[Ok-sus] Climate Change, etc.

Chuck Gross cxg300 at sbcglobal.net
Fri Mar 15 15:23:54 UTC 2013

 After a discussion last night, I thought I'd put down some continuing thoughts.  
As to climate change, I have heard lectures by various experts and read a lot.  The most significant thing influencing me are the simple numbers:  97% of scientists, influenced by science and their studies, believe that climate change is influenced by human activity, while 3% of scientists, while not citing any science, believe otherwise.  Recent studies reinforce the anthropogenic argument, but will likewise be ignored by those for whom it is not politically expedient.    
In any case, anyone who has an opinion can just wait and see what happens.  In no more than 10 years, we will see which position is correct.  Arguing about climate change is something I have personally rejected.  In the mean time, we do have many other problems to concern ourselves with.  

GMO foods have been developed so that the plants can be sprayed while they are growing with chemicals like Round Up and it won't kill the plants protected by the genetic manipulation.  Unfortunately, the weeds this procedure was intended to kill are undergoing their own evolution - some of the weed species are evolving (and surviving).  How this will play out is yet to be seen.
Water shortages, such as with the Ogallala Aquifer (which is depleting rapidly) are impacting the US, although such shortages have long impacted developing countries.  China is also being significantly impacted, probably because of the diversion of rivers and construction of giant dams to provide water to their cities.
World supplies of light sweet crude oil, the staple of the world petroleum industry, are declining.  Giant fields like Ghawar in Suadi Arabia and DaQing in China are mere shadows of their former selves, while Mexico and Norway, among others, are seeing steep declines in spite of the expenditure of unfathomable amounts of money to prolong the life of many of the fields.  (Great Britain is now a net importer of oil, since their portion of the North Sea is substantially depleted.)  The Rocky Mountain deposits of true shale oil are turning out to be impossible to economically extract, the Athabascan Tar Sands of Alberta are causing a catastrophic impact on the environment there, and the so-called shale oil production in the Bakken and other fields, where the actual production is coming from sandstone and limestone stringers within giant shale deposits provide only fleeting production, with decline rates far greater than any conventional source of
 production.  I know of one well drilled by Clayton Williams Energy south of Pecos, Texas which had initial production of 67 barrels per day ( a disappointment to them at that time) which less than a year later was producing at a rate of just over 12 barrels a day - and their SEC reports reflect an average well cost of $4.1 million each for that area.  Quite a disappointment, I am sure.  They are still drilling in the area. Offshore deposits in the Gulf of Mexico in the subsalt formations have proven almost impossible to profitably produce - and were long before the Macondo disaster where BP lost control of that infamous well.  The Brazilians and their mostly state-owned oil company Petrobras have had similiar experiences offshore Brazil, where they are producing at approx 30% of the capabilities of wells there due primarily to metallurgical problems where extremely hot fluids and gasses from those wells hit pipes cooled to near freezing at the
 seabed.  The result of all of this is a diminished supply of light, sweet crude and a coming price shock to all consumers of products derived from petroleum.   
Increasing transportation fuel costs are building inflationary pressure into virtually all goods, and will become very crippling at the point that we come out of the recessionary period which began in 2007 and continues through this time - assuming that we do come out of this recessionary period. 
The mercury and other emissions from coal-fired electric generating plants continue to be a problem.  Until significant changes are made on existing plants this will continue to be a problem.  The continuing emission of significant amounts of a known neuro-toxin which could be controlled is simply unacceptable - yet it does continue.  
There are many politically influenced problems which will likely not be dealt with until long after it is too late to have a reasonable solution available to deal with them.  If I missed your pet problem, it is probably because I chose not to include it.  We can develop an atmosphere of community and encourage politicians to deal with all of these problems - voters do count, and it makes opinions heard.
Add to the above the hardship of extreme poverty impacting an increasing pecentage of America, and it makes me think we should prepare for a tumultuous era in the future, and I think it is headed our way very soon - but, as with the thought with which I started this - that is just my opinion, and time will certainly tell.  
Don't let anyone tell you that we can't ignore these problems.  We have already done so, and quite possibly at our collective peril.
Chuck Gross
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