Good News for the Global Warming Concerned: Fossil Fuel is a Finite Resource, so the Free Market will Take Care of its Demise

Seymour Flops

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Nov 25, 2021
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A worthy read, for anyone truly interested in the AGW issue. They get their facts correct, as near as I can tell without personally verifying each one. I disagree with some of their conclusions, which doesnt' make them wrong, but here I argue that some are wrong.

I'll point out in blue font what is fact and what is opinion/conclusions/predictions, etc, for those not quite sure of the difference.

LIMIT OF FOSSIL FUELS

Fact:

In this article we want to point out categorically the fact that there is a LIMIT to the fossil fuels on earth


Unless the current scientific understanding is way, way off, the existing fossil fuels took millions of years to be created by natural forces acting upon buried remains of living organisms. So, of course, it is finite and will run out if we are consuming it as we use is, which we are.

Creative License:

that we are gobbling up.

"Gobbling up," is supposed to be an emotive phrase, but that goes to show that the best scientists are not necessarily the best creative writers, because it just comes off childish.

Conclusion:

We are oblivious of the fact that there will be a time, measured in decades, when these fuels will run out.


I have no idea why the authors would think that they are the only ones who know that. I've known it since I was a kid during "the Energy Crises." So, it is an incorrect conclusion. But that is only a conclusion on my part.

Fact, but Incomplete

Because of global population rise, there is a growing demand for energy.


Yes, but not just because of the population rise. There is also the fact that developing nations are more and more blessed with industry, which is the only thing that will pull an agricultural-based population out of poverty. More industry = more progress, but also = more fossil fuels being burnt.

Conclusion with which I strongly agree:

Since our society is so dependent on fossil fuels, it therefore is extremely important for us to know when these fuels will run out according to [4]:

Conclusion/Estimates - that make sense to me:

Oil will end by 2052 – 30 years time

Gas will end by 2060 – 40 years time

Coal will last till 2090 – 70 years time

However, according to BP [5], earth has 53 years of oil reserves left at current rate of consumption.


So, let's say 30 to 50 years, give or take an unknown number of decades, depending on the breaks.

As far as I know, nearly everyone knows this. It isn't controversial.

From the standpoint of an AGW alarmist, that should be good news indeed. Finally, the long fossil fuel nightmare that started with the Industrial revolution will end.

Is it good news for energy companies? Think before uncovering the spoiler:

Hell, yes, it is!

Not only are energy companies fully aware of the finite nature of fossil fuels, they feel it in thier profit-motivated bones. First, they will make as much money as they can by harvesting and delivering the shrinking supply of fossil fuels. Meanwhile, they will develop non-fossil fuels - known as "renewables" and start selling that renewable energy as soon as dwindling oil supplies make it more expensive than the renewables.

In that sense, the free market will not eliminate the use of fossil fuels, but will (for profit) efficiently facilitate the transition, as fossil fuels inevitibly run out. As so often, the profiteers will benefit most, but they will benefit by providing benefit to all.

The article goes on . . .

Nuclear energy

Fact:

As fossil fuels begin to disappear, nuclear power is becoming more and more prominent because it is the only alternative base system capable of providing electricity continuously 24 hours a day. It is carbon-free, vital to our clean energy future. It was first developed in the 1950s and since then its safety features have been much improved. Now over 11% of the world’s electricity is produced from nuclear energy. Nuclear grew by 3.3% in 2018 mainly as a result of new capacity in China and the restart of 4 reactors in Japan [17].

Yeah, say . . . anyone old enough to remember who it was that argued, lobbied, and protested to prevent the U.S. from developing nuclear energy, as France, for example, did?

Was it ultra-conservative radio talkers? No . . . no, not them.

Was it the Republican National Committee? Mmm, no.

Ah . . . was it Donald Trump? Well, not him either.

Here is a hint:

Twelve states currently have restrictions on the construction of new nuclear power facilities: California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont.

So, the only reason the free market has not already sharply reduced the use of fossil fuels is due to regulations, and the threat of regulations due to pressure from groups such as Friends of the Earth, International:

Friends of the Earth International (FoEI) is an international network of grassroots environmental organizations in 73 countries. About half of the member groups call themselves "Friends of the Earth" in their own languages; the others use other names.[2] The organization was founded in 1969 in San Francisco by David Brower, Donald Aitken and Gary Soucie after Brower's split with the Sierra Club[3] because of the latter's positive approach to nuclear energy.

What a surprise, the same people who want to end fossil fuels, also prevented development of the only currently available realistic alternative to fossil fuels. There always was a lot of overlap between people who wanted to stop nuclear power, and people who wanted the U.S. to dismantle its nuclear weapons. I was never sure that such groups actually knew the difference between nuclear power and nuclear weapons.
 
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How about the raw materials used to produce batteries for EV?
They are finite, also. I think much of those raw materials can be recycled.

But, sure. Anything that relies on digging material out of the Earth is bound to reach a point at which there is no more to be had. Long before that, it will start getting more and more expensive to dig it out, and that will drive development of alternatives.

I can't imagine the alternative to batteries to store electricity, but I'm sure people once could not imagine the alternative to the horse.
 


The term "fossil fuel" is bullshit.

Hydrocarbons are being produced continuously beneath the surface. We will replace the technology with something superior if we allow people to innovate and prosper and may never run out.
 


The term "fossil fuel" is bullshit.

Hydrocarbons are being produced continuously beneath the surface. We will replace the technology with something superior if we allow people to innovate and prosper and may never run out.

I almost mentioned that idea, but I know little about it.

Could you explain in your own words this theory? The idea of dead plants and dinosaurs piling up, being buried and then chemically changed into crude oil, coal, and natural gas, never made much sense to me.

I have accepted it, out of trust for people paid to be smarter than I, but we see how making that assumption can often be fallacious.
 
I almost mentioned that idea, but I know little about it.

Could you explain in your own words this theory? The idea of dead plants and dinosaurs piling up, being buried and then chemically changed into crude oil, coal, and natural gas, never made much sense to me.

I have accepted it, out of trust for people paid to be smarter than I, but we see how making that assumption can often be fallacious.
My understanding is that these hydrocarbons are created naturally. Saturn's moon Titan for instance has oceans of liquid methane IIRC, and there probably were no dinosaurs there and even less likely, cattle ranches.
 
As fossil fuels begin to disappear, nuclear power is becoming more and more prominent because it is the only alternative base system capable of providing electricity continuously 24 hours a day. It is carbon-free, vital to our cl
That’s bullshit. Hydro power runs continuously and never needs refueling. The sun is on 24/7….when was the last time the sun went out ? When was the last time the tides stoped going in and out. When was geothermal energy give out…?

Bullshit. We always are at war over fossil fuels. .
 
The free market sucks hard at planning. It only cares about short-term gain.

Anyone who understands economics understands that simple point, unless they're blind dogmatic free-market worshippers who completely ignore history, in which case there's no point talking to them.

Example: Easter Island. As the trees ran out, each remaining tree became more valuable, so the Free Market there ... caused everyone to race to cut down the last trees and profit from it.

If we pull all the fossil fuel out of the ground and burn it, earth suffers a catastrophe. The Free Market would let that happen. Thus, it's necessary for governments to step in and stop that.
 
My understanding is that these hydrocarbons are created naturally.
Yeah "massive algae deposits being put under pressure for millions of years" is a natural process.

Now, abiotic oil theory, the claim that oil in mass quantities can be produced without a biological precursor, that's kookery.

We know that because nobody has ever found any of this abiotic oil, beyond the trace few gallons that everyone expected. And we know it because all oil contains chemical traces of the algae that it came from.
 
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The free market sucks hard at planning. It only cares about short-term gain.

Anyone who understands economics understands that simple point, unless they're blind dogmatic free-market worshippers who completely ignore history, in which case there's no point talking to them.

Example: Easter Island. As the trees ran out, each remaining tree became more valuable, so the Free Market there ... caused everyone to race to cut down the last trees and profit from it.

If we pull all the fossil fuel out of the ground and burn it, earth suffers a catastrophe. The Free Market would let that happen. Thus, it's necessary for governments to step in and stop that.
Exactly….the free market left to its own devices, profits, pollutes and moves on.
 
...nobody has ever found any of this abiotic oil, beyond the trace few gallons that everyone expected. And we know it because all oil contains genetic traces of the algae that it came from.
Are you aware that on Titan (a moon of Saturn) there are oceans of oil? There's more oil discovered there than all the proven reserves on earth. All that oil is "abiotic" and it raises serious questions about this whole notion of "fossil" fuels.

Construction materials is a different story. All limestone is created by sea life. Nobody's worried about running out of that tho...
 
Are you aware that on Titan (a moon of Saturn) there are oceans of oil? There's more oil discovered there than all the proven reserves on earth. All that oil is "abiotic" and it raises serious questions about this whole notion of "fossil" fuels.

Construction materials is a different story. All limestone is created by sea life. Nobody's worried about running out of that tho...
So, you really like air pollution and fighting all these wars and watching immigrants clambering at the gates, all because of pollution you really love…..clean coal, that’s your dream ?
 
That’s bullshit. Hydro power runs continuously and never needs refueling. The sun is on 24/7….when was the last time the sun went out ? When was the last time the tides stoped going in and out. When was geothermal energy give out…?

Bullshit. We always are at war over fossil fuels. .
Sure, Hydro power, solar power, and geothermal power may someday be viable economically. But my statement was about what IS capable, not what may someday be capable.

Sand, and we’re running out of construction sand.
I believe a trip to the nearest beach might put your mind to rest.
 
Sure, Hydro power, solar power, and geothermal power may someday be viable economically. But my statement was about what IS capable, not what may someday be capable.


I believe a trip to the nearest beach might put your mind to rest.
What seems like an eternity for the changeovers is still happening steadily….most new equipment comes on line as the old needs replacing. That’s what slows it down, not the feasibility of it. Much of the change over is dependent upon infrastructure projects, which is the govt responsibility For.
All of these renewables are proven and capable as their cost per gigawatt hour is equal,or less than fossil fuel plants.
 
Sure, Hydro power, solar power, and geothermal power may someday be viable economically. But my statement was about what IS capable, not what may someday be capable.


I believe a trip to the nearest beach might put your mind to rest.
In talking with a local car dealer which constructed a solar farm a few miles from his dealership, they sell the power to the local grid and with reverse metering pay little to,nothing for the power they need at the dealership. The big problem, like with the electric cars they sell , it has the problem that it displaces much of the labor that used to be needed and is more of a labor management problem than power.

Renewables are really cheap with no fuel costs and minimal maintenance, just like electric cars. There is a big adjust ment in labor side which where most of the delay will occur.
 
In talking with a local car dealer which constructed a solar farm a few miles from his dealership, they sell the power to the local grid and with reverse metering pay little to,nothing for the power they need at the dealership. The big problem, like with the electric cars they sell , it has the problem that it displaces much of the labor that used to be needed and is more of a labor management problem than power.

Renewables are really cheap with no fuel costs and minimal maintenance, just like electric cars. There is a big adjust ment in labor side which where most of the delay will occur.
One wonders why electric companies are still using diesel generators, if windmills and solar panels can give them nearly free electricity to sell.
 

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