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Old 28-Feb-2005, 00:19   #1
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http://www.techcentralstation.be/022105.html

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Old 28-Feb-2005, 14:18   #2
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that comment is almost certainly said tongue in cheek, but I think that the world at large needs to deal with the fact that we are facing serious environmental issues, largely as a result of our own pursuit of development. Oh sure, they're overblown in the media, films like Day After Tomorrow don't help (particularly cos it's shit) and these unwashed perpetual student types don't aid their own cause ... but we are facing a bleak future as a species.

The world has taken a short sighted view of the issue. Human activity is inflicting changes on the environment which make it inhospitable, for many species but crucially for us. Sure, the world will adapt, the climate will repair itself, life will go on ... but not as it is, and probably without the human race. The biggest contribution to environmental change is the use of fossil fuels, the largest market for these is motor vehicles.

Newsflash: oil is a renewable source. You heard me. The problem is, it's renewable over MILLIONS of years. It requires the natural "baking" of clays and muds, normally at the junctions of tectonic plates.

The reason that oil is focused upon as the "big bad" is because the method in which it is consumed is causing the atmosphere to become toxic to humans and the rate at which it is consumed will result in the loss of it as any kind of resource in the very near future.

The knock-on effect from the loss of the oil market will be tremendous. Taking the UK as an example, local and domestic food production is at an all time low. Food is brought into the country by haulage firms; either in trucks or by sea. Often, aircraft fly in foodstuffs; aircraft consume ridiculous amount of fuel. Food is distributed by road haulage firms that use petrol or diesel to fuel their vehicles. Foodstuffs are packaged in plastic wrapping that is an oil derivative, in order to preserve them. People use motor vehicles to carry out their shopping requirements.

The simple act of shopping for food will be brought to a halt by the rapid consumption of finite resources, whilst all the time we add to our own acid smog future by using motor vehicles for our journeys and allowing oil producers to take money hand over fist for exploiting what is, essentially, an international resource. And bear in mind, this is only shopping. Think of all the other fields and industries which rely on oil derivatives or their use ... cement mixers, public transport, pharmaceuticals, helath professionals, etc etc ...

We need to find different ways fo doing things, and fast, if we are to leave future generations with anything more than a pre-industrial subsistence farming future. Between now and then, billions will suffer and die, unless we find some other form of fuel and resource for our daily requirements.

The problem is, the people who should be doing the looking, the market, are too busy making money out of the naive masses to even remotely consider alternatives. People talk of conspiracy theories, of the possibility of alternative technologies being "sat on". There's no evidence for these and unless you start voting with your feet, or your wallet there is no incentive to pursue these.

A serious issue being palmed off, I feel.

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Old 28-Feb-2005, 14:45   #3
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Originally Posted by Sonic Samurai
that comment is almost certainly said tongue in cheek
Yep.

You're having a giraffe though if you think that petrochem and motor companies haven't got a handle into alternative fuel and engine tech though. I suspect they're quietly leading the charge there, they're very smart people and would be stupid not to diversify into alternative with their huge financial and scientific resources. However they're hardly likely to roll anything out until they've done the existing market right up the bottom. Which is fair enough.

Oil estimates are absolute bollocks as well, most countries and companies are purposely underestimating their reserves to shore up their value. Add to that the amount of oil and gas still available from existing fields thanks to new drilling and extraction technologies and the picture is nowhere near as bad as both the hippies and the petrochem giants (ironically) would like everyone to think.

Granted there's going to be a shakeup but seriously - do you think that the powers that be in the field are just sitting their with their fingers in their ears pretending it'lll go on forever?
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Old 28-Feb-2005, 14:57   #4
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Originally Posted by Inertiaman
Granted there's going to be a shakeup but seriously - do you think that the powers that be in the field are just sitting their with their fingers in their ears pretending it'lll go on forever?
Did you read the report i linked in? The latest feeling is that they are over-reporting their resources. They would only do so if they were concerned that running out sooner rather than later would be an issue. If they were sitting on an alternative then they wouldn't exaggerate their market share.

But you speak (or rather, type) good sense. It would be negligent to not investigate alternatives and it would also be bad for business to bring that into play now. In the mean time our atmosphere is being rendered more and more uninhabitable ...
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Old 28-Feb-2005, 15:12   #5
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Oh noes everyone will die!!11

I like that we know a lot about this, but yet we don't do anything to stop it, or at least change its impact.
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Old 28-Feb-2005, 15:22   #6
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Elrond; you spout that spiel about the environment but there's more known about the surface of the moon than about our climate and atmosphere. If global warming exists (which the original proponent of the phrase himself doubts - his predictions for climate change over the 90s was off by 300%) it is largely unpredictable, not entirely down to the effect of humans; people go on about polar icecaps melting... actually they're getting colder in the majority (and it's sea ice mass is increasing as such), only the antarctic peninsula is getting warmer ... the antarctic peninsula is 2% of antarctica - this could in itself indicate the start of an ice age as for the previous 6000 years or so antarctica has been getting warmer.

Anyway as I said, there is next to no Scientific basis for the theory of accelerated climate change, and even if it is occuring, there is little to predict how it will effect us. Take increasing temperature of the atmosphere as an example (if it exists), how will that effect clouds? Noone knows for sure, they can guess or "estimate" as it were, but noone knows. One theory says that as the earth heats up more clouds are created by more water evaporating, and this is what "Swampy" would like you to believe becasue it implies days will be overcast and unpleasant, even stormy leading to more floods etc... yet the hotter the air, the more water can be carried in the air so the less clouds. Something as simple as the effect of increasing atmospherical temperature cannot be predicted. This is why weather cannot be predicted very far into the future, and why they get it so wrong so much of the time... it's basically statistics, not any kind of scientific modelling.

One last point to think over; the anti pollution/environmental movement is a multi billion pound media industry who spend about half of their money (!) on fundraising. Think about that the next time you start on about oil companies and the like.

Yes I did draw most of that from the latest Michael Crichton which I'm reading atm, he quotes sources which I can post later if you wish, and personally I am not entirely convinced either way on the argument of "acclerated climate change - is it happening or not?" but I can say I lean much further towards Scientists who say they don't/can't yet know than those who make a prediction which is 300% out.
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Old 28-Feb-2005, 15:24   #7
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At least they're having a go
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Old 28-Feb-2005, 15:33   #8
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The Icelandic Government are the most commendable for making changes to their infrastructure and legislation to change laws, such as busses being more environmentally friendly and building applications being seriously strict, in order to save energy and the environment.

Their Prime Minister hopes to have the whole country, one day, being self sufficient.

I think this is the only way we can survive, and its a bloody good idea. To stop this steep downward slant to oblivion, sacrifices HAVE to be made. That means in industry, government and our OWN LIVES. We have to start pulling plugs out when we go to bed!
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Old 28-Feb-2005, 15:42   #9
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Oil estimates are absolute bollocks as well, most countries and companies are purposely underestimating their reserves to shore up their value.
I disagree there matt.....

Hasn't Shell just had to reveal that it has a third of the reserves it said it had?

I thought this was ment to be Amusing news anyhoo.....

http://uk.news.yahoo.com/050221/80/fcwii.html
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Old 28-Feb-2005, 15:44   #10
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Gonna assume you didn't read what I said tinx... there is so much scaremongering by environmental groups, it's up there with G.W.B.'s public reaction to 11/9 (Department of Homeland Security etc).

Plus Nuclear Power is blatantly the way forward for power stations (ooh I bet that makes me unpopular with a lot of people on here).
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Old 28-Feb-2005, 15:49   #11
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I personally would rather err on the side of caution. I mean if one side is the environmental groups, who is the other side? What do they have to gain?
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Old 28-Feb-2005, 15:54   #12
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Mod needed to split this into a new thread methinks
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Old 28-Feb-2005, 16:04   #13
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Mod needed to split this into a new thread methinks
Agreed. Opened a bit of a can of worms.

Yes NWA, the impact of human activity on global warming is difficult to anticipate, there's also the possibility of global cooling (jet contrails etc) having the reverse effect but the subject is not necessarily exclusively about global warming. That's a huge issue in and of itself. We are talking about pursuing development along existing lines being harmful to us; not the environment, which will eventually recover. not other species, which will adapt. but US. because we AREN'T adapting to the change we are instigating.

And you're right, nuclear fuel is a short term answer but nuclear fuel is limited too. We need to change lifestyles, make different choices about how we do things and prepare for a future that doesn't make everything available at the end of a long fuel-consuming transport corridor.
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Old 28-Feb-2005, 16:20   #14
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Fusion!

.. and we could of gotton away with it too if it wasn't for that pesky spiderman ;(
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Old 28-Feb-2005, 16:29   #15
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Well my main argument against the protesters is that they are faux intelectuals who sponge off the state with one hand and demand its downfall with the other.

As for oil reserves being too low/high. North Sea Oil is uprating its oil stocks (I think its a two fold increase over the strategic reserve halt) whilst something like the Indian Ocean oil boom stocks of last year were rated 5 times bigger than the supply actually was. Its a crazy updown thing which has started happening because oil companies are shitting themselves about peak oil.

I think the amount of money that BP alone is plowing into renewables indicates that they have their finger on the pulse. As for massive crisis when peak oil is reached.... theres already the process in place for maize based bio degradable packaging (not that theres any chance of crappy oil running out for donkeys anyway) and I think people would be willing to bite the nuclear bullet rather than see their electricity bills and petrol bills sky rocket to silly levels.
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Old 28-Feb-2005, 16:41   #16
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Nuclear fuel is finite but renewable as the fuel when used reduces into another nuclear product.. one which is harder to get to react but by the time we're out of the current Nuclear fuel (which at the current rate of energy consumption is in the multiple of millenia anyway...) You'd hope there'll be another option, even if it's just Nuclear reactors which run on reduced material.

karmic on one side you have supposedly non-profit environmental orgainsations whose head honchos take home hundreds of thousands or even millions in cash each year and who spend ~50% of all income on getting more income... vs people who look at their claims and ask for irrefutable scientific evidence. There's yet to be any irrefutable scientific evidence that the planet is warming up/cooling down any more than it would anyway, there's et to be any irrefutable scientific evidence that we are effecting our weather, there's yet to be any irrefutable scientific evidence that sea levels are rising (there's lots of evidence that it isn't or that ice caps are melting... etc.

Who'd you raher believe? Scentists who have made msitakes and admitted to them (See the global warmign guy again) or a multibillion media industry? Who exactly is tryign to convice you that climate change is a good thing or isn't happening? Noone. Who is trying to claim that it is inavoidably catastrophic? Food for thought no?
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Old 28-Feb-2005, 17:46   #17
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there's plenty of evidence about the toxic fumes we are producing being rrrrrreally bad for us ..
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Old 28-Feb-2005, 17:49   #18
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well you'd generate a lot of radioactive garbage, that needs thousands of years to decay to safe levels. i'd hardly call that a clean and renewable energy resource. it just doesn't dump so much toxic chemicals into our atmosphere.


Quote:
karmic on one side you have supposedly non-profit environmental orgainsations whose head honchos take home hundreds of thousands or even millions in cash each year and who spend ~50% of all income on getting more income... vs people who look at their claims and ask for irrefutable scientific evidence. There's yet to be any irrefutable scientific evidence that the planet is warming up/cooling down any more than it would anyway, there's et to be any irrefutable scientific evidence that we are effecting our weather, there's yet to be any irrefutable scientific evidence that sea levels are rising (there's lots of evidence that it isn't or that ice caps are melting... etc.
yet to be academically published but here are a few select pickings.

Quote:
The findings are crucial because much of the evidence of a warmer world has until now been from air temperatures, but it is the oceans that are the driving force behind the Earth's climate. Dr Barnett said: "Over the past 40 years there has been considerable warming of the planetary system and approximately 90 per cent of that warming has gone directly into the oceans."

He told the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington: "We defined a 'fingerprint' of ocean warming. Each of the oceans warmed differently at different depths and constitutes a fingerprint which you can look for. We had several computer simulations, for instance one for natural variability: could the climate system just do this on its own? The answer was no.

"We looked at the possibility that solar changes or volcanic effects could have caused the warming - not a chance. What just absolutely nailed it was greenhouse warming."
Quote:
The study involved scientists from the US Department of Energy, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, as well as the Met Office's Hadley Center.

They analyzed more than 7 million recordings of ocean temperature from around the world, along with about 2 million readings of sea salinity, and compared the rise in temperatures at different depths to predictions made by two computer simulations of global warming.

"Two models, one from here and one from England, got the observed warming almost exactly. In fact we were stunned by the degree of similarity," Dr Barnett said. "The models are right. So when a politician stands up and says 'the uncertainty in all these simulations start to question whether we can believe in these models', that argument is no longer tenable." Typical ocean temperatures have increased since 1960 by between 0.5C and 1C, depending largely on depth. DR Barnett said: "The real key is the amount of energy that has gone into the oceans. If we could mine the energy that has gone in over the past 40 years we could run the state of California for 200,000 years... It's come from greenhouse warming."
source: http://www.commondreams.org/headlines05/0219-01.htm

As for alternative fuels, the major companies are of coruse investing heavily into research and in fact there has been considerable work done into the area by colleagues in my own engineering department. if 3rd year undergraduates are writing their dissertations on investigating the feasibility of alternative fuels, you can bet the big oil companies already have a plan and, i'd imagine, pretty accurate figures for the costs.

whats evident at this stage is that those costs are greater than the costs of extracting a dirty and inefficient fuel and using them for the moment. eventually, I suspect the costs for bringing refined petroleum to your garage forecourts will exceed the costs, as oil supply falls, of implimenting a new standarized fuel for the humble internal combustion engine. that is when the economic case demands a switch over to a more cost effective fuel. However, there could be a failure in appreciating the true extent of the monetary value of damage caused to the environment since the value is so intangible. this leads to a case of underestimating the value of changing fuels earlier since there are no"hard" numbers for the cost to the environment. to believe we can carry on as we are now is naive, in my opinion, and is a failure to understand the mechanisms at work (and especially the areas where those mechanism are weak or fail).

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Old 28-Feb-2005, 18:05   #19
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The Shell thing happened a year or so ago. They lied about having the rights to produce a field in Australia even though they knew there was no chance that they would be able to drill it. They still have vast stocks, as do all oil companies. Also, Inertia is spot on when he says existing plays are producing more than first estimated due to better drilling technology etc. On top of that, advances in seismic shooting and processing coupled with better interpretations (sort of my field) means that companies are finding viable plays where none were thought to exist.

On the climate front, i wish people would stop going on about "it could lead to another ice age" or any of that crap. We are currently IN an ice age, hence the polar ice caps. Plenty of times in the past there have been no caps at all. We are in what is known as a hiatus, where the ice stops melting as fast, and sort of levels out (but not completely, temps keep going up and ice keeps melting). The hiatus is not indefinate, and we will see the end of the ice caps eventually whether we do anything about it or not.
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Old 28-Feb-2005, 21:03   #20
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I disagree there matt.....

Hasn't Shell just had to reveal that it has a third of the reserves it said it had?
So what you're saying is that they're underestimating their reserves.
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Old 28-Feb-2005, 21:06   #21
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Great thread by the way.
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Old 28-Feb-2005, 21:22   #22
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What I find particularly annoying is supermarkets bringing things like lamb and butter from as far away as New Zealand instead of sourcing it locally. Not only is it depriving uk farmers of potential income (and moving momey out of our economy) it is ecologically damaging to unnecesarily move those products so far.

Should food be taxed according to how far it has travelled or would this have too much of a negative impact on consumers and food prices?
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Old 01-Mar-2005, 01:34   #23
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yeah, because our farmers really need more state subsidies...
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Old 01-Mar-2005, 01:47   #24
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free trade = good

eu farming subsidies = bad
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Old 01-Mar-2005, 02:00   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gil
free trade = good
Thats a rather sweeping statement. Maybe should be: Free trade = good for western economies
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Old 01-Mar-2005, 09:16   #26
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if the artic polar cap isn't melting then why did the Icelandic prime minister invite GW Bush over to see the global warming melting the ice on their doorstep ? Why is the gulf stream being moved south and scientists are worried about the salt dilution through fresh water melt stopping it entirely ?

The miscalculation of global warming, can some of it be explained by global diming ?
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Old 01-Mar-2005, 10:18   #27
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fair trade is a different issue as is food air miles.
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Old 01-Mar-2005, 10:37   #28
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Nice article, I liked it.

Excluding the global warming argument, burning oil is bad for the environment, and our health, yet (western) society today is dependant on an it is running out. The estimates of how log we have are dropping as we find out more and more oil companies have been deliberately OVER estimating their reserves in order to shore up their market value.

(When you can make hundreds of thousands in gains on share options with only a few pence increase in the stock, are you really surprised that the CEOs have a bias....)

So we need alternatives. Salad oil is one I have been hearing a lot about., especially in Germany.

http://www.thesoydailyclub.com/revup...issaladoil.asp
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Old 01-Mar-2005, 17:02   #29
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It isn't a problem if the Arctic polar cap melts, it is only a problem if the ice on Greenland or Antarctica melts.
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Old 01-Mar-2005, 17:03   #30
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the greenland ice cap is what creates the gulfstream, iirc?
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