The first is the fact that oil is not, apparently, a fossil fuel, something that might leave those gleefully anticipating "peak oil" looking a little foolish.
To recapitulate, Stalin’s team of scientists and engineers found that oil is not a ‘fossil fuel’ but is a natural product of planet earth – the high-temperature, high-pressure continuous reaction between calcium carbonate and iron oxide – two of the most abundant compounds making up the earth’s crust. This continuous reaction occurs at a depth of approximately 100 km at a pressure of approximately 50,000 atmospheres (5 GPa) and a temperature of approximately 1500°C, and will continue more or less until the ‘death’ of planet earth in millions of years’ time. The high pressure, as well as centrifugal acceleration from the earth’s rotation, causes oil to continuously seep up along fissures in the earth’s crust into subterranean caverns, which we call oil fields. Oil is still being produced in great abundance, and is a sustainable resource – by the same definition that makes geothermal energy a sustainable resource. All we have to do is develop better geotechnical science to predict where it is and learn how to drill down deep enough to get to it. So far, the Russians have drilled to more than 13 km and found oil. In contrast, the deepest any Western oil company has drilled is around 4.5 km.
Which is, I think you'll agree, jolly good news—although I do hope that we continue down the path of finding other energy sources. Whilst I find no evidence for the CO2 emissions theory of global warming, aethestically it might be nice if we stopped burning these fuels eventually.
Anyway, do wander over to Bishop Hill's and read the rest—or, indeed, the Climate Cuttings archives—but I'd just like to finish up with a compare and contrast from Dr Keith Briffa, the tree ring maestro.
The Paleoclimate Reconstruction Challenge is firing lots of interest. If reconstructions of past climate are going to be based on sound science in future, it will be a big step forward. A kick-off conference was held (behind closed doors) in Trieste but some of the papers presented have fortunately found their way onto the internet. keith.gifOne, by the CRU's Keith Briffa, was very candid about the problems of verification of tree ring regressions, describing them as "of limited rigour", and that they tell us "virtually nothing about the validity of long-timescale climate estimates". Strangely, while writing the paleoclimate chapter of the IPCC report, he rejected any such criticism out of hand. The IPCC's final report talked of "the general strength of many such calibrated relationships, and their significant verification using independent instrumental data."
That's the joy of climate science...