Sunday, November 15, 2015

Lowering the Boom on Exxon

Eli was perusing the tweets and came across a back and forth that involved ATTP and a churnalist know it all by the name of Peter Hitchens.  Well no matter, you can read about that at ATTP, but amongst the drivel was a useful pointer by Willard, no not that useless scumbag Willard Tony, but Willard


which lead back to a post by Hans Custers in Our Changing Climate back in Febrary 2014.  Quite worth reading, but, the killer is down a bit in the comments we have Eli's friend Victor Venema first quoting from the post
If there are any ‘climate change skeptics’ who want to contribute to real science, they might see this as a challenge. Maybe they can come up with a research proposal, based on one of the options for falsification. Like proper scientists would do.
and then lowering the boom 
If someone at an oil company only had the slightest doubt such a challenge might be possible, he had already funded this research. If every visitor to WUWT would pay one cent, they could hire a good scientist. That they rather fund PR firms and write daily erroneous posts shows that even they know the AGW is solid.

11 comments:

Magma said...

"That they rather fund PR firms and write daily erroneous posts shows that even they know the AGW is solid."

You're not supposed to look behind that curtain, Victor. Or under that rock or carpet, whatever... pick your favorite metaphor.

Canman said...

From the linked WUWT post about the Paris attacks, is there anything there that is inappropriate for a major climate blog, much less justification for calling it's author a "useless scumbag"?

Fernando Leanme said...

I thought you were going to reveal a deep insight into the "ExxonMobil cover up" zingy. Thus far all I see is legal vaporware. For what it's worth, the key Exxon defense will be the technical content of the work they did in Sakhalin, Pechora, and Kara Seas. There's nothing to support the NY ambulance chaser suspicions, and lots to show Exxon had internal positions showing huge uncertainties and doubts about Arctic ice evolution.

Victor Venema said...

Everybunny can find the long form of this argument here: Why doesn't Big Oil fund alternative climate research?.

The argument is quite effective. Especially because the demographic in question cannot answer: Big Oil is stupid. I am gonna build the best scientific theory ever seen. So beautiful, so wonderful it will make you cry. That is why I am leading in all the polls.

Fernando Leanme said...

Mr. Victor, oil companies are heterogenous. In general p, they collect very smart people. At one time I worked in Houston on a floor where 37 people with a collective 85 plus college degrees used to work on a variety of assignments. Some of us were given leeway to look into whatever suited us. Management, on the other hand can be uneven, because management positions require special skills (see my treatise "How to become president of a large corporation"

My sister, who collected graduate degrees and worked at a Very Prestigious Research Center (VPRC), tells me pure research in universities and VPRCs also involves huge doses of political skills. She also mentioned problems with unethical practices, pressure to publish and get citations, and the need to write grant proposals.

I guess I have a tendency to be very cynical about Homo sapiens (which explains the bird reading the How to .... Manual). Thus I have very low expectations, expect Murphy's Law to prevail, have Concluded the Second Law of thermodynamics is probably incomplete, and I'm just as good as anybody else at figuring out the meaning of life. Which leads me to advise you not to overestimate your capabilities or underestimate others'. That posture is what the CIA calls "hubris".

Bernard J. said...

"That posture is what the CIA calls "hubris"."

And said without the slightest hint of irony...

It fair takes the breath away.

Victor Venema said...

Fernando Leanme, was that a reply to my comment? It started with my name.

Big Oil and Coal stand to lose billions in stranded assets. If they would see a chance of one in a million that one of the misinformation stories at WUWT might be right, it would pay off to invest a few millions into the research. Given the childish level of most WUWT posts, that would require scientists to be enormously stupid or in a global interdisciplinary decadal conspiracy, a million should be more than enough to do the research.

Magma said...

Fernando seems to be deliberately misunderstanding Victor's simple argument.

Large oil and gas companies employ tens of thousands of geologists and geophysicists. They are deep, well-funded and technically-sophisticated organizations.

Such companies already spend tens of billions of dollars annually on geophysics in exploration activities, and many hundreds of millions in applied R&D.

Growing restrictions on GHG emissions and a push to a low or no-carbon future are serious, even existential threats to their medium and long-term business interests.

That the companies don't carry out or fund third-party scientific research into climate change to any significant extent is a very strong indication they have already concluded that research will not benefit them.

Everett F Sargent said...

Actually, playing a different tune over here (as opposed to at Stoat) ...

ExxonMobil already did the climate research efforts in the '70's and '80's.

Their answer then, as it is now, was the same as what was evolving in parallel in the public domain (actually they lagged a wee bit and reacted to the outside science of the previous ~one to ~two decades).

ExxonMobil knew, at that time, what the long term consequences of FF use would do to the atmosphere and the oceans.

So ExxonMobil, seeing the writing on the wall, as it were, dropped all climate research efforts, you don't throw research monies at something you know you can't prove wrong (even in a probabilistic sense).

Followed by two (or more) decades of funded misinformation efforts.

So if you were to ask me, I'd say, go after the documents of a drug dealer doing demographic studies on their drug addicts. We have those demographic studies to this very day, they are called "Energy Outlook to 20XX" via Shell, BP and ExxonMobil.

If you can hook 9-11 billion people on your preferred drug (which now appears to be more likely than less likely), you've won, the drug has built up so much inertia (e. g. the global economy), that it's likely to be a real bitch for humanity to go through global FF withdrawal (switch over to non-FF based technologies).

This all seems rather obvious to some of us at least.

Long story short? The Big Oil AOGCM meme is just that, a meme, a rhetorical device, and I would very humbly suggest is based on circular reasoning (given the facts as I understand them today). YMMV

Everett F Sargent said...

So to push this drug dealer/addict meme further ...

Suppose that Big Oil and Big Coal and Big Whatever did do AOGCM's? Extremely likely their "studies" would fall within the mainstream (IPCC) climate science literature.

It's the Sun, stupid!

Meaning the Sun's energy today not that Sun's energy stored in the Earth from millions of years ago.

Big FF then joins in the global conspiracy to non-FF based technologies.

You would still have Deniersville, your American version of libertarians, your American gun nuts, who would Burn Baby Burn or Buy Baby Buy (every time a gun nut goes off so to speak).

Effin' hey do I hate the USA! Someone deport me PLEASE!

Florifulgurator said...

So, we can easily convince Joe Suit since when climate science is settled: Look at Exxon.