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back to article AARGH! We're ALL DOOMED, bellows UN - right on schedule

With the next round of international climate change talks looming, the usual sources are issuing the usual warnings that if massive cuts in carbon emissions aren't agreed then we're definitely really doomed this time. This time it's the UN Environment Programme, which has just lobbed out a report saying that the "Greenhouse Gas …

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Mushroom

Butt plug those volcanoes NOW!!!!!

It's the only way we can save ourselves. Won't somebody think of the children.. etc....

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An anagram of Lewis Page...

Sewage Lip

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Re: An anagram of Lewis Page...

Says "Older Action".

Did you have a point?

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g e
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Re: An anagram of Lewis Page...

Wig, Please

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Trollface

Re: An anagram of Lewis Page...

weasel pig

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Trollface

Re: An anagram of Lewis Page...

Says "Hey Big Nit"

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Re: An anagram of Lewis Page...

"Agile Spew"

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Re: An anagram of Lewis Page...

An anagram of "global warming": bullshit.

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WTF?

An anagram of Alien Doctor

Red Location

Yes, this system seems to work...

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Alert

Sorry, third world, you need to STAY POOR

Seems jolly unfair to suggest that developing countries should stop their industrialisation, and the third world should stay undeveloped, just so the west can retain their standard of living.

'Cos realistically that's the only way CO2 production is going to stabilise and fall. Not going to happen, is it...

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Happy

Re: Sorry, third world, you need to STAY POOR

But- you are neglecting the contribution of... Hippo farts.

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Re: Sorry, third world, you need to STAY POOR

FACT: There is not enough resources to go round!

Unfair yes, but you'll be screaming for the goverment to do something when your new car, electric bills, living bills get 2-5x more expensive because demand outstrips supply, you find you can no longer live the life you want.

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Re: Sorry, third world, you need to STAY POOR

"FACT: There is not enough resources to go round!"

A fact - really? Says who? Or are you just parroting some green eco-balls you heard?

Here's a real fact: forecasts of peak oil, peak this or that have all proved wrong, time and again. Peak bullshit certainly has, although the rate at which greenpeace and the other acolytes of the CO2 cargo cult spew forth the essence of the farmyard, you wonder...

Something we might actually run out of is neodymium. You know, the magnet stuff used in those "sustainable" windmills that don't work. "Rare earth" - clue's in the name.

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Re: Sorry, third world, you need to STAY POOR

"A fact - really? Says who? "

Says the electric and gas bill that popped through your letter box the other day! Unless you house is powered and heated by fairy dust..

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Re: Sorry, third world, you need to STAY POOR

"Says the electric and gas bill that popped through your letter box the other day"

Just checked my bill - doesn't say there isn't enough resources to go around anywhere on it, I checked both sides.

Seriously, that club of rome stuff was thoroughly debunked in the 70's (you know, back when climate scientists were all screaming "ice age approaching").

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Re: Sorry, third world, you need to STAY POOR

"FACT: There is not enough resources to go round!"

1 - "There ARE..."

2 - You know, there have been stupid people like you in EVERY generation. Historians have complaints from Greek city-states of 400BC that there will soon not be enough land in Greece to feed everybody. And that was when there were about 3.5m people there.

Do you remember the government panic in the early 1700s, when they worked out that there would not be enough oak trees to keep building navy ships by 1850? And yet, in 1900, we had the biggest navy in the world.

People don't seem to realise that resources are not just the things you are using at the moment. They are ALL the things that human ingenuity can put together to do a job. Most of which we can't recognise as resources until someone works out how to use them.

Last I heard, human ingenuity has no limits. Unless you know differently?

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Re: Sorry, third world, you need to STAY POOR

>>Last I heard, human ingenuity has no limits. Unless you know differently?<<

"Only two things are infinite. The Universe and human stupidity; and I'm not too sure about the first one"

Albert Einstein

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Stop

Re: Sorry, third world, you need to STAY POOR

"A fact - really? Says who? Or are you just parroting some green eco-balls you heard?"

Erm... no; it's pretty certain that this ball of dirt only contains a finite amount of elements.

It's also pretty certain than the majority of this planet's population don't have enough. Certainly as one of the 0.1% who has potable tap water and a full stomach and a high standard of living I shouldn't be loudly claiming that there is plenty to go round while people are dropping dead of malnutrition.

"Here's a real fact: forecasts of peak oil, peak this or that have all proved wrong, time and again. "

Granted, the rather pessimistic projections based on current production and production techniques were way out, but saying "We will never run out of oil" is clearly... I'm going to say "sticking your head in the sand" rather than my first thought, which was "stupid". It's FINITE. Hell: I've worked for an oil company, and even they knew it was finite. A lot of the 'easy' to exploit stuff is gone. It was the first to go. As we get to the trickier stuff it costs more to get it out of the ground or otherwise produce it. Eventually that runs dry and we either man up to the fact that our wonder-juice is all gone, or we start digging up bits of the planet that we promised that we wouldn't. And then that will run dry as well. Peak Oil forecasts are way out on scale, but that does not make it untrue that we will eventually run dry of fossil fuels... and indeed a bunch of other stuff.

Wandering around chanting "We won't run out of stuff, anyone who says we will is talking eco-balls" is absurd. It's the equivalent of a Greenie thinking we can magic all of our energy out of sodding rainbows and moonbeams.

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Re: Sorry, third world, you need to STAY POOR

"Here's a real fact: forecasts of peak oil, peak this or that have all proved wrong, time and again. "

Interestingly enough...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-20002801

Scroll down and BP themselves forecast 50 years for oil at current technologies. That's BP predicting a 'peak oil' thing, right there. Of course, they probably know jack-all about oil reserves, so we can put them in the eco-balls category and write off what they have to say.

Though, personally, I'd times that by two to account for us figuring out how to get some more out and by the inevitable rape of areas we previously promised not to exploit.

" "Rare earth" - clue's in the name."

Are you even serious? You're stating that the 'juice' that makes your vision works is infinite, yet conveniently the one that the opposing faction needs is doomed. Way to go, reasonable debate.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sorry, third world, you need to STAY POOR

@Psyx: You say there isnt enough resources to go around and Lazy Gun and Dodgy Geezer refuted that. You then seem to have boiled resources down to oil. I dont think any of them have claimed oil is unlimited but since technology moves forward and we have other methods that work for our various needs I would suggest you are knocking down your own argument, not one that they made.

And they are right that oil forcasts have been wrong. And so you put up another from an oil provider assuming that holds more authority. And I will argue it does, "current technologies" removes the notion that this is a peak oil deadline. It is a statement of roughly 50 years minimum. And that is a huge difference.

Your talk of raping the earth assumes you would prefer all to die otherwise we would all consume. By all that must be all consumers which therefore works right down to the bacteria. Your argument seems to call for a rock in space, there are plenly of them already.

As to the rare earth statement he is laughing at the bogus claim of a sustainable technology which relies on rare earth materials, therefore in small supply. Therefore sustainable it isnt. So if you argue against oil as it would run out you will surely first be arguing against the building of sustainable tech which relies on the rare materials requiring the raping of the earth. But only if your argument is honest

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Mushroom

Re: Sorry, third world, you need to STAY POOR

"Unless you house is powered and heated by fairy dust.."

Mine is.

Of course I live in France.

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Holmes

Re: Sorry, third world, you need to STAY POOR

"Lazy Gun and Dodgy Geezer refuted that."

They disagreed with it based on it not fitting their ideals. That doesn't really hold any sway in rational debate. I don't think it's possible to meaningfully refute it, given the cold, hard facts, do you?

"And they are right that oil forcasts have been wrong. And so you put up another from an oil provider assuming that holds more authority."

And I agreed with them. I posted the BBC link because I coincidently happened to read the article shortly after my first comment. The fact that I was immediately fairly dismissive of it would contra-indicate that I believe it holds terribly much real authority... though it's worth noting the source probably has more clue and data to base the forecast on than some Greenie sat in his basement.

"Your talk of raping the earth assumes you would prefer all to die otherwise we would all consume. By all that must be all consumers which therefore works right down to the bacteria. Your argument seems to call for a rock in space, there are plenly of them already."

O_o

I...totally don't understand that paragraph. No offence intended if you're not a native English speaker, but you... might want to read it again and rephrase it... totally.

"As to the rare earth statement he is laughing at the bogus claim of a sustainable technology which relies on rare earth materials, therefore in small supply. Therefore sustainable it isnt. So if you argue against oil as it would run out you will surely first be arguing against the building of sustainable tech which relies on the rare materials requiring the raping of the earth."

I'm mocking his paradoxical argument that resources aren't running out... except to his mind probably the one that is required for something he doesn't want to support anyway. And it's more than windmills that'll be &%$ed if we run out of rare earth magnets. It's nearly as big an issue as running out of oil now that we've established a massive industrial need for them.

However, the difference between oil and rare earth elements is that we've spent quite a lot of money and effort trying to find oil, and only a fraction of the effort looking for rare earth elements, so we're less sure how much we've got. That makes predictions on when it'll run out far more absurd than predictions regarding fossil fuels. Also: Rare Earth elements can exist on Abyssal Plains. Oil doesn't. We haven't even really started looking for Rare Earths there at present.

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Stop

Re: Sorry, third world, you need to STAY POOR

> It's also pretty certain than the majority of this planet's population don't have enough.

Those are political problems. They are nothing to do with resources.

The annual production of foodstuffs is more than enough to feed every man, woman and child in the world.

Seriously, though, there is more energy locked up in the matter of the earth than we could ever imagine what to do with, never mind the sh*t load of it that comes at us constantly from the sun.

We're just remarkably wasteful and do not have the technology sufficiently advanced to make proper use of it...yet.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sorry, third world, you need to STAY POOR

@Psyx: "They disagreed with it based on it not fitting their ideals. That doesn't really hold any sway in rational debate. I don't think it's possible to meaningfully refute it, given the cold, hard facts, do you?"

The fact that you say that kind of ends the debate right there. Yes there are enough resources, because we are talking resources. If we talk of just oil (only you seem to be assuming resources = oil instead of oil = a resource) then you are right it will run out. If we talk of resources then the argument doesnt hold. Forecasts for oils peak have always been wrong because technology improves. Eventually this wont happen but then we will move to another resource.

"I'm mocking his paradoxical argument that resources aren't running out... except to his mind probably the one that is required for something he doesn't want to support anyway. And it's more than windmills that'll be &%$ed if we run out of rare earth magnets. It's nearly as big an issue as running out of oil now that we've established a massive industrial need for them."

And he seemed to be mocking the dumb logic of calling these renewables 'sustainable' while they rely on ripping into the earth to extract a finite resource. The exact argument you are applying to oil. It sounds like your mocking his statement without realising his statement was mocking your position.

The bit you didnt understand was the logical conclusion of your argument. We need resources to survive. So you want to stop digging up the earth for one resource (oil) and so must be against digging up the earth for another (rare earth) once you realise you are arguing for the same damage, but for a different resource. Which means you are actually arguing against any damage to the earth for our consumption. In that case we stop consuming and we die. But the planet is made up of a lot of consumers as well as us. So surely they are wrong and must die. Hence you have a lifeless rock in space.

Sorry if it wasnt too clear. I just thought your position through.

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Re: Sorry, third world, you need to STAY POOR

Renewable power sources can be used over a long period of time and even recycled into newer sources.

Oil and coal are burnt and then gone.

Jumping from finite resource to finite resource is a lot like a dying animal flailing about. We see it now with the rush to shale gas as oil isn't keeping up with demand. Once that's used up there will be a rush back to use the remaining coal up. It's not planned, it's just mindless exhaustion of resources. Demand ever grows with no exit strategy for what happens if the next jump isn't there.

Instead of using resources slowly and guaranteeing sustained civilization for 1000s of years we use it up in 100s. Eventually even the fissile nuclear materials will be used up then there is no nuclear power plants as we know them.

Maybe fusion will work out, but maybe not. If not the human race is doomed to use up all finite resources on Earth in a flash of geological time and flounder back to the caves never to leave Earth, and screw up the climate at the same time.

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WTF?

When they worked out that there would not be enough oak trees

The fact your comparing Oil/Gas to Wood says it all really!

Even the biggest idiot back then would have realised you can grow more trees - the problem here is, we can't simply grow oil and gas - yes there are alternatives, but they are very expensive and we have no means to supply the demand - so this will push up the energy bills, which in turn will push up production costs for things like cars and food etc.

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FAIL

Re: When they worked out that there would not be enough oak trees

"......the problem here is, we can't simply grow oil and gas....." COUGH* Biodiesel * COUGH.

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Re: When they worked out that there would not be enough oak trees

+1 ok I can't argue with that...

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Fingers in ears, eyes wired shut, Lewis squeaks: Consequences may be minor, and maybe good, and, and,...

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Meh

"They generally suggest that the human race should abandon any aspiration to greater wealth (or even maintenance of the same wealth, in the case of rich nations), and focus instead on some other goal."

How dare they try to suggest that my aspiration to live in a world where we upgrade mobile 'phones every 6 months instead of merely every 12 is silly! How the hell are we going to make the world a better place unless we can BUYMORESTUFFZ?!

"Unfortunately the alternative, massive use of renewable power, means economic disaster and global poverty"

[...In this author's opinion]

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What Lewis proposes only makes sense. Are there any rational arguments against his suggestions, other than accusations of anti-warmism and pro-nucleism (or is it pro-atomism)?

Years ago, when the whole green hysteria was just starting, BBC website put up a "calculator" page where punters could tweak future UK power sources balance and see how it will change the emissions, how expensive it will be and whether it will cover the projected energy demands.

A quick play with that showed me that replacing significant part (let alone all) fossil fuel generation with "renewables" will bankrupt the country and plunge it into blackouts at the same time. However, boosting up nuclear to provide most of the power with a little bit of renewables and keeping some coal burners quickly generated a "Congratulations! You have solved the UK energy problems, achieved CO2 reduction within targets and did not break the budget in the process!" page.

Needless to say, the "calculator" page was taken down within hours and never appeared again on the BBC as far as I could see...

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I once made something up too.

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"Unfortunately the alternative, massive use of renewable power, means economic disaster and global poverty"

[...In this author's opinion]

YUP!

its not poverty is "normal" , it just seems that way because we're living beyond the planets means squandering everything before the 3rd world notices

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Go

"What Lewis proposes only makes sense. Are there any rational arguments against his suggestions, other than accusations of anti-warmism and pro-nucleism (or is it pro-atomism)?"

The proposal of more nuclear power does indeed make sense, assuming the sociological aspect of finding anywhere people are willing to have them* and that we can afford them, because they are ridiculously expensive to both build and take apart again. But I seem to recall that if I just wrote an answer at the bottom of a maths A level question and wrote a load of ranting gibberish and misquoted formulae as 'workings', I didn't get a very high mark: The argument needs to hold water as much as the conclusion, especially in journalism. And the additional flat refusal to even realistically consider renewables kind of grates in its bloody-mindedness. Ultimately, there's a ^%$ing great big fusion reactor up in the sky and a lot of hot rocks below, so I don't think that scoffing the whole idea of renewables is a particularly acceptable one.

*France seems a popular choice, assuming we don't mind further handing ownership of yet more of our infrastructure industries overseas.

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<a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/spl/hi/uk/06/electricity_calc/html/1.stm">Here you go</a>

(incase the link doesn't work http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/spl/hi/uk/06/electricity_calc/html/1.stm )

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BBC calculator

OK, I've found it - it's still there. The BBC Electricity Calculator

Yes, I've got some details wrong (it's been years since I've seen it) but the principle is more or less the same: reduce fossil, increase nukes - you get enough supply within the emission targets and affordably. Use renewables and you can achieve the same at almost twice the cost.

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Re: BBC calculator

Hmm.

So BBC not *entirely* taken over by the supporters of the "Green" agenda.

Encouraging.

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Anonymous Coward

"I once made something up too."

Once?!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Psyx

"because they are ridiculously expensive to both build and take apart again."

Not as much as you make out and only at the moment because few people are building them.

Some further reading for you:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economies_of_scale

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Trollface

@NomNomNom

Just once?

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Re: @NomNomNom

"Needless to say, the "calculator" page was taken down within hours"

...

"OK, I've found it - it's still there."

So you DID make up the story about the BBC taking it down.

As I thought.

How did I guess correctly? Because the story of them commissioning and putting up such a calculator only to take it down a few hours later due to it giving the wrong result made absolutely no sense, as if they had only checked the results AFTER it was put up! Shame no-one else above caught onto the same thing.

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Re: @NomNomNom

Additional:

The "Needless to say" part bears a little scrutiny. You thought it was obvious that the BBC would hide the results because of some conspiracy you imagine exists. Now we find they didn't logically it should falsify your belief in such a conspiracy.

I bet not though.

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Facepalm

Re: Psyx

"Not as much as you make out and only at the moment because few people are building them.

Some further reading for you:"

I'm aware of that. And we can just as easily apply the same logic to renewable energies. But Lewis doesn't do that and just bases renewable calculations on current production and current efficiencies.

"More to the point, few people are building them"

Quick google says 62 under construction, out of a world total of 435. Now that's just the first thing to pop up, but a 20% increase doesn't seem like a small amount to me.

It must be said though that I'm basing my 'expensive to build' comment purely on the say-so of a guy I know involved in long-term energy cost forecasts, and a engineer who builds nuclear power plants... so I guess they could both be completely wrong. /shrug.

And at the end of the day... if people don't WANT nuclear power, then that's a problem. It's like communism being a really good idea except for the fact that it doesn't take human nature into a account (which makes it a stupid idea). Any 'solution' which fails to account for human nature is not a solution. And at present human nature does not trust nuclear reactors, nor wants to live next to them. That's a major issue.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Psyx

"I'm aware of that. And we can just as easily apply the same logic to renewable energies."

Except you can't because there are a finite number of rivers suitable for damming and each dam has to be built from a design tailored to the location. The same goes for tidal barrages. You can't apply it to wind turbines either because there are a finite number of sites suitable for harvesting wind energy and the rare earths needed to create the things in the first place aren't going to become any less scarce (unless we start mining off-world).

You can apply economies of scale to solar panels of course. You just need to find large tracts of empty, non-arable land that receive enough sunlight and don't suffer from sand-storms etc.

"It must be said though that I'm basing my 'expensive to build' comment purely on the say-so of a guy I know involved in long-term energy cost forecasts, and a engineer who builds nuclear power plants"

I'm basing my comments on what my invisible friend tells me. I believe we can give him as much credence as some guys you just made up.

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FAIL

Not surprising that no meaningful action on climate change is being taken when we have the integrity of journalism that Lewis Page brings.

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Yawn...

Page does, sometimes make sense. If you do some basic sums, there's no way that the developed world can cut its emissions fast enough to counter the emissions growth of the developing world and come even close to our current standard of living.

Given that the populations of the developed world are having a hard time coming to terms with a crisis that has (for most of them) just removed the growth seen in the last 5-7 years, how do you think it would work if governments tried to remove the growth of the last 20 years to get carbon output to 1990s levels?

So, the alternative would be to slow the growth of developing nations so the developed don't have to go cold turkey. You can see how India and China might react to that plan, can't you???

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Re: aidanstevens

Not surprising that no meaningful debate on climate change is being taken when we have the flat-out denial of scientific argument that Lewis Page brings.

There, fixed it for you! Now you can go back to strumming your sitar or whatever it is that hippies do nowadays.

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iconic

It strikes me that there are two new icons The Register should introduce:

i. a polar bear in swim trunks and shades for those who hate LP's reading of the AGW

ii. an iguana in a parka for those who agree with LP

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Re: iconic

"i. a polar bear in swim trunks and shades for those who hate LP's reading of the AGW"

I don't *hate* his opinion.

I just hate his crappy cherry-picking, sweeping statements, generally crappy and downright partisan 'journalism' on the subject, and turning the Reg into a personal soapbox.

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Mushroom

Re: iconic

Yes of course. The correct way is to get a load of anonymous activists in a room, get them to decide on what the correct line is and then brainwash all your journalists into trotting it out verbatim on demand.

At least Lewis gets to give us his own views on the subject....

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