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The $500-a-barrel professors!

Posted by feww on January 4, 2008

What should I believe?

My professor says if peak oil were true and the price of oil reached even $500 a barrel, our living standard would decline by about 11 percent, but there would be great opportunities for us to get wealthier. He also says global warming is a hoax, despite all the goings on. What should I believe?

Sheila W.

FEWW Says:

Hello Sheila

Are you by any chance at University of California, Davis? Ask your professor how long, say, the McDonalds chain could stay in business if they were to raise the price of their Big Mac to $20 a throw (the content has already been adjusted to account for the $100-a-barrel oil), or kept the price steady, but shrunk the bun down to the size of a silver dollar and filled it with dime-sized, bacon-thin burgers, while the punters income stayed the same. Could they really stay in business and get wealthier under those circumstances?

Peak oil is a natural phenomenon; it’s NO hoax. Unfortunately, the “caballeros” of peak oil have caused lots of unnecessary confusion by disseminating false, or unreliable data. Peak oil was initially predicted to occur in 2000; it was then postponed to 2010, 2006, 2005 and 2010 again!

Unfortunately, Global Warming, too, is a stark reality. The opinions concerning Global Warming normally fall into seven broad categories:

I. How could global warming be true if it goes against my future plans, or interests? Besides, my boss [professor, president/vice president/government’s chief scientists] says there’s no such thing!

II. Global Warming is a natural, cyclical phenomenon and has nothing to do with human activity or carbon emissions, and there is absolutely zilch we can do to stop it. So, enjoy life while you can. [The government’s ‘star chamber’ advisers, scholars, ‘experts’, airline owners, oil company executives, unscrupulous journalists… fall into category I and II above.]

III. Global Warming or whatnot, the Church and believers shall be saved from the coming great tribulation by Rapture. [Most of the lawmakers fall into this category!]

IV. Don’t know who or what to believe! If the bloody scientists can’t make up their minds, how could you be sure what’s really happening?

V. Global Warming is an Al Gore thing. He won the presidency, but handed it over to the other guy. How could you possibly trust him or believe anything he says? [Note: Unlike Internet :), global warming was NOT invented by Al Gore!]

VI. Global warming must be the result of human activity because never before have we had so many people driving, flying and using so much stuff on this planet. [NO evidential proof, so it may be a strawman argument!]

VII. Scientific evidence backed by observational data clearly show global warming is caused by human activity. This is the view shared by thousands of “non-aligned” scientists globally.

For anyone who still doubts anthropocentric [human-caused] global warming, but is willing to learn, the issue should be hammered home in relation to the state of Earth’s failing ecosystems. There’s a direct relationship between human activity, climate change and the eminent collapse of ecosystems.

Ecosystems Responsible for Provisioning Services:

1. The capture fisheries are rapidly declining due to overharvest.
2. Production of wild food is declining due to overharvest, deforestation, change of land use…
3. Production of wood fuel is declining.
4. Genetic resources are being lost through extinction, and crop genetic resource loss.
5. Biochemicals, natural medicine and pharmaceuticals are being lost through extinction and overharvest.

6. [Alarming] global shortages of water for drinking, irrigation and industrial use is reported globally.

Ecosystems Responsible for Regulating Services:

7. Air quality regulation system. The ability of the atmosphere to cleanse itself is declining.

8. Climate regulation system. Negative impact of regional and local cause are exponentially overwhelming the climate regulation system.

9. Erosion regulation. Soil degradation is increasing globally.
10. Water purification and waste treatment. Water quality is declining.
11. Pest regulation. The use of pesticides has degraded the natural control systems.
12. Pollination. The numbers of pollinators are declining globally.
13. Natural hazard regulation. Vast areas of natural buffers like wetlands and mangroves have disappeared.

Cultural services
14. Spiritual and religious values. The researchers have documented “rapid decline in sacred groves and species”.
15. Aesthetic values. The quantity and quality of natural lands have declined.

If you find the scientific evidence of Global Warming too confusing, or can’t understand the data, consider this: Based on the facts concerning the collapsing ecosystems and on the balance of probability, is it more, or less likely that Global Warming is anthropogenic?

See also:

Best Wishes

FEWW Moderators

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