Reposting: Rhymes with Smokey Joe

December 8, 2013

Reposting because in the space of the last few days, this video, posted just before Thanksgiving a few weeks ago, has become my most watched video, closing in on 100,000 views.

Right. Not exactly Gagnam Style, or even cute kitten territory, but not bad for a serious vid on a serious topic. The piece took off after it was posted first on BradBlog, from there to Upworthy, and then tweeted by Rainn Wilson, “The Office’s” Dwight Schrute.
Case study in small-time virality.

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10 Responses to “Reposting: Rhymes with Smokey Joe”


  1. There has been a good few students as well as a professor at the University of Bergen (Norway) who has started raising questions about Statoils’ funding of research programs at the University. The statistics show that 90% of the money goes into research on oil and gas extraction technology. It’s clear that the management at the University for these programs have still not yet caught up to the idea that the majority of hydrocarbons has to stay in the ground, and they would be much wiser to funnel more into researching around alternative energy sources. I hope this is only the beginning of this discussion here, as the media and people in general are hardly even lukewarm to the idea of closing the lid on our fossil fuel era. No doubt Norway would have been a rather poor country if not for the oil, but I think its wise to eventually understand the collective responsibility we have to the consequences of burning or selling it.

    It’s also clear that Norway has put a lot of effort into the carbon trading schemes, but it shows that the “experts” that have been the minds behind this as the “solution” also have been very active embracing fossil fuel interests as well as being tough opposers to wind and solar energy. A Norwegian climate researcher and author, Erik Martiniussen has recently also written a book about why the carbon trading schemes don’t work. The usual suspects have been trying to shoot him down in the media, the same people working as advisers to the government. No doubt there is a bit of hidden corruption going on here and it looks very much like these lobbyists have been pretty much running the show, including the carbon capture failure which basically just has funneled a lot of money into Statoil through different channels as “green projects”.

    • fortranprog Says:

      Thanks for the interesting post John, the University’s own news puts a good spin on the sponsoring:

      http://www.uib.no/en/news/45577/statoil-support-uib-research

      but in light of Statoil’s ambitions in enthusiastically exploiting the Arctic one has to be sceptical of it’s motivations. I agree that we need a mindset of keeping the remainder of reserves in the ground, rather than taxes and penalties, and use up the considerable existing supplies we have in a planned and careful way. My own country is encouraging offshore oil and gas exploration in it’s waters and hoping to handsomely profit from the industry once again. The conservative conclusions of the educated experts in AR5 are obviously being ignored once again, the dangers pointed out in the report are just too gradual and too far in the future for our governmental minds and leaders to grasp or care about. I worry that the Arctic experience will be repeated in the Antarctic once the ban on exploitation runs out in a few years time, and we will never seriously free ourselves from the past roots of the industrial revolution.


      • If you want the oil and gas to stay in the ground, you need to make them uneconomic to extract.  The most certain way to do this is to supply energy that does what the oil and gas do, but do it cheaper.

        No, you cannot do this with subsidies of uneconomic systems.

        • fortranprog Says:

          Alas Mr Poet I disagree with you once more, why just can’t we simply leave fossils in the ground because our leading learned scientists (like James Hansen) tell us it is in our best long term interests. Why do we need sticks and carrots to coerce and guide us , are we children, sheep or Lemmings ? besides the carbon credit/tax and current schemes are not working at all, physical costs are getting diluted and it is generally unpopular with populations in many countries and actually having the opposite effect of it’s intended influence. Time for radically new ideas that convince the populace that we are putting ourselves in long term danger by continuing our love affair with fossils. Already we are affecting Inuits, Islanders and other communities, not to mention people effected by increasing extremes and floods. Why can we not just accept the words of Climate Scientists – they are not a bunch of long haired, hippy do-gooders for god sake – just very ordinary people with skill, experience and learning in a particular field. That should be enough reason full stop. (HINT: Because they tell us to).


          • why just can’t we simply leave fossils in the ground because our leading learned scientists (like James Hansen) tell us it is in our best long term interests.

            Because people won’t freeze and starve in the dark today, for the sake of a better tomorrow.  Thinking about the future is a luxury available to people who have the present taken care of.  As the Sidney Harris cartoon says about biological imperatives:  “Eat!  Survive!  Reproduce!” (other version of the meme here.

            FWIW, Hansen now promotes nuclear power for that very reason.

            Why do we need sticks and carrots to coerce and guide us

            Because we are descended from organisms which made sure that they survived every day, and worried about tomorrow when it came; those that didn’t live to see tomorrow left no offspring.  If you want to get people to pay attention to tomorrow, take care of today first.

            Time for radically new ideas that convince the populace that we are putting ourselves in long term danger by continuing our love affair with fossils.

            How about the hoary old (well, early 20th-century) idea that there’s a “tolerance dose” for radiation, that small chronic exposures aren’t harmful, that the disaster scenarios for carbon-free nuclear energy are grossly overblown, and we can replace lots of combustion with fission to both satisfy today and help take care of tomorrow?  Why try to go back as far as the 6th century AD and think about a 20th-century energy source instead?

            If we’re trying to de-carbonize our energy sources, why not follow France instead of Denmark?  France is doing better, and looks like both a better model and a better starting point for progress to zero.

            If we view this effort as a war against carbon, the generators which need fossil fuels as a backup are objectively inferior to those which do not.

  2. NevenA Says:

    Maybe rename the video to Barton Gangster Style?


  3. Nice job, Peter. I knew something was up when I saw a new wave of deniers.

  4. climatebob Says:

    Good stuff. liars do not like being exposed and when it gets to their home and friends it begins to really hurt. I live in hope that it will be like the French revolution and when the crops failed it was ‘off with their heads’.

  5. Gingerbaker Says:

    “If you want the oil and gas to stay in the ground, you need to make them uneconomic to extract. The most certain way to do this is to supply energy that does what the oil and gas do, but do it cheaper.

    No, you cannot do this with subsidies of uneconomic systems.”

    Your conclusion does not follow.

    If we nationalized our renewable energy infrastructure, it could provide electricity for next to nothing after the capital expense was paid off. That would make it extremely cost effective, an enormous return on investment if one merely looks at it as a way to eliminate the growing expense of carbon fuels.

    But it would also greatly reduce or eliminate the need to spend money to mitigate the expenses of disaster relief resulting from global warming. Best available evidence is that cost will be $1240 Trillion by year 2100.

    So, providing subsidies for renewable energy could be the most successful economic policy decision in the history of the world.


    • “No, you cannot do this with subsidies of uneconomic systems.”

      Your conclusion does not follow.

      If we nationalized our renewable energy infrastructure, it could provide electricity for next to nothing after the capital expense was paid off.

      That just moves costs and benefits around; it doesn’t get rid of them.  You would still have to charge a premium over RE cost to finance the construction of the replacements for fossil-fired capacity, insofar as your “renewables” could actually replace it.  The current crop of flow-dependent generation (wind, wave and solar) requires quite a bit of carbon-based fuel to pick up where it leaves off.

      France has a state-financed nuclear model which achieved 78% carbon-free nuclear on its grid, with hydro providing most of the balance.  “Green, renewable” Denmark has yet to hit 50% on its grid and has far higher per-capita carbon emissions.  What is your goal here?  Why is higher-carbon Denmark the model for you, and not lower-carbon France?

      providing subsidies for renewable energy could be the most successful economic policy decision in the history of the world.

      There’s no existence proof of your assertion in the world, except where hydro was the major energy source before.  Nuclear France and the almost entirely de-carbonized grid of Ontario are proofs that nuclear energy has already done the job that RE advocates only claim they can do.  You need to stop ignoring it on ideological grounds, and stop trying to regulate it out of existence by forcing it to maintain standards that nothing else has to… or can.


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