Book of the Month/September 2017

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Reading a book with as many charts and graphs as this one had shouldn’t have been so much fun, but it really was. This month’s selection for the book-of-the-month is The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels by Alex Epstein. This book was a blast.

Some of the points made here are commonplaces for conservatives—e.g. the environmentalist false predictions, consistently running at Hal Lindsey levels. But it is one thing to show liberal inconsistencies, and quite another to make a moral case for fossil fuels. Epstein does this quite well.

One of the best things is does is show how different assessments of energy sources arise from completely different standards of value. Epstein is not a Christian, and his standard is therefore necessarily humanistic, but it still contrasts sharply with what amounts to the pantheistic standard of the environmentalists. He writing from a perspective that evaluates energy sources by whether or not they contribute to human flourishing. This is consistent with the biblical ethic, but it requires the biblical ethic in order to make it consistent. The environmentalist ethic is inconsistent with the biblical regardless what you do. By this I do not mean to say that environmental stewardship is inconsistent—no, stewardship is assumed and required in the biblical worldview.

The environmentalist standard is to minimize or erase the impact of human beings on the planet. It is not a matter of good impact versus bad impact, but rather impact verses no impact. Put this another way. Epstein effectively shows that if some genius figured out a way to make one of the alternative energy sources into an energy producing gusher, the environmentalists would be appalled—and solar, or wind, or whatever it was, would become the new enemy. The actual specter in this is the prospect of fusion. Cheap, reliable, available energy for everyone would be the environmentalists’ worst nightmare. Here is one representative quote: “It would be little short of disastrous for us to discover a source of clean, cheap, abundant energy, because of what we might do with it” (p. 196). Somebody might enjoy themselves. Somebody might go to bed warm tonight.

And this is the bottom line for Christians. The Scriptures promise us that the world is going to end as a glorious Garden City, and what does that mean? It means a lot of CO2, that’s what it means. And in the meantime, what are we supposed to do for those billions of people who do not have the necessities of life because they are not in possession of cheap, reliable energy?

“And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?” (Jas. 2:16).

How are billions of people, currently ensconced on this planet, to be warmed and filled? This is not a trick question, and there is only one answer—energy.

So our faith is worthless if we deny them cheap, reliable, plentiful, and abundant energy. If someone proposes getting such energy to them, and we protest it, are we not the worst? If we send emissaries to hector third world countries about their inept attempts to be as warm and as filled as we are, are we not madmen and hypocrites?

If this resonates with you, as it should, but you need data and arguments to support that initial reaction, this book is for you.

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Jarryd Bowers
Jarryd Bowers
3 years ago

i’ve nearly picked this up a handful of times. this review is the push i needed. thanks!

Jonathan
Jonathan
3 years ago

This appears to be a quite fair review of the book, which finds some positive points but a great deal of systematic distortions of the issues:

http://felj.org/sites/default/files/docs/elj362/24-327-353-Freeman_FINAL%20%5B11.10%5D.pdf

Jonathan
Jonathan
3 years ago

Taking a “moral case” from a Randian….I’m at a loss as to how a guy with a B.A. in philosophy whose professional experience consists of a decade of promoting Ayn Rand novels became an expert in either energy science or morality. Nowadays, of course, he makes his money running his own Koch-funded industrial lobbying group. How does Pastor Wilson explain away the fact that even people in the energy industry say that the author’s claims about CO2 and global warming are hogwash. Your own commenters who work in fossil fuel-critical fields have told you that even their internal science shows… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan

“Indeed, in his rigidity, Epstein seems out of step with the oil and gas industry itself. Six international oil companies (the BG Group, BP, Eni, Royal Dutch Shell, Statoil and Total) recently issued a letter calling for governments to adopt a carbon tax. Many companies include a shadow carbon price in their models when making investment decisions, and some use scenario planning that takes into account the possibility of carbon constraints. These steps are in part concessions to a changing political reality, but they are also indications that the industry has a much more sophisticated understanding of climate change than… Read more »

Ted Ryan
Ted Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Jonathan, It is interesting that you have lead with an attempt to discredit Epstein’s energy science bona fides as if he can’t possibly be right. And to put out a matching bookend, your second post appeals to the authority of energy companies as if they can’t be wrong. You’ve lead with a fallacy and ended with a fallacy so you’ll forgive me for asking this question, have you read the book? If so, it would be far more helpful to hear about specific objections you have with Epstein’s argument other than “Epstein isn’t an energy scientist, therefore he doesn’t know… Read more »

Kilgore T. Durden
Kilgore T. Durden
3 years ago
Reply to  Ted Ryan

While Jonathan might decry contrarians, he epitomizes that description here. His main purpose is to be a thorn in the good Reverend’s side.

Jonathan
Jonathan
3 years ago

Of course, easy evidence against this claim would be to see that I’ve made multiple extremely positive comments about a Wilson post or position in just the last four days. Once replying on a post “I agree 100% with every single word of this.” and another time starting with “One of the places where I strongly align with Pastor Wilson.” In fact, I continued to defend his position in that one. So rather than the false attacks on my character, it would be more worthwhile to look at the actual claims. I am not the only person here who has… Read more »

CHer
CHer
3 years ago
Reply to  Ted Ryan

” You’ve lead with a fallacy and ended with a fallacy” – Par for the course.

Jonathan
Jonathan
3 years ago
Reply to  CHer

You’re back! I’m used to you getting proven wrong in one place, pulling a disappearing act, and reappearing elsewhere. But that last move, where attacked my statement without realizing that it was nothing but a quote of YOUR statement, would have been so embarassing that you would have stayed disappeared for a little while longer this time.

CHer
CHer
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan

No, I just have a life. You made a 5th-grade grammar mistake and instead of owning up to it, I’m sure you spent 15 paragraphs justifying yourself. I didn’t bother checking. I actually have a busy life. I don’t spend hours on end engaging in anonymous internet arguments…or going through all my BLM friends’ Facebook feeds. If you spend more of your time on something fruitful, maybe you could make a nice donation to the struggling folks in Houston–who are relying largely on white, male Trump supporter volunteers with their bass boats and big trucks. That must horrify you, but… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
3 years ago
Reply to  CHer

You accused me of calling you a liar. You went on a rant about how inappropriate it was to accuse people of being liars. You failed to notice that the ONLY place where the word “liar” or “lie” was mentioned was in quotes of YOUR statements about me. There’s no possible way to argue that. EVERY instance of “lie” or “liar” in the whole post was a quote from you, and yet you accused me of calling people liars. This is a pattern you repeat over and over with me. You say something untrue about me, I correct you, you… Read more »

paulm01
paulm01
3 years ago
Reply to  CHer

CHer said: “No, I just have a life….” (et al)

Beauty…

Jonathan
Jonathan
3 years ago
Reply to  paulm01

Rebuking someone for something they didn’t do, something in fact you yourself had just done, and they refusing to admit your hypocrisy but simply moving on to criticize and insult the person again is not “beauty”, it is Phariseeism.

It is interesting to note the % of CHer’s comments on this site that are simply insults directed towards me. Often not even of my positions, simply personal insults. And they don’t even know me. That’s not behavior that someone “with a life.”

paulm01
paulm01
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan

It was meant as a euphemism for agreement of “I have a life…” Edit: If you poke the dog you will eventually get bit. Your views are well stated and I believe very sincere, but contrary to many American’s thinking. That certainly doesn’t invalidate either side, but we must be fair and honest…which means not agenda driven. I don’t like people telling me how to live if I am not harming anyone (and no, I am not a Libertarian, but close — laws ARE necessary for a civil society.) The problem is – especially with the advent of social media… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
3 years ago
Reply to  Ted Ryan

Actually, that would be two strawmen for you. Those points about Epstein having no scientific education, and about the energy companies themselves agreeing with the science on global warming, are meaningful data points but I at no attempt made any conclusive argument on either of them. So your claims of a logical fallacy are simply false. Rather, I posted a detailed, well-cited 25 page review of the book that gets into its exact issues – which you, unsurprisingly, completely ignored.

bethyada
bethyada
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan

I read it (well the beginning then skimmed towards the end, 27 pages is a lot). Many insiders in the oil and gas industry have warmly received Alex Epstein’s book which may be completely irrelevant. I have no idea whether Epstein is a shill or not, but assuming he were not (for the sake of the argument) the oil industry is still going to appreciate the book given its conclusions. So this kind of comment is really poisoning the well. He then goes on to say that the past does not justify the future, which is true when predicting something,… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
3 years ago
Reply to  bethyada

“So this kind of comment is really poisoning the well.” I believe you’ve misinterpreted that comment and its audience. Prof. Jody Freeman is an Outside Director at ConocoPhillips and published this paper in the journal of the Energy Bar Association. She is writing with the understanding that a large number of her readers will be associated with the oil and gas industry, and is acknowledging that they have warmly received the book while attempting to counter their notions about it. Later she makes many other statements that clearly have that audience in mind, such as: “Yet as many members of… Read more »

CHer
CHer
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan

^^^^^^Triggered!!!^^^^^^^^^^^

” Those points about Epstein having no scientific education…Rather, I posted a detailed, well-cited 25 page review of the book”

A book review by a lawyer…

Jonathan
Jonathan
3 years ago
Reply to  CHer

Or a 27-page, 146-footnoted thorough debunking by one of the world’s leading experts on Environmental Law with a 20-year history in the field, who happens to sit as an outside director for Conoco Phillips.

That’s quite a different background than someone with a bachelor’s in philosophy who had spent the previous 7 years selling Ayn Rand books.

paulm01
paulm01
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Jonathon wrote: “…that even their own internal science shows that climate change is real and fossil fuel driven. All the major energy producers in America have shown that in their own research. The people who disagree have come down to a tiny percentage of contrarians, and those politicians and lobbyists whose income depends on pushing policy which will favor their funders.” This is simply not true, not even close. But it sounds good to itching ears. In the 70’s it was global cooling. In the 90’s is was global warming. When those doomsday panics didn’t pan out or illicit the… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
3 years ago
Reply to  paulm01

The fact that Exxon and Shell have internal research affirming global warming is well known, public information. They published the papers. There have also been well-respected, regular commenters here who say that they work in fossil fuel-dependent industry and that it is common knowledge among scientists within the industry itself. Are you calling them liars? The idea that “it was global cooling” in the 1970s has been thoroughly debunked. Almost that entire narrative is based on two pop-level articles, one of which only quoted one scientist, during a time period when a small % of climate scientists thought that global… Read more »

paulm01
paulm01
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan

So what’s your solution?

As for the 70’s, I was there and clearly remember what the climate dudes were saying.

Jonathan
Jonathan
3 years ago
Reply to  paulm01

I think we should be working towards individual and community solutions to move the way we live to more sustainable practices. An enormous amount of the things we use and waste we produce are driven by people trying to profit off us and don’t contribute to our true welfare. This will have the added benefit of improving our lives and communities in myriad other ways. It will require spiritual transformation and a real effort to address the greed, selfishness, and discontent that has characterized much of our economy in recent decades. As far as the 1970s go, there was hype… Read more »

paulm01
paulm01
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan

I can’t cover all your points…but I have a few minutes so will offer this: One thing we do agree on is the spiritual awakening, this has always been forefront within the Christian community and is on-going. Changing hearts will change minds, but even within the Believer community there are differences. As for the 70’s climate, it has nothing to do with a failing or fuzzy memory…I was citing the prevailing stated sentiment of the times coupled with some unusual cold and snow levels juxtaposed to how that morphed into “warming” 20 years later. But when the “warming” alarms didn’t… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
3 years ago
Reply to  paulm01

The idea that global warming claims started in the 1990s is just out there. Global warming has been a serious concern of scientists since the 1960s – already more so than global cooling ever was – and even Exxon’s internal research was already confirming that. The idea that “the warming alarms didn’t pan out” is blatantly false too – 14 of the 15 hottest years on record have been the last 14 years, and the three hottest years in recorded history are 2016, 2015, and 2014. Paul Ehrlich was a fool, an example of a smart person too conceited to… Read more »

John Callaghan
John Callaghan
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan

The problem with Paul Ehrlich was not his personal failings, but rather that his ideas were accepted uncritically by the rich and powerful in our world. Those folks then used them as justifications for imposing policies that have caused untold suffering to many millions of the world’s poorest and most powerless. “Warmest Year on Record!” makes a good headline, but it statistical slight of hand. The global temperature record is exceedingly messy. Most of the globe was devoid of weather stations 100 years ago. Even stations that have been in continuous operation for that amount of time have seen their… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
3 years ago
Reply to  John Callaghan

That excuse has been well debunked. Climate change skeptic Richard Mueller, working in an organization he founded himself and got funded by the Koch Brothers, tried to prove that things like urban radiation were the true source of the increases….and found instead that the evidence in the opposite direction was so convincing that he has now become a promoter of the reality of global warming.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/30/opinion/the-conversion-of-a-climate-change-skeptic.html

John Callaghan
John Callaghan
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Richard Muller was never a real skeptic. In 2003, he wrote: Let me be clear. My own reading of the literature and study of paleoclimate suggests strongly that carbon dioxide from burning of fossil fuels will prove to be the greatest pollutant of human history. He did rather forcefully criticize Michael Mann’s fraudulent graph and pointed out the many errors in Al Gore’s movie. That was enough to score a few months of funding from the Kochs in 2010. But since then, his organization, Berkeley Earth, has been funded by either liberal foundations or anonymous (also liberal?) donors. in 2011… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
3 years ago
Reply to  John Callaghan

Cutting quotes off in mid-sentence is a sign of….something. Actual sentence: “It is ironic if some people treat me as a traitor, since I was never a skeptic — only a scientific skeptic.” Also: “I certainly feel that there is lots of room for skepticism on the human component of warming.” And most important to the paper in question: “He wondered, for example, about the the potential for urban areas, which retain and generate inordinate amounts of heat, to distort data suggesting that things were getting warmer. He also questioned the reliability of surface temperature readings collected from aging and… Read more »

John Callaghan
John Callaghan
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Judith Curry has, again, the best take on Richard Muller: The ‘irresistable’ story of Richard Muller where she quotes a promoter of the climate consensus: We are far more inspired by narratives that speak to our social values than data that mumbles to our intellectual reasoning. This is why the most powerful storylines have, since the earliest recorded tales, been those with identifiable protagonists clearly representing opposing sides, with sequential events leading to a denouement that confirms social rules. The popular ‘narrative’ on Muller that is being promoted is the one you give above: Climate change skeptic Richard Mueller …… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
3 years ago
Reply to  John Callaghan

One thing I think you miss is that in Mueller’s view, to be called a “traitor” or a “climate change skeptic” as opposed to a “scientific skeptic” would be to imply that he wasn’t even a scientist at all, but an ideologue committed to a certain position. Mueller openly criticized climate change advocates who made false claims or who had mistakes in their analyses of data. Mueller honestly thought that some other factors could be at play. With the help of the Koch brothers, he made an honest and legitimate study to test those possibilities. And I’m not sure what… Read more »

John Callaghan
John Callaghan
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Jonathan, Reflect for a moment on your own position here at Wilson’s blog. On many issues you hold views that are opposed to the prevailing wisdom here – as do I (from a slightly different perspective). How do you regard the other posters here? If you are being charitable (which you usually are), then you respect most of them as persons and fellow Christians who perhaps have not stopped to fully reflect upon the basis of the faith in Christ that they possess. You may feel that they are somewhat trapped by their upbringing and culture in which they were… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
3 years ago
Reply to  John Callaghan

While your analysis of my views is interesting (off in a spot or two, but charitable enough that I’m not upset), I’m not sure what it adds to what has been said already about Mueller’s position.

demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
3 years ago
Reply to  John Callaghan

John, This thread is old and probably dead. But you pique my curiosity. I respect you as a commentator, you are generally charitable and well reasoned. I was curious what you mean by this: “This is analogous to the position of “climate skeptics”. They do not reject science, rather they hope to return it to what it should be: dedicated men and women focused on the pursuit of truth about the natural world around us and willing to question presuppositions, received wisdom and the orthodoxy of those in power.” Who is the skeptic, and by what measure do you determine… Read more »

John Callaghan
John Callaghan
3 years ago
Reply to  demosthenes1d

demosthenes,

You are a skeptic.

There are exceedingly few individuals who dispute the very basic physics and chemistry involved with CO2 trapping heat.

The vast majority of skeptics dispute the model outputs and the assumed positive feedback factors that are used to generate the scary projections.

Unfortunately, some of the less scrupulous folks on the alarmed side are fond of ignoring the stated objection of skeptics and instead impute to them a denial of basic chemistry.

Scott Adams created a Dilbert comic strip to illustrate this.

demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
3 years ago
Reply to  John Callaghan

Thanks, John. I agree that I am a skeptic. But if you provide that I am a skeptic then Richard Muller is most certainly a skeptic. So are all of the atmospheric chemists that I know (some of my graduate work was in atmospheric chemistry). It becomes an almost useless term. “There are exceedingly few individuals who dispute the very basic physics and chemistry involved with CO2 trapping heat.” Maybe in academia. But there are many here, and in the general populace, who dispute or deny it and they are abetted by the rhetoric of those like Judith Curry as… Read more »

John Callaghan
John Callaghan
3 years ago
Reply to  demosthenes1d

The basic chemistry of liquid hydrocarbon combustion is not material to most people’s lives. What most people care about is whether their automobile has enough gas in the tank to get them to the store and back – not the details how that is accomplished. Likewise with CO2 trapping heat. It is not material to most people’s lives. What they care about is whether the weather will get dramatically worse in the future. You are right that there is a lot of confusion due to the complexity of the subject matter and the lack of agreed definition of terms. In… Read more »

Katecho
Katecho
3 years ago
Reply to  John Callaghan

The Dilbert comic strip was informative. So was this comment from someone named “George A”: ——- The left asks, “Does he believe in climate change?” Not an honest question. It intentionally conflates many subordinate issues into a loaded question. 1) Is the globe warming? 2) What fraction of this warming is attributable to human CO2 emissions since the middle of the 20th century? 3) With what confidence do we know this fraction? 4) How many degrees of warming by 2100 will be caused by human CO2 emissions? 5) With what confidence do we know that this warming will occur? 6)… Read more »

bethyada
bethyada
3 years ago

I noticed you reviewed it earlier and added it to my wishlist. Looks like I’ll have to buy it. I say the more energy sources the better. I’ve been hoping for fusion for decades. I do think that thorium fission offers some promise. But until solar can offer significant cost reduction without any subsidies I don’t think we should add it to the grid supply. Wind is probably a no-goer, the bat and bird destruction is bad stewardship. Tides might offer a solution though. We use a lot of hydroelectric which is reliable, but the energy from it pales compared… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
3 years ago
Reply to  bethyada

You believe differently than the author then – his argument is against “the more energy sources the better”.

bethyada
bethyada
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan

I can appreciate his love of coal without agreeing with him against solar.

I happen to question many alternative sources because they are frequently subsidised, cannot offer continuous supply, and neglect to consider the energy costs of creating energy (building windmills or solar panels, growing corn for ethanol).

But, if there is net energy gain at a cheap monetary cost then I am all for it. Flooding the world in energy keeps it cheap and confers huge benefits to mankind, disproportionately helping the poor.

paulm01
paulm01
3 years ago
Reply to  bethyada

Exactly…unfortunately some people will never be happy when the majority is happy and reasonably comfortable, their goal is the opposite.

Jonathan
Jonathan
3 years ago
Reply to  bethyada

Do you also question the petrochemicals because they are frequently subsidized, cause an enormous toll of human death and environmental damage even if global warming is ignored, and have played a major role in the funding of terrorist organizations and terror states as well as contributed greatly to the instability of the Middle East?

paulm01
paulm01
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Anything will cause “human death and damage”, there is no perfect energy source yet discovered, there are always inherent trade offs. While I like alternative energy solutions, the tech isn’t quite there. Wind generators, once the bastion of energy nirvana by the enviro-religious, are subsidized to the hilt. They also kill birds, so are now “not great” by environmentalist standards (besides the fact they have no storage capacity on their own – again, yet.) Plus, as in Martha’s Vineyard, even the old hippies on the island don’t want them ruining “their” view. Again I ask, what’s the solution? With the… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
3 years ago
Reply to  paulm01

I think we should be working towards individual and community solutions to move the way we live to more sustainable practices. An enormous amount of the things we use and waste we produce are driven by people trying to profit off us and don’t contribute to our true welfare. This will have the added benefit of improving our lives and communities in myriad other ways. It will require spiritual transformation and a real effort to address the greed, selfishness, and discontent that has characterized much of our economy in recent decades. We also need to decouple the national and global… Read more »

bethyada
bethyada
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Jonathan, I oppose subsidies to whomever they are given; even if they are growing food to eat. One thing I think you fail to appreciate (at least from your writing here) is that evil men will be involved in whatever is profitable. And you draw conclusions that what they are involved in is evil. But the mob can be involved in illicit drugs or alcohol. But the immorality of the mob doesn’t make the drugs or the alcohol immoral. I don’t like oil cartels, or artificially inflating (or deflating) oil prices. I don’t like that money from wealthy endeavours is… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
3 years ago
Reply to  bethyada

I certainly feel that people carrying out evil will be involved in whatever is profitable. That’s probably a good reason for us to stop so blindly satisfying the urges created by those trying to make everything about making profit, and why we might want to start looking towards economic systems that don’t reward and encourage greed so blatantly. Of course, no economic system can make greed disappear. But while no one can make lust disappear either, there are obviously environments which increase lust, and environments which at least reduce it to our sinful hearts’ more typical background noise. How is… Read more »

demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
3 years ago
Reply to  bethyada

“But oil and coal are a good that God is pleased to give us. I enjoy the fact that they have made energy cheap and aided many of the world’s poor to live richer lives.” I appreciate your overall point, but it should be noted that passenger pigeons and whale oil are also goods that God was pleased to give us. However, the exploitation of those goods can have deleterious consequences. It is not turning up your nose at God’s gift to use wisdom and understanding in deciding when the exploitation of a resource should be held back. There are… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
3 years ago
Reply to  bethyada

I’m still not sure at all where you come up with the idea that fossil fuel energy “disproportionately helps the poor”. Beyond the wars, poorly governed states, terrorism, etc. that we were discussing earlier, and even forgetting about climate change for now, there’s the direct effects of the immediate pollution which certainly disproportionately affect the poor. A new study has quantified this:

https://qz.com/1071421/this-is-how-much-of-your-life-air-pollution-is-stealing-from-you-based-on-where-you-live/

John Callaghan
John Callaghan
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Johnathan,

From your link:

in India, air pollution can cut a person’s lifespan by four years on average

The solution for this is actually fossil fuels. That is because the main source of pollution is not big, coal-fired power plants – it’s tiny, wood and dung -fired cooking stoves:

30% of the country’s outdoor air pollution is due to household energy combustion. In some districts, household air pollution contributes up to 50% of outdoor air pollution

This can be entirely remedied by LPG stoves which produce no particulate matter.

bethyada
bethyada
3 years ago

It means a lot of CO2, that’s what it means.

Whatever drives this I think it would be good to raise the percent in the atmosphere and increasingly green the earth. I think levels closer to 1000 ppm would be immensely beneficial.

paulm01
paulm01
3 years ago
Reply to  bethyada

I’m always thinking that while plowing a four-footer…not that I’d rather have no moisture in the Rockies, just that it does get tedious on occasion moving all that climate change around so I can get to work.

bethyada
bethyada
3 years ago

The Scriptures promise us that the world is going to end as a glorious Garden City, and what does that mean? It means a lot of CO2, that’s what it means. I look at the current cities and note that they want them to grow up not out. Now I don’t mind tall buildings and an aerial view of major US cities is quite pretty, even so, there is a push for our largest city to fix its boundaries and grow up. But there is a lack of housing and a lack of roading. I suspect that transport will actually… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
3 years ago
Reply to  bethyada

There are two fairly major problems with suburbs. One is that they are fiscally unsustainable, a terrible idea for infrastructure efficiency-wise, meaning that at this point suburbs only exist financially through increasing debt and the pyramid scheme of constant growth. Do any search for suburbs and “fiscally unsustainable” or “fiscal crisis” or such and you’ll see that this has become a recognized issue. I’d suspect this is likely true as far as energy efficiency goes as well. More importantly to me, suburbs as currently conceived are one of the worst models for maintaining any sense of community. They are the… Read more »

bethyada
bethyada
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Perhaps when they are run on government models which over-regulate, charge rates for unnecessary things, and insist on providing what the market can offer.

But if councils solely dealt with infrastructure things may be a lot better. Let men look after their own plots of land.

Jonathan
Jonathan
3 years ago
Reply to  bethyada

I’m not sure how that addresses the difficulty that suburbs have in fostering community.

As far as your claims that overregulation is the issue, I don’t know where you get support from that. Even though poor regulations always cause problems (both under- and over-), there’s a simple issue with low-density urban sprawl that is fundamentally problematic financially.

https://www.strongtowns.org/the-growth-ponzi-scheme/

bethyada
bethyada
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Jonathan, that is a problem of borrowing. I don’t advocate government debt.

And our suburbs have a lot of real community. I doubt concrete jungles are better at fostering community.

Jonathan
Jonathan
3 years ago
Reply to  bethyada

Then perhaps we should start looking for solutions outside of both concrete jungles and suburban sprawl?

Jonathan
Jonathan
3 years ago
Reply to  bethyada

Saying it is a “problem of borrowing” is silly when the “problem of borrowing” exists BECAUSE the concept has financial issues in the first place. It’s the issue of trying to build a very spread-out, distributed infrastructure across wide areas that are artificially concentrated towards residential zones.

dchammers
dchammers
3 years ago
Reply to  bethyada

Why would a garden mean lots of CO2?

bethyada
bethyada
3 years ago
Reply to  dchammers

That’s Doug’s statement. Perhaps he means we are going to need a lot of CO2 to make this garden city?

There is a lot of carbon locked up in coal which used to be plants.

paulm01
paulm01
3 years ago
Reply to  dchammers

Because it necessitates life, both plant and human.

dchammers
dchammers
3 years ago

I wonder how many millions have died from / over oil?

Jonathan
Jonathan
3 years ago
Reply to  dchammers

From Iraq to Iran to Saudi Arabia to Nigeria to Russia to Al Queda to Venezuela. to Qatar to ISIS…the dictatorships, corruption, war and terrorism that have been funded by our addition to oil have been incredible. Just like with gold and diamonds, throwing lots of money at people for the random fact that they happen to be sitting on some underground resource we want seems to be one of the best ways to create incredible power disparities and terribly run states that result in tremendous human suffering. Also seems to trigger our own government into making horrific and indefensible… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
3 years ago
Reply to  dchammers

Scientific studies showing large death figures only count when we’re discussing windmills and birds. According to the author that Pastor Wilson is praising, all those claims of millions of deaths due to air pollution are a farce. He might ignore the funding of Saudi Arabia, Iran, Saddam, Isis, Al Queda, Qatar, and Boko Haram altogether. The fact that Putin only survives as a power with his petro-money. And pretend that our overthrow of a democratic government in Iran (leading to the Iranian Revolution and the Iran-Iraq War), followed by our shipping of weapons to both sides of the Iran-Iraq War… Read more »

dchammers
dchammers
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Was it Stalin(?) – A single death, a tragedy. A million deaths, a statistic.

demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
3 years ago

This is one of a number of frustrating topics for Christian scientists. Unfortunately Christians in my denomination and movement tend toward conspiratorial stances on scientific findings which makes a discussion of evidence fruitless. If you believe that researchers are cooking evidence in order to seize more control over the economy, or support relativistic morality, or whatever else, then you are going to be impervious to truth claims. We are stuck on an infantile debate about whether human action can cause world wide dramatic changes. We are still at square 1. We should be having far more meaningful debates about what… Read more »

Carl
Carl
3 years ago

Now all we need to do is get over this preposterous notion that the hydrocarbons we call crude oil are “fossil fuels”. How many dinosaur bones do we really think are at 40,000 feet. That is over 7.5 miles down folks.
Fossils at 7.5 miles down? 1st year rough necks know better than that.
Maybe in an Edgar Rice Burroughs novel. That is the same place we have red men on Mars.

Jonathan
Jonathan
3 years ago

A paper with quite a good point was published:

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2015/aug/25/heres-what-happens-when-you-try-to-replicate-climate-contrarian-papers

It could be wrong, but if so deserves a good rebuttal. What is the strong argument against man-made global warming that has been proven and replicated and gained a consensus?

John Callaghan
John Callaghan
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Ironically, that paper engaged in the very practices that it condemned: cherry-picking. The authors picked the weakest “climate contrarian” papers they could find and presented them as negatively as possible.

Their paper was rejected by five different friendly journals for that reason until they finally found one willing to publish it.

Judith Curry has a good round up of the problems with the paper and the whole “97% consensus” meme in general.

Jonathan
Jonathan
3 years ago
Reply to  John Callaghan

No, it was NOT rejected from “five different friendly journals” for “cherry-picking,” and as far as I know you made up the accusation that they picked the “weakest climate contrarian” papers they could find. Neither of those claims is made anywhere in the paper you linked. The actual main reasons given by those journals for rejection was because it was a literature review rather than a scientific study and because a reviewer felt it inappropriate to critique papers in a journal other than the one they were published in. One reviewer did say the selection was arbitry, which the authors… Read more »

John Callaghan
John Callaghan
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan

The official reviews of the paper when it was submitted to Earth System Dynamics (one of the journals that rejected it) were all quite scathing. Here’s an example: The central question that is raised immediately by the paper is whether agnotology exclusively is the playing field of those who criticise the ostensible consensus position on human-induced climate change or whether it is found in the latter as well, e.g. as to manufacture some kind of consensus. Thus, on what grounds do the authors think that human-induced climate change is scientifically well established and thus beyond any scrutiny? (Indeed, which position… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
3 years ago
Reply to  John Callaghan

While certainly scathing, it doesn’t even come close to supporting any of the claims you made about why the paper was rejected from that journal.

You might have missed the part where one of those Earth System Dynamics reviews was written by a scientist whose work was lambasted in the paper. i would think that would be a declared conflict of interest that should have led him to disqualify himself from the review, right?

John Callaghan
John Callaghan
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan

It would be odd situation if criticizing someone’s work also disqualified him from responding. Here’s an excerpt from that review by Ross McKitrick: The BHDCN paper is a bait-and-switch, in which the authors propose a scholarly essay on the methodology of science, then proceed to deliver something quite different: a scattershot of shallow commentary on a list of climatology papers with which they disagree. It is perfectly valid to publish critiques of papers, but they should be written as such, not offered parenthetically in an essay supposedly on another topic. We are asked to take it as “proven” that the… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
3 years ago
Reply to  John Callaghan

Criticizing someone’s work shouldn’t “prevent them from responding”, but it certainly should exclude them from the decision-making process of whether or not that criticism will be published.

It would be like assigning a judge to hear the appeal of his own decision when the plaintiff’s argument is that the judge ruled incompetently. It could be done, but it’s probably going to be an exercise in silliness.

John Callaghan
John Callaghan
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Under ESDD’s interactive review process, the final decision to publish or not lies with the editor – not the reviewers. Further, the paper’s authors are allowed to respond to reviews as they are publicly posted and then are given the opportunity to make their final case for publication without rebuttal from the reviewers. At the end of the review and response period, the editor shared his reasons for rejecting the paper: Third, while much is made that so-and-so made mistakes, much of that characterization relies solely on the authors’ stated opinion. … Let me emphasize this point since it goes… Read more »

Katecho
Katecho
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Jonathan wrote: … as I know you made up the accusation that they picked the “weakest climate contrarian” papers they could find. Because attributing warming to the orbital cycles of Jupiter and Saturn is a major counter-theory? I bet climate doom skeptics got a chuckle out of that one. In any case, I’m actually delighted to see Jonathan resort to such limp articles and arguments in support of climate doom. It reveals the level of desperation, distraction, and tribalism that the whole thing has collapsed into, and how willing some people are to corrupt the meaning of actual science. I… Read more »

Katecho
Katecho
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Jonathan wrote: What is the strong argument against man-made global warming that has been proven and replicated and gained a consensus? Jonathan wins the prize for asking the wrong question. First, real science doesn’t need consensus, so that’s a false criteria. Second, the climate doom hypothesis, if it is a scientific claim, must stand on its own merits, so Jonathan’s burden shifting attempt won’t do. Third, both sides are dealing with models and extrapolations, and neither side has access to replication on a global scale, so if Jonathan really wants to talk about replication, let’s talk about that elephant. Setting… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
3 years ago

A new study out on just how much those fossil fuels are “blessing” developing nations:

https://qz.com/1071421/this-is-how-much-of-your-life-air-pollution-is-stealing-from-you-based-on-where-you-live/