Tboone Sounding Like Algore

Look at this from Planet Gore.

Here’s how Gore works. He’ll cite one scientific finding that shows what he wants, and then ignore other work that provides important context. Here’s a list of his climate exaggerations from his well-publicized July 17 rant, along with a few sobering facts.

Gore: “Scientists . . . have warned that there is now a 75 percent chance that within five years the entire [North Polar] ice cap will completely disappear during the summer months.”

Fact: The Arctic Ocean was much warmer than it is now for several millennia after the end of the last ice age. We know this because there are trees buried in the tundra along what is now the arctic shore. Those trees can be dated using standard analytical techniques that have been around for decades. According to Glen MacDonald of UCLA, the trees show that July temperatures could have been 5-13°F warmer from 9,000 to about 3,000 years ago than they were in the mid-20th century. The arctic ice cap had to have disappeared in most summers, and yet the polar bear survived!

Gore: “Our weather sure is getting strange, isn’t it? There seem to be more tornadoes than in living memory. . . .”

Fact: The reason there “seems” to be more tornadoes is because of national coverage by Doppler radar, which can detect storms that were previously missed (not to mention that every backyard tornado winds up on YouTube nowadays). Naturally, the additions are weak ones that might, if lucky, tip over a cow. If there were a true increase in tornadoes, then we would see a definite upswing in severe ones, too. If anything, the historical record indicates a slight negative trend in the frequency of major tornadoes, based upon death statistics.

Gore: “ . . . longer droughts . . . ”

Hogwash. The U.S. drought history, given by the Palmer Drought Severity Index, is readily available and extends back to 1895. There’s not a shred of evidence for “longer droughts” in recent decades. The longest ones were in the 1930s and 1950s, decades before “global warming” became “the climate crisis.”

Gore: “ . . . bigger downpours and record floods . . . ”

It’s true, U.S. annual rainfall has increased about 10 percent (three inches) in the last 100 years. But it’s equally true that this is a net benefit. Temperatures haven’t warmed nearly enough to increase the annual surface evaporation by the same amount, so what has resulted is a wetter country during the growing season. Farmers love this, because most of the nation runs a moisture deficit during the hot summer growing season. Increasing rain cuts that deficit.

Gore: “The leading experts predict that we have less than 10 years to make dramatic changes in our global warming pollution lest we lose our ability to ever recover from this environmental crisis.”

This is likely James Hansen of NASA, Gore’s climate guru. He has written and given sworn testimony that six feet of sea-level rise, caused by the rapid shedding of Greenland’s ice, could happen by 2100. Why didn’t Gore defer instead to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an organization with at least a few hundred bona fide climate scientists? Its 2007 compendium estimates that the contribution of Greenland’s ice to sea level during this century will be around two inches. Gore also forgot the embarrassing truth that there has been no net change in the planetary surface temperature, as measured both by thermometers and satellites, for the last ten years.

Now look at what Tboone is saying.

“In 1970, we imported 24 percent of our oil. Today, it’s nearly 70 percent and growing,” he intones. Aside from the fact that the Department of Energy (DOE) puts the import figure at a more moderate 58 percent, Pickens gives the impression that imported oil is scary because it all comes from the unstable Mideast.

His TV commercials feature images of American soldiers fighting in Iraq and he likens the annual $700 billion cost of foreign oil to “four times the annual cost of the Iraq war.”

But hold the phone. Only 16 percent of our imported oil comes from the Persian Gulf — barely up from 13.6 percent in 1973, according to the DOE. Imports from OPEC countries are actually down — from 47.8 percent in 1973 to 44.5 percent in 2007.

Contrary to Pickens’ assertion that oil imports are growing, the DOE expects oil imports to decrease by 10 percent by 2030.

Pickens tries to shame Americans because, “America uses a lot of oil … That’s 25 percent of the world’s oil demand, used by just 4 percent of the world population.”

Some might think these figures make us sound greedy and wasteful.

But what Pickens omitted to mention is that the size of the U.S. economy in 2007 was about $13.8 trillion and the size of the global economy was $54.3 trillion.

This means that the U.S. economy represents about 25.4 percent of the global economy. So what’s the problem if a nation that produces 25 percent of the world’s goods and services needs 25 percent of the world’s oil output?

Would he prefer that we shrink our economy by 84 percent to match our share of world population?

Pickens plays the hope-squasher.

“Can’t we just produce more oil?” he asks. “The simple truth is that cheap and easy oil is gone,” he responds.

But there are hundreds of billions of barrels of oil in the form of oil tar sands and oil shale in North America, not to mention the more than one hundred billion barrels of oil in the outer continental shelf of the U.S. and on public lands like the Arctic National Wildlife Preserve (ANWR).

And don’t forget that coal-to-liquids technology can convert our 268 billion tons of coal into 20 times the nation’s current crude oil reserves, according to investment analysts. We have liquid fuels to burn.

While producing this oil may not be as easy as it was in 1859, when crude oil bubbled out of the ground in northwest Pennsylvania, it is much more feasible and far less expensive than Pickens’ fantasy of replicating the entire existing U.S. wind supply system every year for the next 15 years in addition to building the national infrastructure for natural-gas filling stations.

Finally, Pickens laments the $700 billion (less at current oil prices) “wealth transfer” from America to foreigners every year because of our “addiction.”

But is he also concerned about our “addiction” to other imports?

In 2007, the U.S. merchandise trade deficit — the difference between imports of goods from and exports of goods to foreign countries — exceeded $815 billion.

Contrary to Pickens’ demagoguery, “wealth transfer” is a term generally used in the context of estate planning, where money is simply “gifted” to heirs.

Our purchases of foreign oil, in contrast, are more reasonably known as “trade” — and trade is good.

Americans are not simply petro-junkies who mainline crude oil for the masochistic high of watching gas pump numbers spin faster. We produce goods and services with imported oil more than any other people on this planet.


I don’t know what would drive a billionaire to make such statements. Greed? Power? The need to be noticed? Well read the whole story and see just who Tboone’s new friends are.

Tboone’s New Buddies

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3 Responses

  1. And from National Post::

    Third, if wind energy were a sensible economic investment, it would not need the lavish federal and state subsidies already in place or the additional largesse sought after by Mr. Pickens. Likewise, if compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles are an economically sensible alternative to conventional gasoline-powered vehicles, then no government “master plan” is necessary to deliver them to market. Price signals will induce investors to invest and consumers to buy, without government having to lift a finger. The same goes for all the other energy-related R&D Mr. Pickens would like the taxpayer to dole out. If that R&D is promising, it will be pursued, whether government subsidizes it or not.

  2. […] our taxes. He stands to make billions more and that begs the question, Why? More background info Here, Here, and […]

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