Stolen e-mails embolden climate change skeptics

Dec 10, 2009 By H. JOSEF HEBERT , Associated Press Writer

(AP) -- At a critical time, the uproar over stolen e-mails suggesting scientists suppressed contrary views about climate change has emboldened skeptics - including congressional Republicans looking to scuttle President Barack Obama's push for mandatory reductions in greenhouse gases.

The e-mail brouhaha dubbed "Climategate" by doubters comes as U.S. delegates to the international in Copenhagen are trying to convince the world the United States is determined to move aggressively to rein in heat-trapping pollution. To counter the delegates, a group of GOP lawmakers is going to Copenhagen to argue against mandatory reductions.

The climate skeptics gained political momentum when former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin said Obama should boycott the negotiations in Denmark and "not be a party to fraudulent scientific practices" - a clear reference to the purloined e-mails from computers belonging to scientists at a British climate research center.

Obama is going anyway.

Former Vice President Al Gore, the most recognized U.S. voice on , quickly rebutted Palin and accused the climate deniers in an interview with CNN of "taking things out of context and misrepresenting" what the e-mails actually said. On Thursday, more than 1,700 British scientists released a statement saying they continue to have "the utmost confidence in the observational evidence for global warming and the scientific basis for concluding that it is due primarily to human activities."

That hasn't stopped Senate Republicans. More than two dozen sent a letter to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon Thursday demanding that he launch an independent inquiry into the e-mails. GOP lawmakers say they will loundly and often raise questions about what they consider a corruption of climate science at the Denmark conference, where delegates from 192 nations are trying to forge a political agreement.

It all began when hackers broke into a computer system belonging to a highly respected climate research center at Britain's University of East Anglia, stole several thousand e-mails spanning a decade between some of the world's leading climate scientists, and three weeks ago put some of the spiciest ones on the Internet.

One referred to using a "trick" that could be used to "hide the decline" of temperatures. Another disparaged the skeptics, and a scientist said "the last thing I need is news articles claiming to question temperature increases."

Yet another complained about "getting hassled by a couple of people" to release temperature data that suggests uncertainties about climate change. "Don't any of you three tell anybody that the UK has a Freedom of Information Act," Phil Jones, the director of climate research unit, wrote in one e-mail.

Jones, who temporarily stepped aside as unit director as an investigation into the matter proceeds, has said the comments have been taken out of context and there never was an intent to manipulate data.

Opponents of legislation before Congress to cap heat-trapping emissions and cut them as much as 17 percent by 2020 have seized on the e-mail disclosures and are likely to use them not only at the Copenhagen talks, but in the Senate debate of climate change early next year.

"These e-mails show a pattern of suppression, manipulation and secrecy," insisted Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., a longtime climate skeptic who is among a group of GOP lawmakers heading for Copenhagen.

"We now have thousands of e-mails showing several of the U.N.'s top scientists apparently evading laws requiring transparency, defaming with opposing viewpoints, and manipulating data to fit preconceived opinions," declared Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., another leading climate skeptic in Congress, also going to Copenhagen.

Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center on Global Change, said she's not surprised by the recent e-mail uproar.

"The closer you get to actually doing something about this problem the more shrill and the more dogmatic the skeptics become because they are trying their hardest to stand in front of a train essentially," said Claussen.

Earlier this week, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson announced that the agency had concluded, based on science, that greenhouse gases are public health threat and should be regulated. "The vast body of evidence not only remains unassailable, it has grown even stronger," she said.

Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and the co-author of the house-passed legislation, said the hacked e-mails scandal was being perpetuated by a "paid-for" coalition of deniers who are using it to distract from the action the U.S. and world should be taking.

"These small number of deniers are out there still trying to derail something the rest of the world sees as an imperative for action," Markey said.

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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User comments : 39

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freethinking
3 / 5 (15) Dec 10, 2009
Whoever controls the langage wins. Leftist media says "stolen emails embolden climate change skeptics." This headline is ment to demean those that don't follow Al (earths a million degree, I invented the Internet) Gore's and AGW believers messages. Who cares about the facts.

The headline if it was written by a nutral reporter and not a AGW hack would have been "Leaked emails damage AGW claims"

Can anyone do better writing a nutral headline? Maybe we can teach AP reporters how to write?
Parsec
2.6 / 5 (15) Dec 10, 2009
It is important for the us to focus on language and magnify bias as much as possible to slow down doing anything about global warming. Anytime anyone reports more changes due to warming, and publishes the raw data, its really important to remind everyone of the few cases where scientists are too lazy to report the data. Remember to remind everyone that the exception makes the rule. We are trying to sow doubt, not prove anything. Finally, make sure that whenever the AGW crowd makes a good point regarding published data, simply make up data that contradicts the AGW point being made. Anyone that actually examines the data is against us, so go for the vast majority that can't or won't read the data from themselves. Confusion is our friend!

Remember our goal here is to stop any changes for as long as possible. Every minute we can delay action is another minute where our vast profits from fossil fuels continue.
freethinking
3.2 / 5 (13) Dec 10, 2009
Parsec, were is the raw data? Wait, that data has been deleted. The world is warming, but the US is in record cold snap. Its been getting colder last 10 years. Icebergs not seen for a hundred years around Austraila are coming back. Published data, lets publish real data that shows no global warming, can't do it cause AGW crowd wont let us. Let me see the last time a AGW believer made a good point is... thinking... its been so long. Read the data, hey majority of AGW believers only believe in AGW because they have been told to believe by Al Gore, facts why bother with with. Clarity is AGW biggest foe, Fact are AGW biggest foe.

The one thing I wish were true, was that I would be paid by an oil company, just like all those who are at the AGW summit are being paid to fly thier private jets, drive in their limo's, eat rare foods, by the government.

Bias, corruption and decite is with the AGW promoters and believers.
freethinking
2.1 / 5 (11) Dec 10, 2009
Are my headline biased?

Believe in AGW or you will be fired/
http://www.timeso...1029.ece

AGW believers wrecking the environment
http://stossel.bl...ocrites/

Only ones allowed to travel if Global Warmist believers have their way are AGW priests.
http://www.foxnew...ndustry/
defunctdiety
2.8 / 5 (13) Dec 10, 2009
We are trying to sow doubt, not prove anything.

If sowing doubt is what you call it when one points out the undeniable tremendous inadequacies of not only the models and methods of the science AGW is based on, but also the tremendous uncertainty undeniably present in what data there is, then yes, a sower am I.

Conversely, let's look at what AGW propenents do:

If the data doesn't show what we want to find, use data cherry-picking tricks and computer coding not based in actual science to make it show what we want, then destroy the original data so no one can try to replicate it, not even us! And while we're at it, let's collude to ban skeptics from not only reviewing our studies but also shut them out from the journals we can strong arm into our cabal. Basically, let's make a mockery of science.

Remember our goal here is to appear like we are trying to achieve change while actually just draining the economy! Every fool we brainwash w/ our poor science is another grant secured!
jerryd
Dec 10, 2009
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
freethinking
2.6 / 5 (10) Dec 10, 2009
Jerryd. Ignorance and name calling go hand in hand for those who are AGW believers.

We are the facts that support your arguments? I'm not a Republican, but what has republicans have to do with climategate? What does war have to do with Climategate or even AGW? What do traitors have to do with AGW? We are not talking about the pollution of Coal... just the lie that C02 expelled by humans cause AGW. We are not talking about Christianity and Christianity has nothing to do with AGW, climategate, etc.

The only thing religion has to do with AGW is the religion of AGW.
PinkElephant
Dec 10, 2009
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
freethinking
2.5 / 5 (10) Dec 10, 2009
PinkElephant not getting into religion, but that kind of Jesus is what the AGW want... fewer people less co2 :)
PinkElephant
2.9 / 5 (10) Dec 10, 2009
There's no "the AGW". Personally, I happen to understand the science enough to accept its conclusions. But that will tell you nothing of my other beliefs or positions.

You're playing political football on a science forum. May I ask why and/or what you think you're doing here at all?
omatumr
3.2 / 5 (9) Dec 10, 2009
"Stolen e-mails reveal fraudulent scientific practices"
freethinking
2.3 / 5 (9) Dec 11, 2009
The AGW is a belief based on no real science that man is the cause of Global warming.
Helio
2.6 / 5 (5) Dec 11, 2009
There's no "the AGW". Personally, I happen to understand the science enough to accept its conclusions. But that will tell you nothing of my other beliefs or positions.

You're playing political football on a science forum. May I ask why and/or what you think you're doing here at all?


This forum has been hijacked over the past few months by a radical coterie who repeat their political diatribe every time there is an article on climate change. Their posts are getting weirder by the day and are worth reading only for mild entertainment value. Look elsewhere for scientific comment and discussion.
marjon
3.3 / 5 (7) Dec 11, 2009
There's no "the AGW". Personally, I happen to understand the science enough to accept its conclusions. But that will tell you nothing of my other beliefs or positions.

You're playing political football on a science forum. May I ask why and/or what you think you're doing here at all?


This forum has been hijacked over the past few months by a radical coterie who repeat their political diatribe every time there is an article on climate change. Their posts are getting weirder by the day and are worth reading only for mild entertainment value. Look elsewhere for scientific comment and discussion.


Based upon the headlines of the articles on physorg.com, they are more interested in entertainment than science.
Ninderthana
2.6 / 5 (5) Dec 11, 2009
Direct observational evidence shows that the mean optical depth of the Earth’s atmosphere has remained constant between 1948 and 2007. The optical depth is a direct measure of the amount of Solar radiation that is absorbed by the atmosphere. As such, it is a measure of the change in the amount "green-house" warming the atmosphere has experienced over this 60 year period.

A critically important result that this graph rules out is that, during the period when CO2 emissions from human activity have significantly increased following WWII, there has been no detectable increase in the Earth atmosphere’s optical depth that could be attributed to positive feedback mechanisms related to increased water vapor (H2O).

Restating this in plain English, there is no significant net global warming of the atmosphere due to human-induced increases in the level of CO2.
marjon
2 / 5 (4) Dec 11, 2009
Direct observational evidence shows that the mean optical depth of the Earth�s atmosphere has remained constant between 1948 and 2007. The optical depth is a direct measure of the amount of Solar radiation that is absorbed by the atmosphere. As such, it is a measure of the change in the amount "green-house" warming the atmosphere has experienced over this 60 year period.

A critically important result that this graph rules out is that, during the period when CO2 emissions from human activity have significantly increased following WWII, there has been no detectable increase in the Earth atmosphere�s optical depth that could be attributed to positive feedback mechanisms related to increased water vapor (H2O).

Restating this in plain English, there is no significant net global warming of the atmosphere due to human-induced increases in the level of CO2.

Has this been 'peer' reviewed?
Ninderthana
3 / 5 (6) Dec 11, 2009
Direct observational evidence shows that the mean optical depth of the Earth’s atmosphere has remained constant between 1948 and 2007. The optical depth is a direct measure of the amount of Solar radiation that is absorbed by the atmosphere. As such, it is a measure of the change in the amount "green-house" warming the atmosphere has experienced over this 60 year period.

A critically important result that this graph rules out is that, during the period when CO2 emissions from human activity have significantly increased following WWII, there has been no detectable increase in the Earth atmosphere’s optical depth that could be attributed to positive feedback mechanisms related to increased water vapor (H2O).

Restating this in plain English, there is no significant net global warming of the atmosphere due to human-induced increases in the level of CO2.
Uri
3 / 5 (2) Dec 11, 2009
AGW theory is that man has introduced CO2 and other GHGs into the atmosphere to catastrophic effect. The leaked emails show thaty hypothesis to be a ruse.


I agree that the emails are very disturbing, but I worry that everyone will over-react to them. Someone on one of these forums turned me on to H. L. Mencken(and thanks for that, I'm going to pick up some of his books) and one quotation I found very insightful:


The world always makes the assumption that the exposure of an error is identical with the discovery of truth--that the error and truth are simply opposite. They are nothing of the sort. What the world turns to, when it is cured of one error, is usually simply another error, and maybe one worse than the first one.


I don't believe in the doomsday predictions, but doing a complete 180 could indeed be worse.
defunctdiety
2.6 / 5 (5) Dec 11, 2009
doing a complete 180 could indeed be worse

This is the problem with AGW proponents. They think it's only one way or the other.

You either believe in AGW and want to save the world and believe that stifling economies can do it, OR you are an oil lobby shill who believes nature should be dominated.

It's flat-out wrong, absurd and idiotic.

As I said above, it should not matter what the global climate is doing. Our nations goals need to be independent of global climate, our goals should not change climate does.

We have concrete goals that we should be working directly towards, instead of this ruse of trying to control the global climate, as the IPCC would have the world believe is possible.

I am an environmentalist and conservationist, I seek to expose AGW and it's associated legislation for the fraud it is. You can be anti-AGW and pro-environment, nobody can comprehend this though because AGW has equated environmentalism with carbon-footprint, which is complete and utter bull.
freethinking
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 11, 2009
Arrrggg... defunctdiety, we agree again...I just lead my company to get a green certification that made sense, my company is the first one in our industry in my city to get it. YET I am not a AGW believer.

In other words, I do more for the environment than most of the AGW proponents and believers.

Uri
4 / 5 (1) Dec 11, 2009
@Ninderthana I'd like to see your source for that.

@Defundeity I actually agree with your viewpoint (and I still got rated down) which is part of my point. I wrote a well though out reply that the posting system then immediately ate, so I'll be brief.

My concern somewhat described above is that people will completely turn against the science because of the actions of of some (bad) scientists. It is possible that data exists that does show what they claim, even though they couldn't show it. I don't want skeptics of the current research to be so caught up in being right, that they might discard new data out of hand.
defunctdiety
2 / 5 (4) Dec 11, 2009
Rated down for 2 reasons.

1.)There isn't any chance of there being an over-reaction, this group of world leaders committed rape and murder against the scientific method as well as economic fraud, they should be global pariah's, but nobody cares. People over-look their grievous crimes because they don't care about science in the first place, so in my eyes your premise was flawed.

You can't turn your back on science if you didn't care about it in the first place, which AGW proponents largely do not, as evidenced by their dogmatic clinging to only the science they like.

2.)As I read it, you were promoting the idea that there are only two ways to go. This is a horrible message and one I can't abide by being put out there.

I agree the damage to science as a medium for discerning truth could be great, but frankly there is little science out there that I trust these days, because so great is the corrupting reach of how our Nation and the world supports and funds modern scientific endevors
marjon
3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 11, 2009
It is possible that data exists that does show what they claim, even though they couldn't show it.


Fake but true?

Why wouldn't they be able to show it?
Uri
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 11, 2009
Definitely not promoting that there are only two positions, but alluding to the fact that the backlash from things like this tend to polarize people against the premise (read the quote from Mencken again).

Your response shows how great the damage has been to your trust of climate science.

The problem is that you end up with the believers and the unbelievers (or deniers as the case may be) and nothing anyone says can sway either side. I became skeptical because I believe in thinking for myself, once you let someones bad actions close your mind to the critical thinking that caused your skepticism, you are as lost as they are.

defunctdiety
2 / 5 (4) Dec 11, 2009
Your response shows how great the damage has been

The damage was done well before Climategate. My eyes were opened wide by Big Pharmacy, but also by the gaping holes I personally found present in AGW theory, and how it was asserted there was supposedly a "consensus" on the "settled science".

It's disgusting. Just about anywhere government and science overlap, I am instantly going to be skeptical.

I think a scientist would have problems asserting there's anything wrong with that.

Coming out of college I was an AGW proponent. However my mind was swayed by reality and my personal examination of the complexity and variability of the system.

Climategate is just proof of what I and most rational people have known is going on. You say I am lost? If you were familiar with my posting history you'd know how wrong you are. My mind is wind open but always wary.

I hope the Climategate criminals are proud of the damage they have done to the discipline they supposedly loved.
Uri
2 / 5 (5) Dec 11, 2009

Fake but true?


Just because their data doesnt support the hypothesis does not mean, that data does not / will not exist that would support such a hypothesis.

Copernicus suggested that the Sun was the center of the universe(we now know solar system) and not the earth, but it took Kepler and Galileo to prove him correct.

I don't believe we have enough data of sufficient quality to determine one way or another, and definitely don't believe we have evidence to support the actions that are being talked about by the UN, but that doesn't mean that its impossible that we are causing the earth to warm at an increased rate.
Uri
5 / 5 (2) Dec 11, 2009

It's disgusting. Just about anywhere government and science overlap, I am instantly going to be skeptical.


I think you'd like Mencken which is actually why i quoted him originally, a couple of his famous quotes are:


Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under.


and better still


The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.


marjon
1 / 5 (1) Dec 11, 2009
Just because their data doesnt support the hypothesis does not mean, that data does not / will not exist that would support such a hypothesis.


Uri, I agree with you, but this comment goes to the heart of all controversial hypotheses. Until data supports the hypothesis, it is just an idea yet to experience the scientific process.
What is the method to be used to have such hypotheses exposed to others for discussion?
Uri
1 / 5 (1) Dec 11, 2009

What is the method to be used to have such hypotheses exposed to others for discussion?


I wish I had the answer, its only so polarizing because world governments are using a hypothesis to establish policy. I guarantee you there aren't any/many people flying places to protest because Pluto is no longer considered a planet, or because the dinosaurs were/weren't made extinct by a comet.

I see AGW as a slippery slope argument.

IF A, then A MAY cause B and B MIGHT cause C, so we MUST do D or we are all going to die. That doesn't mean, that A, B, or C are incorrect, or that A might not imply B, or that B might not imply C, so scientific research in those areas is important, but its unfortunate we are seeing serious government policy being shaped by such a fallacy
freethinking
3 / 5 (4) Dec 11, 2009
Acting for the sake of action is wrong. What I tell my kids that if they are lost in the woods is to stop! Sit down, relax, wait, then think.

The AGW proponents and true believers have worked themselves up into such a state that they must act, they must do something even if it is wrong.

To take my analogy, they are lost and will only get themselves into more trouble and more further away from rescue by acting.

Those that believe in AGW need to stop, evaluate the data (or lack of data as it appears), see if there is really an AGW problem, then make a decision.

Even if you believe in AGW, No Action taken in the next couple of years will make a real difference. Everyone agrees on that. However make the wrong decision now, destroying the economy, polluting the skys to cool the world (a real plan by AGW believer), will do real harm.

If the science is there for AGW AND we could do something about it, then I will be a supporter to do something.
PinkElephant
3 / 5 (4) Dec 11, 2009
@defunctdeity

However my mind was swayed by reality and my personal examination of the complexity and variability of the system.


Care to elaborate? Is it the greenhouse effect you find too complex? Is it the nonsense about optical saturation or trace gas quantities that got you confused? Is it the naked logical fallacy that past natural variability necessarily implies that all variability going forward must be natural? Is it that past variability wasn't man-caused, and so CO2 followed temperature (as warming oceans outgassed) -- but now CO2 is leading temperature, since its rise is man-caused? Really, what part of this is so complex or variable? It isn't kindergarten material, but it shouldn't be beyond the grasp of any mature adult.
PinkElephant
3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 11, 2009
@freethinking

No Action taken in the next couple of years will make a real difference. Everyone agrees on that.


Define what you mean by "next couple of years". Is it 2, 5, 10, 15? Will the same argument be made 2 years from now? 5? 10? 15? And then once again, after the expiration of another "next couple of years"? Will anything *ever* be done, under such a policy of "kick the can"?

As you can see, not everyone agrees with you here.

However make the wrong decision now, destroying the economy, polluting the skys to cool the world (a real plan by AGW believer), will do real harm.


Oh, I agree that geoengineering solutions are more likely to do more harm than good. However, as for the economy it is already destroyed (thanks, Reaganomics!) Moreover, the unfolding peak oil crisis is going to finish what's left of the economy -- all because we couldn't be bothered to have acted until the crisis hits us like a bullet in a temple.
marjon
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 11, 2009
Moreover, the unfolding peak oil crisis is going to finish what's left of the economy


What peak oil?

PinkElephant
Dec 11, 2009
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
freethinking
3 / 5 (2) Dec 12, 2009
CNN (who I call the communist news network) says we will have cheap oil.

http://money.cnn....ndex.htm
marjon
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 12, 2009


Every prediction of peak oil has been wrong. Every one.
PinkElephant
3 / 5 (2) Dec 14, 2009
Yes marjon, every one. Now let's hear your esteemed analysis based on reality and scientific facts.

@freethinking, that CNN article has a time horizon of "the next couple of years". Very far-sighted indeed, as are most free-market perspectives. Lemmings never see the edge of the cliff until they're plummeting off it. Until that moment, though, it's all solid ground under *my* paws!
marjon
1 / 5 (1) Dec 14, 2009
Yes marjon, every one. Now let's hear your esteemed analysis based on reality and scientific facts.


Why are any new predictions valid based upon their track record?
PinkElephant
not rated yet Dec 14, 2009
Why are any new predictions valid based upon their track record?


First, they aren't "new". They're quite old; the only thing that is updated is the more up-to-date estimate of current world oil reserves. Second, it's valid because oil is not an infinite supply (indeed it's rapidly declining), whereas demand for oil is already straining supply while continuing to rapidly grow without bound. How dependent is modern economy/technology on oil?
marjon
not rated yet Dec 14, 2009
Why are any new predictions valid based upon their track record?


First, they aren't "new". They're quite old; the only thing that is updated is the more up-to-date estimate of current world oil reserves. Second, it's valid because oil is not an infinite supply (indeed it's rapidly declining), whereas demand for oil is already straining supply while continuing to rapidly grow without bound. How dependent is modern economy/technology on oil?


"A careful examination of the facts shows that most arguments about peak oil are based on anecdotal information, vague references and ignorance of how the oil industry goes about finding fields and extracting petroleum."
"Oil remains abundant, and the price will likely come down closer to the historical level of $30 a barrel as new supplies come forward in the deep waters off West Africa and Latin America, in East Africa, and perhaps in the Bakken oil shale fields of Montana and North Dakota.
http://www.nytime...8/25/opi
PinkElephant
not rated yet Dec 14, 2009
Wow, what a load of tripe. Do you have any idea how expensive it is to extract oil from shale deposits? $30 a barrel won't even cover 1/2 of the cost, never mind generating any profit. Ditto for the ultra-deep oceanic discoveries, which cost $70/barrel just to extract. Meanwhile, the most abundant sources of oil (supplying 1/4 to 1/2 of all oil in the world) are all rather old and have already peaked years ago.
marjon
not rated yet Dec 15, 2009
Sperm whale oil, once used for lamps was replaced by kerosene, which was replaced by the electric lamp. All based on cost and safety concerns from the customers. Sperm whale oil is still used as is kerosene.
As long as oil remains cheaper and not artificially made more costly by government fiat, methods will be found to extract oil at a prices customers will pay. When more cost effective options are developed and discovered, they will replace oil. Government mandates will do nothing to accelerate this process. Only market forces can do that.
Here is a source about the sperm whale oil:
http://www.theadv...804.html

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