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Cap Fossil Fuel Production Now!


Cap Fossil Fuel Production Now!

Richard Heinberg

Climate scientists are in broad agreement that there are enough fossil fuels in the Earth’s crust that, if they were all burned, the result would be dramatically rising sea levels, extreme weather, plummeting food production, dying seas, and a mass extinction of species (possibly including our own). Therefore the only sane response to global warming is to leave most of those fuels in the ground.


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Apparently the author feels that a system that guarantees that oil will continue to be used … but in an orderly manner… call it ‘polite oil’ … is preferable for the future. He suggests that we are far away from implementing alternatives, at least according to him. I suppose he is emailing Hillary and telling her that her 500 million solar roofs initiative isn’t possible because well … it just isn’t!

The author ‘compassionately’ relates how fossil fuels will be necessary for two and *three more decades and tells us all the ways that we can’t use them yet. So he suggests caps in oil production. Flexible caps mind you, something he failed to stress.

Like in cap and trade, the author takes pains to say oil companies will have to buy their quotas that allow them to keep pumping. Quotas will be allocated to industries.

In short, an orderly (but flexible…how nice) guarantee for permission to keep producing oil for the next thirty years. Oops perhaps I should use his language to describe this? An orderly cap and quota restricting the amount of oil that will be produced in the next three decades.

Give me a break!

Thirty years of oil? Meanwhile he said not one word about arctic oil. Somehow I just don’t think that when oil is discovered up there that the industry will be amenable to not using it.

The author may mean well, I haven’t read any of his books, however he gives a perspective that can only be described as his being too close to oil and therefore less than objective. A moderate position that advocates continuing use of oil through these quotas (caps…flexible caps that is).

To me I think it is another camouflage to delay getting off oil. Oh we need oil for this or that. For example he cites mining. Coal mining? Whatever. Why can’t a solar furnace plant provide electricity to run heavy machinery like it does buses and trolleys in many cities? He doesn’t say.

If we are still using oil in any significant way in thirty years… his quotas won’t matter. The planet is going to be toast. We have a short window say five years to wake up to the danger. Hillary’s 500 million roof top solar is a wake up call. Bernie’s carbon tax is too. (the author didn’t seem to like carbon taxes, oddly enough.

Cap and trade and cap and quota (auctioned off of course) … hey wait… maybe if we take cap and trade credits (auctioned) and combine them with the cap and quota credits (auctioned) we can buy enough credits to never stop pumping oil at all for say … um… well maybe thirty or so years?


Yes, it is obvious you haven’t read any of his books.


That is a cop out answer (and implies that you have read them) since I have no idea of what you object to in my comment. So what is the point of your comment… you didn’t say. I’ll make a note though that you felt the need to say something but didn’t know what to say. Um… uh? Thanks for your input?


Pacha Mama recognized that there was too much carbon, so she dutifully sequestered it and folded it deep within her. Her loving gesture our species has ridiculed beyond measure.


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Another genius who first insults someone and calls names and then instead of explaining his objections he repeats verbatim the words in the article.

Gee sorry about your adulation for this author which I do not share (btw you failed to mention that you have read any of his books). I am not familiar with this institute and many industry insiders write about energy/technology issues. Most especially the issue of Peak Oil which contrary to to the fossil fuel industry I do not agree with. The industry screamed peak oil like chicken little and jacked up prices. For all that the industry says peak oil we have TOO MUCH oil already known and accessible in the ground which we CANNOT USE. So where is peak oil except as a con game to squeeze profits. Peak oil they say… prices skyrocket… suddenly fracking which is suicidal poisoning of ground water and wells is allowed (people don’t want it but the government doesn’t listen to people it listens to oil companies). It is all part of the stall … the keep using fossil fuels as long as possible.

Solar and wind are now competitive with fossil fuels for energy production (this author does not seem as well researched about new advances in alternatives now coming into the market.) and what happens suddenly the price of oil drops precipitously. A coincidence? Or a reaction to the continuing and increasing divestment in oil and a dramatic disinterest in fossil fuel use by the public. They cannot keep up with demand for solar because they aren’t making them fast enough to meet demand which is so high.

This author plays that lets be reasonable, a slow and measured gradual decline in use of oil etc etc. He advocates a refinement of cap and trade except without the trade. Evidently trading the same source more than once doesn’t wash in the markets…lol. So along comes cap and allocate. It still comes down to artificial (but flexible…don’t forget that because I didn’t) goals set by the government and credits that are auctioned off to permit the continuing use of oil.

It is a con. Thirty more years of oil is insanity. My guess is that you and the author simply do not know just how bad things are getting. The oceans have become 1/3 more acidic… My God think of the vast quantity of carbonic acid necessary in creating that situation. The oceans also have 1/3 less plankton according to NASA. The deep blue seas are actually bluer… and we breathe 5% less oxygen than we should be. Oysters dying, fish disappearing, horribly vast dead zones extending thousands of miles (is that not astounding enough?) … that’s just the oceans.

How fast will all this occur? I mean catastrophe? Catastrophic climate change? How fast do you think? Evidently you think we have those twenty and thirty years the author seeks.

Scientists say otherwise. The natural world is dying and maybe we won’t save much of it and will have to live in the destruction that fossil fuel use has wrought. But I know that if we wanted to we could do so much more so much faster.

500 million solar roofs in four years? So that would mean 2 billion solar roofs in 16 years? Getting the picture? Plus wind turbines all across the croplands and pastures. On top of office buildings, off shore… We don’t need to wait and we don’t have 30 years to be illogical.

Being realistic is to get off fossil fuels as fast as possible but you and this author see things from the fossil fuel side…

Oh and that 2 BILLION solar roofs are just for us in this country. What will other countries add to that number in 16 years.

Btw that’s 4 billion solar roofs in 30 years… but that would only be true …if we went SLOW. We actually will do much better much faster.


Yes, we have no time to dither.

But we already surrendered political power to professional Wall Street Worshipping bipartisan ditherers!

Voting for either Ds or Rs is treason and collective suicide!


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Very dramatic. techno-fetishists… that’s a new one on me. Cool…do they come in any other color besides green?

“But didn’t you know we can’t! We just can’t! change” They said.

“The oceans are dying. Nature is dying. We must. We must change.” We said.

“How will we make the money we’re making now if we change?” They asked with an air of gravitas and showing grave concern.

“We don’t care about your making money. We care about the world.” We said with a considerable amount of sincerity.

“You see why we can’t talk to you? Money is important and this is a lot of money.” They sneered.

“Do you see why we don’t listen to you? The world is important and this is our last chance to save it.” We sneered back at them.

“Yes we know all that but what about our making all this money? There’s no point talking to you people!” They said and went back to counting their money.

“We don’t care about your making so much money none of that matters anymore. There’s no point in even listening to you people.” We said and went back to installing solar.

Pick which one that you think will share their money with you? LOL.

or Pick which one expects to have a long future?

You define yourself by what you believe. In short you think that it won’t be so bad in ten years. That’s really it. Isn’t it? You might believe that it might get bad in thirty years but not in ten. Maybe not even in twenty?

The problem is that you look for excuses to keep using fossil fuels. Whereas we see the irreversible effects cascading one after another. What happens in ten years will determine how bad it gets in thirty. It doesn’t have to get that bad in other words and it’ll be bad enough as it is but it can get worse! Much worse if we wait.

But you don’t realize that the world will exist in fifty years. You might not live that long but the little kiddies will be here and what kind of hell will they be living in with fifty years of global warming?

You look for excuses to keep using oil. We look for emergency measures to get us off oil as fast as possible. You keep saying that the Golden Goose isn’t sick and dying and keep wanting just one more golden egg. The end of that story is that after the goose died they insisted that they hadn’t realized that she was so sick… but they all knew… they just couldn’t stop wanting all that money. They just couldn’t imagine not being able to keep getting more and more.


Thank you for pointing out that a precedence was set for managing resources during WWII. We won the war so I’d say the gov is perfectly capable of managing resources for the betterment of all! Naysayers, step aside.


Thank you for introducing me to the term “managed economy.” That would be a very sane and reasonable approach to dealing with many social and economic issues. Its not inherently socialism nor communism. In fact during WWII, the economy was managed. We won the war; so, it looks like gov can effectively manage the economy. Only this time, the majority of production won’t be for a war effort. It will be for the people.


Would that be a republican managed economy? Reasonable? Would that include promoting nuclear again because repubs think it is a reasonable way to go? Maybe that republican campaign ‘plank’ - More weapons means more jobs! Vote for war today, it helps keep America working? More oil is worth more war republicans reasonable? You didn’t say?

A managed economy … spread out over thirty years (let’s be reasonable here. Say fifty years) we would reduce our use of oil. Um… how would that work in real world terms?

How would that work in a republican version of that managed economy?

The concentrated efforts of a Manhattan Project type initiative to get us off fossil fuels and switch us to alternatives. is what this country needs. That could be done in twenty or less years easily enough.

This author cannot conceive of us ever really doing without fossil fuels on a large scale. He hasn’t even researched how it could be accomplished quickly. He talks of solar and wind power as if from twenty years ago. It is noticeable that.


It shouldn’t be an R or D managed economy. Look, you obviously haven’t noticed but some of our economy is already being managed. Haven’t you ever wondered what the connection between the US Forestry Service and the Lumber industry is? Is the Forestry Service R or D? Then, there’s the agencies that are increasingly managing fisheries. I’m sure there’s more examples. Do you get the idea now? Does this help you to envision what a managed economy might look like, since its already going on in some sectors? During WWII the entire economy was managed. Its not a new idea and its not the first time it would be done but, if initiated, it may be the first time its done on a permanent basis. My point is there’s a precedent, perhaps you didn’t notice or chose not to notice.