The image above seems very fitting for the following Globe and Mail article — an article on an ‘issue’ that was also picked up by news media all over the globe yesterday:
One of the world’s top climate scientists has calculated that emissions from Alberta’s oil sands are unlikely to make a big difference to global warming and that the real threat to the planet comes from burning coal.
“I was surprised by the results of our analysis,” said Andrew Weaver, a University of Victoria climate modeller, who has been a lead author on two reports from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. “I thought it was larger than it was.”
In a commentary published Sunday in the prestigious journal Nature, Weaver and colleague Neil Swart analyze how burning all global stocks of coal, oil and natural gas would affect temperatures. Their analysis breaks out unconventional gas, such as undersea methane hydrates and shale gas produced by fracking, as well as unconventional oil sources including the oil sands.
They found that if all the hydrocarbons in the oil sands were mined and consumed, the carbon dioxide released would raise global temperatures by about 0.36 degrees C. That’s about half the total amount of warming over the last century.
When only commercially viable oil sands deposits are considered, the temperature increase is only .03 degrees C.
Ummm, doctor lads, thanks for the “modeling”… and number crunching… but what about the cumulative impact of burning all that shit at the same time…?
What are the impacts of having coal emission, gas emissions, and oil emissions all happening at the same time?
And, ummmm, what about the fact that certain models suggest that even if we stopped burning every fossil fuel right now — that the climate would continue to warm for decades, if not the next century?
(apparently Dr. Weaver doesn’t buy that argument either… cuz numbers don’t lie…)
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…research showing that on a global scale, oil-sands emissions are not the dark-shirted villain some have made them out to be. That research, published in the journal Nature and co-authored by one of Canada’s most respected climate scientists, throws a wrench into the debate over an energy source whose reputed “dirtiness” has sparked fiery debate around the world.
The research, by University of Victoria scientists Andrew Weaver and Neil Swart, calculates the climate impact of producing the oil sands. Dr. Weaver is an internationally respected scientist who has contributed to United Nations climate-change documents. He and Dr. Swart completed several analyses.
The most important examined the impact of producing the roughly 170 billion barrels of oil-sands crude that the industry currently considers economic to produce. If it’s all hauled out of the ground – a process that will take more than a century, even at the forecast 2020 rate of three million barrels a day – the cumulative global-warming impact is 0.02 to 0.05 degrees Celsius, according to the research.
By comparison, burning all of the world’s enormous coal resources would raise temperatures 15 degrees, while consuming the new global bounty of shale gas would produce a lift of just under 3 degrees. (Using up economically accessible reserves of natural gas and coal will raise temperatures 0.16 and 0.9 degrees, respectively.)
[ummm, Dr. Weaver, doesn’t the process of extracting the oil bitumen from the tar sands take enormous amounts of natural gas? Oh right, forgot about that part…]
Thankfully the CBC running of an article on this issue captures that point:
Weaver’s analysis only accounts for emissions from burning the fuel. It doesn’t count greenhouse gases released by producing the resource because that would double-count those emissions.
He said his paper is an attempt to bring some perspective to the often-fraught debate over oilsands development, which continues to cause major concerns about the impact on land, air and water. And emissions from producing oilsands crude are making it very tough for Canada to meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets.
“We’ve heard a lot about how if we burn all the oil in the tarsands it’s going to lead to this, that and the other. We thought, ‘Well, let’s take a look at this. What is the warming potential of this area?’ and the numbers are what they are.”
Hmmm, I wonder how many old-time scientists are rolling in their graves?
The numbers “are what they are” Dr. Weaver?
Come on… it’s not like “numbers” are some naturally produced phenomenon, of which we humans have absolutely no control (like climate, for example).
No, Dr. Weaver, numbers are something that are produced by humans [now through computer programming] for human interpretation and consumption — something of which is often misinterpreted, or skewed, or not considered, or (add in other problem here).
[of course not captured in all of this hoopla is that ‘small’ little issue of cancerous-tumour filled fish that live downstream of tar sands operations, significantly increased levels of cancer in the human communities, the legacy of these tar sands operations living on for a long, long, long time — long past the time that all the economic benefits have been forgotten in some bail-out package]
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The Globe article:
Travis Davies, a spokesman for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, said it is “important” that analyses like Dr. Weaver’s are being done, since it might help calm “the inflamed rhetoric from the other side.”
Uh, yeah, duh…
That’s what happens when folks start spewing out ‘research’ and ‘numbers’ in “prestigious academic journals” suggesting that: “look the numbers don’t lie”
Hmmm. Wasn’t that the same argument fronted by the Enron cronies…?
No, folks, numbers can dance to any music we put to them.
And those apparently uncontrollable “numbers” become all the more ‘fraught’ when we accompany them with typed up commentary… and hence the illustration above.
Some folks should maybe simply be sent a keyboard that looks similar to the one above…
The discussion of climate change, tar sands development, coal mining, and the like — should be “often-fraught”… that is “fraught” which means:
1. Filled with a specified element or elements; charged.
2. Marked by or causing distress; emotional.
Curiously enough… the roots of the word ‘fraught’ suggest it is very close to “freight”, and comes from a similar place fraght “cargo, lading of a ship” (early 13c.)
And, ghad knows, the tar sands industry (and the current fed gov. that supports it) will be loading their ships with this cargo of: “oh look, the tar sands are benign… look at Dr. Weaver’s numbers… they don’t lie.”
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I love this line the most… it’s used in several of the articles:
Governments around the world have agreed to try to keep warming to two degrees.
WELL… THANK GOODNESS for that!!
“The Governments have agreed” to keep warming to two degrees.
Well, hallelujah, kumbaya… i was actually starting to worry here… but the governments have agreed, so there is nothing to worry about… (just keep those silly emotions out of things people… they just cause “fraught” and emotion…)
Just wondering when “the governments” got that 1-800 direct line to the GREAT GUIDING FORCE, aka ghad for some, to make sure she/he keeps the warming below two degrees?
What a farce. This is scientific bumpf at its finest.
Just like the ‘scientists’ that continue to insist that we can “manage” wild salmon. Or the ‘scientist’- economists that figure we can manipulate the growing bubble of debt around the globe to make sure the “have’s” of the world stay in their little bubble…
Maybe someone could go ask folks living in the Arctic nations of the world how they feel about: “the governments agreeing to keep warming to only two degrees”?
Or the 80%, or so, of the planet’s population that lives in that tiny ribbon of land bordering the world’s oceans called: THE COAST. “Just two degrees” will probably only have a ‘minor’ impact…
[the world’s insurance industry sure as hell doesn’t think so.. they’re in an epic panic “fraught” with emotion]