Blogs, environment, politics, technology and the kitchen link, often all in one post!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Peak Oil vs. Global Warming

David Friedman points out an apparent contradiction in the arguments of those who believe both peak oil and global warming are problems:
A recent post on FuturePundit cites some interesting calculations by CalTech professor Dave Rutledge. Using the estimation approach on which current, widespread concerns about running out of petroleum are based, he finds that the IPCC global warming calculations overestimate future hydrocarbon burning by a factor of at least three or four--because the hydrocarbons are not there to be burned.
Nice try, but Kitchen Linker illustrated how both could be problems in Dangerous conflation of global warming and peak oil:

Clinton to Start $1 Billion Renewable Energy Fund, quote from WaPo:

"The Earth is warming at an alarming rate, we are running out of fossil fuels, and it is long past time for us to take action to correct these problems," Clinton said.
I applaud these efforts, but ain't the symmetry ... ironic, dreamlike, unlikely, ??? Actually there is no symmetry and the above is a gross oversimplification -- we're nowhere near to running out of coal or low quality oil sources (tar sands and shale), each of which is worse for the environment and global warming in particular than high grade crude that we are slowly running out of. So yes, efforts like Clinton's and Branson's are desperately needed, but they undersell the case!
David Friedman, in this kitchen doing nothing (still) is a false choice.

1 comment:

David Friedman said...

If you look at Rutledge's calculations, to which I linked in my post that you cited, you will see that he is at least attempting to allow for all sources of hydrocarbons for energy. I don't know if he gets it right, but his calculation is surely worth more than your bare assertion.