Saturday, May 27, 2006

We call it LIES

God DAMN it's so lame! After seeing this I thought I might as well pack up and go home. Job done. The CEI have made a couple of 60-second TV ads that are so embarrasing I am almost speechless. I recommend they be watched. The first one goes:
CO2 is invisible and essential to life processes. Animals breath it out, and plants breath it in. The fuels that produce CO2 have freed us from a world of backbreaking labour, lighting up our lives, allowing us to create and move the things we need,... the people we love. Now some politicians want to label CO2 a pollutant. Imagine if they succeed. What would our lives be like then? They call it pollution. We call it life.
The second one goes:
You've seen those headlines about global warming. The glaciers are melting. We're doomed. But other scientific studies showed exactly the opposite. Greenland's ice sheets are growing. The Antarctic ice sheet is getting thicker, not thinner. Did you see any headlines about that? Why are they trying to scare us? Global warming alarmists claim that the glaciers are melting because of the fuels we use. Let's force people to cut back, they say. But we depend on those fuels to grow our food, move our children, light up our lives. And as for CO2, it isn't smog or smoke. It's what we breath out and plants breath in. They call it pollution, we call it life.
But there's more. There are images.

The "world of backbreaking labour" is illustrated with a contemporary picture from Nigeria, where they must be choosing to continue with their unnecessary back-breaking labour, because there's oil leaking out everywhere.

"Lighting up our lives" is a night view of some neon billboards advertising cocacola.

"Move our children" has a concerned mother packing her brood, who are as yet too young to be obese from lack of exercise, into the back seat of her fat car.

"Force people to cut back" shows a man on a bicycle.

And for the bit where "other scientific studies show that Greenland's ice sheets are growing and the Antarctic Ice sheet is getting thicker," they gave up with the usual trick of citing junkmen like Fred Singer, and tried citing an actual scientific publication which, since it dealt with the truth, needed to be misrepresented. Unfortunately, since the scientists in question were not on Exxon's payroll, they could speak out about it. The resident CEI dingo-brain and former UK train privatizer Iain Murray then went on to explain how he understood the scientific paper better than the author did.

The sheer weight of alarming papers he must have had to flick through to locate a nugget which he could quote out of context must have clouded his judgement. I believe this is the best they could find.

Both ads end with a picture of a small child blowing the fluff off a dandelion weed. If it wasn't for CO2, she wouldn't be alive. You can see this kid getting run over by the climate train in a 30-second video that states the facts and puts what's at stake pretty succinctly.

There will be no business as usual.

I must end this posting with more from Myron Ebell, who said this week that his group does get funding from companies such as ExxonMobil but that it doesn't compromise him. If this were the case, then Exxon would be acting illegally, wasting shareholder's money where it wasn't needed. Myron Ebell has also been seen in "Accuracy in Media". As usual, no amount of investment in the brand name can overcome the underlying stench once Ebell has been cited in an article without due consideration. Articles mentioning him should read like this, or not mention him at all.

Saturday, May 20, 2006


With his usual tactic of accusing others of what he is guilty of, Myron was quoted in the Cybercrap News Service accusing clergy members of being "benighted", "willingly duped," and of "confusing good intentions with good consequences." The only consequences that matter to Myron is whether Exxon makes more money next year than this. Nothing else matters.

Myron also said, "Global warming policies to ration energy use present much more of a threat to the world's poor, and to the world's poorest countries, than does global warming," which is illogical, Captain, since poor people who can't afford to eat, let alone buy their fair share of petroleum, would be untouched by the rationing of something they don't use. When was the last time you saw an African slum dweller driving down to the river to collect water?

Moving on from this state of moral and intellectual darkness, an article in Scripps Howard introduced Ebell properly by stating that he worked for "the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which is funded in part by ExxonMobil and other energy companies", but then ruined it by printing his numerous false, irrelevant, and unsubstantiated allegations. The reporter should have put the phone down and called the Exxon PR department for some attributed statements instead.

The story was about peak oil.

Myron's lies began with the claim that the US Interior Department's oil estimates "have a long history of being proven wrong." What does Myron cite, but the last case when this figure was ever underestimated, in the 1930s when they apparently said that oil would be depleted in the United States by 1940.

Peculiar things can happen in Myron's world: the technology of oil extraction can steadily progress, while the science of estimating the oil reserves can become more and more inaccurate. Or maybe it gets more accurate and truthful, which is why a pathological liar like Myron digs out irrelevant records from 70 years ago.

Myron's powers of delusion knows no limit. He makes the startling claim that: "It's not in the interests of the Saudi government to give away how much oil they have. I think there are more reserves there than they're telling us." Since, according to the rules of OPEC, it is in their financial interest to over-estimate the amount of oil they hold, I would have liked to have heard his explanation. But unfortunately, the reporter Lance Gay, was interested only in printing as much of Myron's self-selected bollocks as he could fit on the page. Myron whined that there are vast reserves of oil still held off-limits from exploration by political decisions of the most oil friendly government the US has ever seen, citing the usual huge reserves off the coasts of California and Florida, and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. As usual, he's exaggerating for political purposes. This always happens with oil.

Myron then added that government decisions overseas nationalizing the oil industry also have dampened production, because governments aren't as efficient stewards of oil reserves as the industry. No kidding. I wonder how he explains why Norway's oil reserves, run by Statoil, are greater than the UK's privately run oil industry in the same North Sea.

Unfortunately he's not asked to explain that, if he even knows about it. The remaining paragraphs of the article are too painful to go over, since they fail to challenge any of Myron's lies, preferring to take the time to corroborate Ebell's claims from biased sources: Wildcatters, using innovative technology, found fields the major companies missed, and the untapped reserves are significant enough to boost known U.S. oil reserves by [a whole] 1 percent.

Indeed, I'm sure we'd like to think John Galt with his bucket and spade could dredge more oil out of the mountains than any ineffective government. Someone has been smoking too much Ayn Rand lately.

Monday, May 01, 2006

More Ignorance Online

Another week, another round of crud by Ebell on Human Ignorance Online, a publication fit for the Myrons of this world.

This week's hot topic: Why are gas prices so high in America?

Answer: They are not high in America. As you can see, they are 2 to 3 times cheaper than they are in Europe.

The prices are high because of the taxes used to moderate demand. We get that money back in the form of a functional social system

Nevertheless, rather than let people know about these details of how it could be done, Myron attempts to deflect people's attention away from obvious lines of inquiry, like following the money. He wrote:

Here is what I think the President should do.
1. He should explain that current high gas prices are the result of high economic growth (no apologies necessary), which increases demand, and continuing supply problems, some of which are caused by government.
Oh really.
2. The President should defend profits. The only alternative to prices as a way of reconciling supply and demand is rationing (and rationing is why gas prices are so low in Cuba and North Korea). When demand is high and supplies are low, producers make large profits. This is good. If oil companies weren’t making profits, then investors would have no reason to invest in increasing supplies. As for a windfall profits tax on oil companies, it cannot be repeated too often that if you want less of something then raise taxes on it.
Right, so we're seeing all these outside investors attracted by the profits going out to set themselves up a new oil company in the market.

Why don't we put a tax on lying, and make Ebell go hungry? Then we can tax on food and he'll stop eating.
3. He should barnstorm the country to build support for legislation to increase domestic energy production. Opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska to oil and gas production is at the top of this list. If ANWR has as much oil as the U.S. Geological Survey's mean estimate, this would increase America's proven domestic oil reserves by approximately 50 percent. Within a few years, an additional million barrels a day could be flowing to West Coast refineries. And if President Clinton hadn’t vetoed ANWR legislation in 1995, that oil would be flowing today. Opening ANWR enjoys majority support in both the House and Senate, but was blocked last year by a determined minority. A strong push from the President now could overcome that opposition.
If it's like the barnstorming he did to privatize social security, I'm for it. The key word is "domestic" sources, which are already massively depleted in the US, so almost any small field is going to increase its reserves by a large percentage. Refer to this table, to see what a drop in the bucket the US reserves are now.
4. Bush should direct the Department of the Interior to re-open its new five-year plan for offshore oil and natural gas production. The current draft includes very little new production. This is crazy. While the western Gulf of Mexico is now the U. S.’s largest producing oil and natural gas field, the eastern Gulf of Mexico and entire Atlantic and Pacific Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) areas are closed to production. OCS reserves are potentially enormous. Environmental concerns are unwarranted. The last significant offshore oil spill in the U. S. was in 1969. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita last summer destroyed many oil rigs and platforms in the Gulf, but did not cause any significant oil spills. To overcome opposition to OCS production in coastal States such as California, Congress should share the royalties 50-50 with the States, just as it does with royalties from production on federal lands.
Psst. The Exxon Valdez oil spill happened in 1989. Either Myron doesn't think this is significant, or, unlike Alaskan oil production,
he does not consider it part of the US, like some kind of corporate Guantanamo

Of course, when a hurricane destroys oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, there are no "significant" oil spills either.

Myron Ebell, on the other hand, tells significant lies.