 1975. However it seems I *l* have no clue how to do that.

Any assistance would be appreciated.
Thank You again

hailey Brown
Member
Impugning would be me calling you a liar, when have I ever done that?? I merely stated that climate change as presented is inaccurate. Yes the planet warms, but the evidence too is inaccurate. I believe I mentioned before that both sides are at fault here, however if we follow the fear mongers we WILL be taken down another path which will only suit industry and politicians and the environment will be no better off. Take a look at the history, every time the economy slips somebody comes up with a new idea for economic change. Is this what climate… Read more »
PJ Robertson
Member

To climate-change skeptics: Where’s your proof that human activity is NOT causing climate change?

hailey Brown
Member

Devil’s Advocate, what do they need to prove? They have made no claims.

PJ Robertson
Member

Climate-change deniers make no claims? Denying that human activity is responsible is not a claim? That’s a good one.

Shaky logic and a transparent cop out. How convincing is the claim that human activity is not responsible, if you can’t prove that it’s not responsible?

Aj
Guest
Actually, we don’t deny that the climate is changing. We deny the man is causing the change. Since the climate of the earth has always been changing, it is up to the proponents of this hysteria to prove that man is the cause of what we see happening. So far, all that has been presented are computer models that continue to be wrong in their predictions, just like the models used to predict the weather. They can’t predict the weather more then a day out and even then they are often wrong. Then when there is evidence that those who… Read more »
john rothwell
Guest
in this everchanging world where we are expected to believe all that is spoken without question. there are few who will. weather is a constant. when the wind blows from the east expect a cool storm, when the wind blows from the west expect a warm storm. be your own weather predictor. i predict a long hot summer depending on how much sun we get, possibly humid depending on how many days it rains. watch the moon and sun as we revolve around eachother. these are the tools we need to tell us what will happen in the following times.… Read more »
john rothwell
Guest
when you think about it. what ever happened to the news story about the oil leak in the oceon? did we clean it up??? why were so many dead whales washed up on the beach??? how did so many dolfins beach themselves with horrendous burns on then??? what caused the birds to fall out of the sky??? what would cause a sunami that wiped out half an island??? what is causeing normally inactive volcanoes to erupt??? why are we experiencing so many tornadoes??? why is there so much cultural unrest??? how did an island of plastic form in the oceon… Read more »
hailey Brown
Member

Thanx AJ,

Devil’s advocates defence is not a claim.

PJ Robertson
Member

Aj: “We deny the man (sic) is causing the change.”

Where is the proof that supports your denial? It’s not enough to say the climate of the earth has always been changing, when the changes we are witnessing are so striking and evident and occurring in an era of accelerated global industrialization. Nor is it helpful to describe bona fide climatologists as “proponents of hysteria”.

hailey Brown
Member
Devil’s advocate, Really I think a little logic goes a long way in a discussion. Something you lack this time around. However I will entertain your question Carlton University’s Paleoclimatologist Tim Paterson told the House of Commons committee in 2005 There is no meaningful correlation between carbon dioxide levels and the earth’s temperature.. Point in fact, approximately 450 million years ago while the planet was in the grips of the coldest temperatures over the past 12 million years, carbon levels were ten times higher than they are now. Evidence is available but I think you should look for it. Take… Read more »
The Watcher
Member

@Devil’s Advocate
Before you go doing too much research into Tim Patterson, go here first:

http://www.desmogblog.com/r-timothy-patterson

You will see he is just a climate science denial industry paid spokesman, and a Heartland “expert.”

PJ Robertson
Member

@ Richard Komorowski
Thanks for the edifying link.

@Hailey Brown
It’s Carleton University and David Suzuki. What was that about educating yourself?

hailey Brown
Member

Rick
I thought we understood that a blog does not make a good resource…You are ruining your credibility

hailey Brown
Member
Rick Who funds all the enviromental groups you claim to have the correct answers? They must have some fair revenue to be able to lobby so efficiently If all you can provide is scepticism about who they may be working for, well that goes a long way in explaining a case of paranoia. What kind of transportation do all these groups use? How efficient is thier homes see Tim Flannery . Have you ever noticed all the materials David Suzuki proposes we use to make our homes energy efficient? They are based on the Petrochemical industry! I mean really people… Read more »
hailey Brown
Member

Sorry,

Is that a concern? I appologise if what I say is understoood to be inaccurate, but I do beleive what Iam saying is clearly visible when you read the posts.

Rick I have not read all the info you provided yet, You may be happy to hear that I am currently arguing industry standards and the need to incoporate them as they are written, not as someone understands them to mean.

I am so frustrated the thought of returning to petro chemical is quite prevalent.

The Watcher
Member
@ Admin “Hailey you’re sounding an awful lot like Smee….” Interesting. I also had someone asking me if this Hailey Brown wasn’t really Smee (or maybe his mommy). In fact, I have been starting to wonder the same for several reasons. 1. Smee knows everything (remember when the Americans entered World War II on Sept 11, 1944) and gets quite upset whenever someone points out the facts. 2. Smee is generally illiterate, and has trouble putting his thoughts together in a coherent form. As for his spelling and punctuation… 3. Smee has never been known to let the facts get… Read more »
David Oldham
Guest
If the entire current population of our planet were each allocated 4 square feet we would collectively occupy most of Rhode Island ( only 200 square miles to spare ) to make this more Canadian friendly we would occupy half of P.E.I. Our actual presence on the earth is not that significant in the grand scheme of things but our use or misuse of technologies can be. While a case can be made for an imbalance in the chemical makeup of our atmosphere the true question is really this simple… Can the extent of change due to the burning of… Read more »
David Oldham
Guest
Hailey Brown the direction (warming or cooling) or more correctly the cycle that we are in is primarily determined by the source of the funding for the “professional opinions”. Since agendas and corruption enter into the equation for obvious reasons (money/power) it would serve one best to read from those scientists that do not have a vested interest which compromises their results (tarnishes the scientific model). Keep an open mind, remembering even if there is some non junk science that would support a massive contribution opposing a naturally occurring cycle when it comes to fossil fuels we are talking of… Read more »
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