One thing I would love to hear from climate catastrophists is what is the proper CO2 level they would like to see. Surely not the 250 to 280 prior to industrialization. Just because that was the average over the last 800,000 years does not make it the best place to be. 700,000 years of that time much of the northern hemisphere was under ice. 250 would put us square into territory of the Little Ice Age with 30% shorter growing season along with famine and wars for resources on the way to 100,000 years of continental glaciation. Man evolved during our current ice age but they did not evolve in northern latitudes equatorial regions are not really affected much in either cold or hot periods. The current interglacial is what allowed man to migrate north and allowed man to create a civilization. When the ice comes civilization is in danger. From reconstruction of temperatures in ice cores (Vinthor 2009) the earth has been in a 10000 year cooling trend toward the little ice age. My interpretation is that man caused global warming, starting toward the end of the 18th century reversed the cooling trend that had accelerated over the previous 1200 years moving rapidly into the next glacial cycle. It looks like man may have inadvertently geoengineered the climate to either delay or stop the next advance of ice. That would be a good thing because cold is bad warm is good. This is the biggest positive attribute of warming.

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I 100% Agree with Alex ... but not many are listening..

I think we are dealing with religion..... so they (most people) will probably not want to be "confused with the facts" or be thought of as a heathen!!

Also, some are thinking… well…lets hedge our bets and follow along with the religion anyway, as this is perceived as a safe approach to go to Net-Zero in case it IS an emergency, rather than do nothing and regret it…

But if we convince them that it will 100% adversely effect the life force called “ prosperity” and worse it will destroy it.. then they will listen much more….

We are on the cusp of being able to declare this as people witness the vast and wasteful expenditures being thrown at the Net Zero goal.. And how it is now a huge distraction to the west getting back its industries and restoring or reversing ailing prosperity.

This is my main focus…

more at www.nigelsouthwayauthor.com

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Funny that there are not dates on the IPCC Synthesis Report (linked here)

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May 4, 2023·edited May 4, 2023

Your example about agriculture makes no sense.

Industrial agriculture is basically a system for turning oil into food products. It consumes approx. 14 calories of hydrocarbons to produce a single calorie of food. If you think that a food system that runs at a staggering caloric net loss of 14:1 is "successful," you need to check your math. This is yet another example of Mr. Epstein's inability to see beyond the next few years. Devoid of context, his ethos is little more than "live fast, die young."

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So is your solution then to reduce the number of humans on the planet? How would you propose to do that and who makes the decision on who is eliminated. I think it is a pretty good trade off to grow food so fewer people starve. Dung won’t do it.

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May 5, 2023·edited May 5, 2023

Oh no, I strongly support the use of fossil-derived fertilizers. As I explained in my other reply, however, Peak Oil is not a "myth." Those who think it's a myth misunderstand it. The oil won't run out, but fossil resources WILL get more expensive as the "low-hanging fruit" is depleted and new prospects are less accessible, less abundant, and harder to exploit.

With that in mind, we can't be frivolous with this incredible resource. We need to ensure there is enough AFFORDABLE oil to turn into fertilizer for decades to come. Otherwise, that 14:1 ratio gets really freaking expensive and people starve. But we're not being smart about it. You have New England getting as much as 40% of their heat energy from BURNING CRUDE OIL last winter because they refused to build Nat Gas pipelines from Marcellus.

Similarly, we shouldn't be using this precious resource to power 2.5-ton pickups for soccer moms, or to import endless streams of worthless plastic consumer products. We need it for things that only crude oil can do, like shipping machinery and making fertilizer. We need coal for things only coal can do, like coking steel.

My issue with Mr. Epstein is not his endorsement of fossil fuels. It's his endorsement of fossil fuels to perpetuate a prodigal status quo, with little regard for the costs and urgency of building an energy future.

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Both of your "climate mastery" examples make no sense.

A/C to fight heat and irrigation to fight drought only work if you can continue to supply abundant, affordable fossil fuels, which directly contradicts the reality of Peak Oil. As climate effects worsen, it will require more energy, increasing demand and therefore prices. As Peak Oil manifests, supply will be constrained, and prices will increase. Thus, you're trying to thread the "abundant, affordable energy" needle with two strong price pressures, and somehow trying to power economic growth and rising standards of living with the surplus.

Peak Oil is real and indisputable. Even the most generous estimates give us fossil fuels until 2100, but that doesn't mean fossils are cheap and accessible right up to the date of expiry. It means that this energy source gets scarcer and more expensive every year as wells become less viable. The Gulf of Mexico is set to wind down by 2025, and the Permian Basin is set to wind down by 2030. Other wells exist, but they're more expensive to exploit. That's Peak Oil.

This entire piece is based on fantasy.

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Great piece. I read the IPCC report, the whole thing, and quite a number of the source papers. I can’t imagine that the scientists that did the original work for IPCC would participate for the next assessment because the summary is a fraud and doesn’t reflect the work of the scientists. Regarding Blox. Your argument makes no sense. Peak oil is a myth at this point that has been incorrect since the 1920’s when it first came up. 1) it disregards paradigm shifts in technology and misunderstands recoverable reserves. I was a pioneer in horizontal drilling in the 1980’s, drilled the first exploratory horizontal well in the US. At that time peak oil was all the rage. We put and end to that scenario and panic within a few years after developing g the technology. George Mitchel cracked the code for fracking horizontal wells in 2004, by 2006 it was obvious that the shale revolution would again change the paradigm. 100s of thousands of wells later The US dominates production and of course they are pushing back peak oil to 2100. 2) Do you realize that when a well is fracked the first time it only accesses 30% to 60% of the producible rock in the reservoir? Of that fractured rock, we are only producing 10% of the oil in place? Through refracs and EOR some estimate that reserve estimates will triple through the field life of shale oil fields. The Marcellus and the Haynesville shale even without EOR have natural gas reserves to last 400 years when fully developed more if New York would open the state for drilling. That is not counting the next paradigm shift that has not yet happened. 3) Not to mention the unconventional reserves in the rest of the world that have not yet been taped. Hydrocarbons are no where near dead.

Also, look up a company called NetPower, NetPower.Com they generate electricity from Natural Gas with a new generation paradigm. They burn Natural gas in pure oxygen inside a stream of CO2. 100% of the CO2 is captured. The plant is on a smaller footprint because it does not need cooling facilities, has a cryo unit before the plant to extract oxygen out of the air along with CO2 and noble gasses. The only output is pure CO2 and water. No NOX because no nitrogen in combustion chamber. Generates electricity more efficiently than a standard gas plant even with powering a cryo plant. Oh by the way, they are cheaper to build. Since 2006 the US has reduced CO2 emissions by more than 19% by converting coal plants to Natural Gas.More reduction than all of the renewables put together. With NetPower plants, CO2 will be reduced by a significant amount.

One other point is that it makes little sense to replace Fossil Fuels with a lower density power supply that has a more complex supply chain in a world decrying too much impact on the world. Mining will become an issue scaling wind and solar. IF THE ENVIRONMENTAL LEFT HAD NOT KILLED NUCLEAR IN THE 70’s and allowed the free market to come up with better and safer plants, we would not even be talking about CO2 right now because the grid would be 70% nuclear, coal would have been phased out decades ago and Natural gas would have been used only as the filler for peak periods. The good news is the first SMR has been approved to be deployed in the US and GE just announced their version of anSMR that is based on technology already approved, clearing the way for building nuclear power again. It astounds me that the folks that are against O&G are also against Nuclear even though it is considerably denser than all other energy sources and makes no CO2 and in fact doesn’t have to burn anything to work.

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May 5, 2023·edited May 5, 2023

We agree that nuclear is the fuel of the future, and that anyone claiming to support green energy while opposing nuclear is ... not a serious person.

But M King Hubbert is a colossus. His theory of Peak Oil is not a myth, and it never has been. Global conventional oil production has been plummeting since 2007 despite rising demand. As you noted, unconventional oil changed the equation, but it only pushed back the time horizon. Our biggest and best wells are already approaching peak production, including the Permian Basin.

Fracking is also much less cost-effective than conventional oil. Conventional oil supplies 25 units of energy for every 1 unit invested to bring it to market; fracking gets 2:1 and tar sands get 3:1. Literally the entire economy runs on surplus energy, and these ratios do not leave enough surplus to power a growth economy, build out a new energy future, bring up standards of living around the world, etc.

Everything you mentioned about producible rock is true, but these remaining resources are more difficult -- and therefore more expensive -- to exploit. That's Peak Oil in a nutshell, my friend. Hydrocarbons get more expensive as the low-hanging fruit disappears. It's not even a theory, it's a bulletproof observation. EROI matters less when energy is cheap and abundant, but studies show that when energy costs hit 10% or more of a country's GDP, recession and political instability surely follow. We're trending right around that number, and here we are, experiencing high energy prices and strong economic headwinds.

And it only gets worse from here. All the shale deposits in the world are going to be prioritized by other nations experiencing energy shortages, driving up the price. All of these trends come down to availability, and consequently price. Peak Oil is about availability and price. It's happening.

Oil from shale isn't a particularly good product for US industry, either. It's more of a heating oil. That's why we export so much of it, and import so much extra heavy oil from Canada. This arrangement works for now, but as these EROI ratios get worse, international shipping cuts ever deeper into a dwindling surplus.

Mr. Epstein's vision where we draw more and more heavily on fossil fuels to mitigate the effects of climate change and power global human flourishing is therefore a fantasy, based on the myth of limitless fossil resources. The resources may be there, but they WILL keep getting more expensive, and that is a tough problem to square with a goal of continual growth powered by fossil resources.

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Actually one point you have is not quite right. From test cases to date in the Eagle Ford, one of the more mature of the shale plays, refracs yield 90% to 120% of the initial oil produced at just over half the price. EOR has been prototyped as well and has delivered 40% to 90% of the original production. I think we are still a few years away from using those solutions in the field at scale but initial results are very encouraging indeed as there are still many infield wells to drill.

I’ve started a company to generate Enhanced geothermal from shale wells during the EOR process and beyond that is looking good for extended use of the infrastructure, and a way to simultaneously to sequester a significant volume of CO2. As a result we estimate that as much energy can be generated with geothermal from the assets that could dwarf the energy derived in initial production, of course over a much longer timeframe.

I’m glad you are not opposed to nuclear. I do agree that we need to work on building as much nuclear to begin to replace U.S. oil and gas this should have already happened by now. It astounds me that the folks that are most adamant about lowering CO2 are against nuclear which makes some wonder what their true goal is.

I think that Epstein and I think you would agree on, is once the energy rich nations have a replacement for a significant portion of our hydrocarbon usage, those surplus resources could then be exported to developing countries to raise their energy wealth. The best thing for climate overall is to increase energy wealth for the billions living in energy poverty. Folks that are working 8 hrs a day to gather dung to burn don’t really give a flip about the environment or even proper land use.

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May 5, 2023·edited May 5, 2023

That is very interesting info about Eagle Ford and your efforts with geothermal, thanks for the insights. It's also great to hear about your company's efforts re: geothermal, carbon sequestration, etc. O/G is very deceptive about "clean" natural gas, referring only to emissions and not to extraction. Prolonging the operating life of expensive infrastructure and generating clean(er) energy while sequestering carbon is fantastic, exactly what we need.

I am not so optimistic about fracking efficiency, however. Executives will say anything to promote investments, but the physicists and scientists will have the last word. For one example, a 2021 study found that while bringing natural gas to market has an efficiency of 93.3% today (6.7% net energy loss), the conversion will be closer to 76.3% by 2050. As conversion efficiency erodes, prices will rise. That's Peak Oil.


I am rather conflicted on your last point, to be honest. People in less-developed nations deserve a higher quality of life, and the long-delayed gifts of abundant energy. But I strongly disagree with Mr. Epstein's argument that wealthier societies are better for the environment. They may have the energy security to be more environmentally conscious, but this tendency is vastly outweighed by excess consumption.

On a per capita basis, an American requires twice as much carbon as someone in China, and 7x as much as someone in India. That is the real engine of environmental destruction; everything else is on the margins. If India, whose population just surpassed 1.5 billion, started consuming at half the level of Americans, the strain on O/G markets would be extraordinary, speak less of the environmental impacts.


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I think once again it comes back to nuclear. I think there needs to be SMRs that are self contained using low grade material that provides the heat for low temperature turbines such as in the ORC generators that operate in the range of 130 to 500 degrees F. I’ve seen some designs that are completely self contained that do not have enough fissionable material from a chain reaction to form but generate heat in those ranges. Those would be perfect for a distributed network. There is actually a TED talk I saw at the Conference a few years ago that does just that. I’ll have to look up the talk. It is a sealed self contained heat generator that does not even require a cooling system and generates commercial heat for 60 years or so with little to no Maintenance. Haven’t heard much about it since but stil a great idea to have sealed nuclear, no reaction, that could be distributed at scale. Natural gas can be a bridge to a nuclear energy future. I just don’t think solar and wind are scalable because they are commodity hogs with a life cycle of 10 to 30 years. Then more mining, lots of mining in a world that is against impact to the environment.

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May 5, 2023·edited May 5, 2023

For sure. I like the terms "rebuildable / mineral energy" for solar and wind over "clean / green energy", because the energy source might be renewable, but the technology to capture it has enormous material costs and a short lifespan. The "plan" for green energy (there is no plan) is to transition from a fossil fuel economy to a strip mine economy, which is arguably worse the for the environment, labor, and human health.

I'll caveat that by saying that solar PVs themselves are not actually that resource-intensive, as their primary input is abundant silicon. The main concern there is the amount of energy needed to make polysilicon. Building out domestic PV manufacturing in/around the Permian basin, where gas is so abundant they're flaring off what they can't sell for $1/barrel at Henry, would be smart. However, the battery storage we'd need to replace fossils with solar/wind would require world-historic quantities of metals/minerals on a scale that frankly feels implausible to me.

That modular heat generator is interesting. Drop a link if you find it!

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