Last week saw another flurry of news and the History Channel program “A Global Warning” on Sunday. Of the news the most noteworthy was the founder John Coleman of The Weather Channel quoted saying “It is the greatest scam in history. I am amazed, appalled and highly offended by it. Global Warming; It is a SCAM,” and IEA chief economist Fatih Birol in his interview with The Financial Times saying “ . . . the second is on the climate change, on the CO2 emissions, the levels are reaching a certain level that we are [getting to] an irreversible trend for our planet.”

Its easy and quite sensible to be or remain quite confused about global warming. What’s not smart or sensible is to conclude that global warming is the doomsday event of the coming years or the pointless fraud that special interests are promoting. Somewhere in the middle of these two extremes is what makes eminent sense.

Lets have a look at the History Channel piece “A Global Warning” first. I admit I missed the first half hour, so think of my remarks as observations for the later 3/4ths. What the show does well is cover the major inputs to climate change that increase temperatures (very little is said about cooling inputs).

Most interesting is the graphing of temperatures over millions of years which nicely shows that in the long sense of history we are in a upline from a cold level (the last glacial period) while over the course of millions of years the planet has spent most of its time much warmer than now. I do take exception and I am disappointed that the writer for the narrative seems to subvert and diminish the credibility of the show with a steady stream of conclusion comments that while I guess they thought such an approach would add to the show, instead such commentary seriously downrates it with hype substituting good skill at informing viewers. By the end I was surprised by the depth and breadth of the content but fully disappointed by the narrative. A hype type pitch in narration should be beneath the History Channel’s reputation, but in this case its not. If you blank out the stupid narrative conclusions one can come a way much better informed about what plays into cooling and warming the planet’s atmosphere.

So I can recommend it ‘with a “Tune Out” the narrative warning.’ A redo is in order, not that it would happen, with the weighting of the inputs by the proportion of the energy in and by what actual activity takes place. Meanwhile there’s plenty to learn here, just try to get past the ‘blame mankind’ and look at the enormity of the inputs and impacts that natural activity and events play. The big idea in this isn’t mentioned at all that I recall, it’s that right now we’re pretty cool compared to history’s earth surface temperature.

Next, lets look at John Coleman. Here is the Wikipedia link to the John Coleman page, while short it reveals that Mr. Coleman isn’t an idiot, rather he is of an age and experience to make comments worthy of note. Check the KUSI Biography Page here. Mr. Coleman has been whacking the global warming idea for a long time and while his words seem strong they are in the target area. But rather than stick my non-professional words in lets just read what Mr. Coleman said. The commentary is harmless or helpful enough, and the harshness is directed more to politicians riding the issue than any criticism of his profession or scientists as a whole. John Coleman is published here by Icecap.

Faith Birol is the lead economist at the International Energy Agency (IEA). The IEA is an agency cooperatively supported by 24 member countries whose prime activity is gathering energy information and where practical implements some policy initiatives. Noteworthy is that the IEA has morphed into an “advisor” to member countries and has over the years accumulated a press presence that astonishes this writer. With 190 employees of “experts” and statisticians the main focus are reports of information for policy makers in the member countries. It’s a sure bet the Mr. Birol wouldn’t be getting interviewed without prior vetting by his peers and the oversight people at the member governments. But it’s a bet, as sometimes even the best-trained people get to saying what they think, rather than what the script is saying. Either way, we need to get past the mass media view and see what he said that matters. The full text is here on the Financial Times website, free registration required.

To capsule Mr. Birol’s comments he opens with energy security risks and CO2 emission trends, which if left out of intelligent government policy could knock out a healthy economy. This position is based on the projected petroleum production compared to the world economy’s use. The projection is for a huge gap. Left un-addressed, the gap would subject consumers to market pricing extremes that the IAE estimate expects to show up within seven years. Two problems are identified, the first being the economies of India, China and the Middle East are so hot that energy prices aren’t getting rolled into the thinking as the growth is so high that even today’s prices have little effect as the eyes are on the economic growth prize. The second is that the government policy is directed to economic growth, too, with subsidized petroleum use holding back the price impact.

Mr. Birol goes on to discuss the hurdles for petroleum production in OPEC and for non-OPEC production. He notes as we have here, that the political imperatives in OPEC and other command economy countries might not get to attending to production investments. He goes on to preshock us with the fact that non-OPEC production is and will continue to fall precipitously. He further opines that unconventional oil can only be expected to make a very small additional contribution. He continues with ideas on assisting OPEC producers to increase supply and overviews some of the current problems.

At the end the discussion oversees the probable and possible in policy and conservation. Mr. Birol offers some interesting and hugely disappointing numbers about what goes on inside China’s own markets. Its clear that China isn’t minding its business properly while the economy grows. What isn’t said is what the 24 member countries can and should be doing. I strongly recommend a reading, its not that long and the registration although hard to follow and cumbersome isn’t threatening.

These bits of news and programming have considerable value if one can shift to the important points and those left out. A closing observation would be that the global warming “news” was stolen from the energy market’s issues, which is essentially misleading the citizens. But that’s nothing new, is it?


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