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Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Luke Oilers

In the climate science world, those who side with consensus science and agree that anthropogenic global warming is real are at a minimum referred to as "lukewarmers".
These people may not be as rabid as the true-believers, yet they don't dismiss the scientific theory and evidence as do the so-called "climate deniers".

I ran across a similar type of minimal acceptance, though very muted and disguised, when I participated in a blog comment discussion at Climate Etc.  The top-level post concerned Maugeri's wrong-headed analysis and conclusion of near-cornucopian oil availability.

In the ensuing discussion, it was clear that the climate skeptics, who would otherwise not admit that Peak Oil was real, would nevertheless continue to push  alternatives such as nuclear and unconventional oil, and suggest that BAU could continue.  This contradiction pointed to the fact that they implicitly agree in the Peak Oil concept while denying that the progressives and technocrats (such as Hubbert) were correct in their overall assessment.

I suggest these implicit Peak Oil believers need to be referred to as "luke-oilers", distinct from the explicit Peak Oilers.  To be a luke-oiler, all it takes for you is to admit that the Bakken or the Tar Sands or nuclear will meet our future energy needs. Its actually not that high a bar that you have to clear to be a luke-oiler, but it wasn't high for a lukewarmer either -- just an admission to the facts on the the ground. The earth is warming due to man, and the oil is depleting due to man.


At the cross-roads of peak oil and climate science we see a world of dogs and cats, living together. On occasion this gets stirred up as in this Slate opinion piece by noted climate scientist and atmospheric physicist Raymond T. Pierrehumbert. The title is 'The Myth of “Saudi America”: Straight talk from geologists about our new era of oil abundance.'
In this piece Pierrehumbert discusses the issue of Bakken oil and acknowledges Rune Likvern's analysis of Red Queen behavior in shale oil.  At the end, he suggests a kind of "No Regrets" policy in that we move rapidly toward alternatives to oil, using the oil that we have right now to solve both the predicaments of oil depletion and AGW.

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