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Jan 05, 2013


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Of course he not the person we need running DENR.

The shennagins have just begun.


Science, the Republican version:


Not finite? What? Dinosaurs still dying?

He said the Russians treat oil as renewable and they haven't run out. Well, that's evidence that the Russians haven't yet run out of oil, not that it's magically renewing itself deep beneath the permafrost.

John D. Young

Sec. of DENR Bill Ross, from Greensboro, under Easley was perhaps the best head of DENR. He greatly expanded the state park system and preserved significant tracts of land all over the state. Ross helped improve water and air quality in NC.

Sec. of DENR Dee Freeman under Perdue was certainly no Bill Ross, accomplished almost nothing, and the recession along with the raiding of important land and water trust funds put, maybe for years, an end to the expansion of NC's beautiful natural resources through DENR.

John Skvarla as shown in this WRAL interview seems to be made of very different cloth. He could even be part of a Republican push to greatly diminish the role of NCDENR. Clean water and clean air is never a given -- it requires active oversight. Even our great state park's system could undergo drastic and dangerous changes under Skvarla.

Andrew Brod

Thanks for this post, Ed. I'd never heard of this hokum theory until now. Something new to file under "Hat, tinfoil."

What's interesting is that this theory is sort of the opposite of the peak-oil theory, which at least is half-right (oil production is probably falling but it won't End Society As We Know It).

"Not finite? What? Dinosaurs still dying?"

JC, believers of this theory claim that oil is formed from carbon monoxide and hydrogen gases percolating up through the Earth's crust, a process that allegedly continues, producing more and more oil.

And you're right that "drill[ing] oil as if it's a renewable resource" proves nothing. Whether a resource is renewable or finite, price drives the production process. When price is low, oil companies (whether private or government-run) drill only the best fields. When price is high, it pays to work fields that were previously submarginal, like Canadian tar sands. A rising price can make it appear that there's more oil, when all that's happened is that more oil is affordable and hence deemed part of proved reserves.

From the Wikipedia entry on this:

"Although the abiogenic hypothesis was accepted by many geologists in the former Soviet Union, it fell out of favor at the end of the 20th century because it never made any useful prediction for the discovery of oil deposits."

But our new DENR Secretary believes in it. Wonderful.


If energy consumption, food production
population, money supply and temperature
all rose faster in the last 50 years than the preceding 5,000
are we consuming more than replenishing?

If high energy prices and unavailable credit destroy demand
could costs fall and production plateau or decline for longer than some think?

If there’s only so much oil and unlimited currency production capacity
could energy demand exceeding supply ignite inflation?

Could economic recovery be limited to available and/or affordable
energy supplies?

Did increasing amounts of money, debt, energy and people
enable the world to consume more raw materials in the last 75 years
than in recorded history?

Are there correlations
between currency, debt, natural resources, peace and war?

Did increasing supplies of money, fossil fuel and food
contribute to Earth’s human population rising
from 1.6 billion at the beginning of the 20th century
to more than 6.8 billion in a little more than 100 years?

Is there a correlation between global temperature, population
and fossil fuel consumption
rising three times as fast in the last 30 years than the preceding 70?

If more money and energy equals more food
and more food equals more people
will less fossil fuel lead to less food and …?

Would Earth’s natural resources last twice as long
if there were half as many people?

"Think of the Earth as a living organism
…being attacked by billions of bacteria
whose numbers double every forty years"

Gore Vidal

Bill Bush

Maybe we could get the schools to send their old science textbooks to him. They're more up-to-date than 100-year old discredited Russian non-evidence-based thoeries of convenience. I
strongly suggest that anyone who "believes in" scientific ideas rather than "thinks" about them (not quoting, just emphasizing) should pick up a couple extra rolls of Reynolds Wrap on the way home from work. I specifically suggest the extra wide, heavy duty box. It doesn't cost much more, when you consider the quality and the effectiveness in wrapping your turkey.


In some defense of the IIQ, I'm pretty sure the comment about scientific opinion related to climate change, not renewable fossil fuels. I'll watch the video again once I get my giggles under control.


Scratch that. He said it twice, which is about three too many. Sheesh.

Andrew Brod

I'm reminded of Reagan's Interior Secretary James Watt, who supposedly said that there was little point in conserving natural resources, what with the End of Times being close at hand.

In fact, he didn't quite say that, but he didn't quite not say it either: "I do not know how many future generations we can count on before the Lord returns; whatever it is, we have to manage with a skill to leave the resources needed for future generations."

Any economic model in which there's a nonzero probability of an imminent End of Times will generate less resource conservation than one in which that probability is zero.


"Fossil fuels resemble capital in the bank

A prudent and responsible parent will use his capital sparingly
in order to pass on to his children as much as possible of his inheritance

A selfish and irresponsible parent will squander it in riotous living
and care not one whit how his offspring will fare

I suggest that this is a good time to think soberly
about our responsibilities to our descendants…
those who will ring out the Fossil Fuel Age"

Admiral Hyman Rickover
Father of the Nuclear Navy


Which begs the question, who would name their child after a female body part whose main function (as far as I know) is to serve as a "do not marry if seal is broken" warning to eagle scouts and others who probably won't spend a lot of time down there anyway?

Sorry, Ed. Once it popped into my head, I had to get it out or suffer a mild stroke...

worst person on the internet

I was going to comment on the post, but instead, let me remind you guys that ladies read this blog, too. :)

Steve Harrison

Yeah, I thought about that like fifteen seconds after I posted it. Sorry, Michele, and the rest of you ladies. One question though: Did you laugh?

Your answer will have absolutely no impact on your right to admonish me in the future, I'm just curious. :)

Fred Gregory


The link in this post mentioned your obsession , fracking and other broad topics addressed by Skvarla and the WRAL reporter. No need to be so narrow. Seinfeld video clips , huh ??

James Watt.. really Andy. No matter Watt said, it is stupid not to use our tremendous supply of fossil fuels rather than for nutty green weenies to block exploration and extraction. Good for America. Good for the climate.

If these guys below, most former pilots, were serious , although they are not, you would fit right in as well as in the Flat Earth Society .

Man will never fly memorial society

Just an excuse to drink. What's yours, Andy?

The Democrats' War on Science Aids Our Enemies

"It's an article of faith among Democrats, crystallized in the book The Republican War on Science, that Republicans are unscientific boobs stupidly opposing such established verities as anthropogenic global warming promoted by those better educated in the mysteries of science (i.e., Democrats... Central Planner types like Brod ).
Of course this is nonsense, and this week's events prove that it's the Democrats and their appeals to low-information voters (including celebrity and big time coastal donors) that constitutes the real war on science to the detriment of all of us.

Al-TV -- this week Al Gore, anti-carbon fuel drum major, made a cool $100 million selling his 20% share in the failing, unwatched Current TV to Arab Al-Jazeera, owned by major carbon fuel producers. (His partner, Joel Hyatt, son-in-law of former Ohio Democratic senator Howard Metzenbaum, also benefited mightily.)
It's hard to conclude that this $500 million Al-Jazeera purchase is anything other than a payoff for effectively hampering the exploitation of American carbon fuels and advocating openly for giving a cable entrée to this Arab-broadcasting network. Current TV isn't worth anything like the price paid for it.
Is this the only reason why a major carbon fuel producer paid off Gore in order to get a cable channel in the U.S.?

I think it's more than an effort to bring Arab political viewpoints into the U.S. I think it's part of an ongoing effort to keep the U.S. from displacing the Middle East as the major gas producer by propagandizing against hydraulic gas fracturing -- fracking.

American shale gas resources stand to both reduce carbon emissions -- if we actually need to -- and displace the Middle East oil producing economic and political advantage. Only stupid constraints our politicians place on the exploitation of these resources can stop that. Buying up politically connected Democratic advocates and celebrities to stand in as Arab proxies to this end is a useful Arab strategy. "

Oh and Andy do you want to discuss the horribly flawed anti-fracking propaganda film " Promised Land " ?

Gee, I hope so.

Steve Harrison

"I think it's part of an ongoing effort to keep the U.S. from displacing the Middle East as the major gas producer..."

That is quite possibly the stupidest and most paranoid thing you've ever posted here, Fred. And that's saying a lot.


I don't understand why the same concern for future generations when it comes to public debt doesn't also apply to conservation of resources.


Steve, I did not laugh. It made me very uncomfortable. Thank you for apologizing. I forgive you, of course.

Fred Gregory

Steve your personal insults are patheticly childish and juvenile.. So here smoke this dude

Ms. Malaprop couldn't picked a better appealation for you


Thanks. I'll add this one to my "things not to say" reference notebook. Now, if I can just remember to refer to it once in a while...


Man, I'm just getting in trouble left and right here. In my defense, they had to take me back to the hospital a few days after I was born because I was turning blue (from lack of oxygen, not political forces). But my parents forgot the receipt, so...

Fred Gregory

In Nature today, Dan Sarewitz offers up

a New Year's resolution for scientists

"To prevent science from continuing its worrying slide towards politicization, here’s a New Year’s resolution for scientists, especially in the United States: gain the confidence of people and politicians across the political spectrum by demonstrating that science is bipartisan."


That a call for science to demonstrate that it is not a partisan endeavor is necessary is reflective of the degree to which leading scientific institutions in the United States (and elsewhere as well) have become deeply partisan bodies

For partisans, none of this analysis makes sense because their goal is to simply vanquish their political opponents. That science has become aligned with the Democratic party is, from where they sit, not a problem but a positive. Thus more partisanship is needed, not less. I have no illusions of convincing the extreme partisans of the merit in Sarewitz's view. I do think that there are many in the scientific community who object to the exploitation of scientific institutions to the detriment of both science and decision making, and no doubt it is to this group that Sarewitz's resolution is offered.

There are promising signs that the partisan wave which has engulfed the scientific community over the past decade is receding somewhat. This is good news. But the scientific community still has a lot of work to do. Sarewitz offers some helpful advice:


" The US scientific community must decide if it wants to be a Democratic interest group or if it wants to reassert its value as an independent national asset. If scientists want to claim that their recommendations are independent of their political beliefs, they ought to be able to show that those recommendations have the support of scientists with conflicting beliefs. Expert panels advising the government on politically divisive issues could strengthen their authority by demonstrating political diversity. The National Academies, as well as many government agencies, already try to balance representation from the academic, non-governmental and private sectors on many science advisory panels; it would be only a small step to be equally explicit about ideological or political diversity. Such information could be given voluntarily.

To connect scientific advice to bipartisanship would benefit political debate. Volatile issues, such as the regulation of environmental and public-health risks, often lead to accusations of ‘junk science’ from opposing sides. Politicians would find it more difficult to attack science endorsed by avowedly bipartisan groups of scientists, and more difficult to justify their policy preferences by scientific claims that were contradicted by bipartisan panels.

During the cold war, scientists from America and the Soviet Union developed lines of communication to improve the prospects for peace. Given the bitter ideological divisions in the United States today, scientists could reach across the political divide once again and set an example for all."

There is of course nothing wrong with partisanship or with scientists participating in politics, they are after all citizens. However, our scientific institutions are far too important to be allowed to become pawns in the political battles of the day


"gain the confidence of people and politicians across the political spectrum by demonstrating that science is bipartisan."

Now, THAT is stupid.

Ed Cone

Fred, please do not post large swaths of someone else's copyrighted work. Key passage and a link, thanks.

Fred Gregory


Thanks for the reminder.

Let's see, is it Roch season or Fred season? I'll start you brain dead , drooling dufus.

A man of few seasons

Now who is stoopid ?


I didn't say you were stupid, the opinion that science should adjust to partisan politics is stupid. Science is science, if one party is more accepting of intellectual inquiry and logic, that does not mean that science is partisan.

formerly gt

A used book store i frequent sells old Nat Geo's for a dime. I buy a few of the older ones when they have them (have to be pre-1980).

One I recently found was published in 1979 and it had an article on energy that discussed fracking. The article stated something to the effect that a scientific study concluded in 1977 that there was no future for natural gas. But lo and behold, scientist had recently discovered new deposits and technologies such as fracking may make natural gas plentiful and cheap in the future.

The article struck me for a few reasons. One is i don't recall hearing much about fracking until recently. another is that in 1979 cheap and abundant energy was thought of as a good thing. and the final one is how many times to we set policy based on science that is inaccurate and biased.

So, i chuckle whenever i hear a simple-minded remark like "science is science". And i'm amazed at the arrogance of those who suggest that dems are more accepting of logical inquiry and the use of logic than others.

Fred Gregory

GT.. Thanks for saving me the b-slap

Worst person on the internet

Yes, GT, as evidenced by this self-query in this same thread:

"I don't understand why the same concern for future generations when it comes to public debt doesn't also apply to conservation of resources."

completely oblivious to the equal validity of its mirror image observation:

"I don't understand why the same concern for future generations when it comes to conservation of resources doesn't also apply to public debt."

Both scientific and economic theory are logical when they are useful to one's on purposes, unless you are a democrat, apparently.

Frede Gregory

Shale Gas Will Fuel a U.S. Manufacturing Boom. Chemical producers abandoned the U.S. in droves. Cheap natural gas is luring them back.

"People predicting a manufacturing renaissance in the United States usually imagine whirring robots or advanced factories turning out wind turbines and solar panels. The real American edge might be in something entirely more mundane: cheap starting materials for plastic bottles and plastic bags.

The plummeting price of natural gas, which can be used to make a vast number of products, including tires, carpet, antifreeze, lubricants, cloth, and many types of plastic, is luring key industries to the United States. Just five years ago, natural gas prices were so high that some chemicals manufacturers were shutting down operations here. Now the ability to access natural gas trapped in shale rock formations, using technologies such as hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, has led to a surge in natural gas supplies that have lowered American gas prices to a fraction of prices in other countries (see “King Natural Gas”)."

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