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A Concerned Citizen Expresses His Views on the Fossil Fuel Industry and Scientific Research
Volume 8, Number 7b: 16 February 2005

I have been pleased to be around this group [Timo Hameranta's Climate Sceptics] for about five years and in general have always acknowledged my position as a novice in climatology when considering the multiple and highly variable actual empirical reasons for global climate change.  But every now and then I feel called upon to rebut some of the comments made to this group.  This is one of those times.

When I was in high school from 1939 to 1942, cigarettes were called "coffin nails."  I do not know when that term was coined, but young humans at the time did not seem to mind becoming addicted at 10 cents a pack.  They mostly misled themselves without much help from the tobacco companies except for free samples on many street corners and at the Saturday movie theatre.  I feel lucky to having come down with bronchitis when I was in Navy pilot training and the flight surgeon suggested I quit smoking if I wanted to become a Navy Pilot.  I did both.

I happen to believe about 99% of the members of this group (The Climate Sceptics Group) are honest and competent and professionally objective in their scientific and academic knowledge without having to declare their source of income or livelihood.  However, I am not able to make a similar comparison with the consensus builders on the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

As a professional petroleum geologist and engineer with about 55 years experience in my chosen profession after I got out of the Navy, I do not believe coal and oil companies have misled or misinformed the public on the finite sources of fossil fuel energy in some manner to the world's detriment.  Quite to the contrary, they definitely fulfilled a public demand for a beneficial product that resulted in what many people consider to be human progress.

The world will be hard put to develop a substitute for the depleting supplies of fossil fuels.  I have done what I could to encourage them to do just that and find substitutes since about 1958 without much success, but I will continue to do so.  In the meantime, I will continue to attempt to find as much oil and gas as I am able within the continental United States, because this nation will need it even with the development of as much renewable energy as possible.  (The expanded development of nuclear energy is now required.)  If I am successful with my exploration, I will continue to make a living with the freedom of a supply and demand market in our nation.

Yes, I have a vested interest in the oil and gas exploration business, and I believe it is, and has been, of benefit to my country for over 50 years.  Of course, I am prejudiced in this view, but I believe I am also scientifically objective, and I have no desire to change that disposition at this late period of my life.

Where do these facts represent any failure to adequately inform the public?  CO2 is a requirement for essentially all plant life; it is highly beneficial for the greening of the earth.  Also, continued global warming, such as occurred over the last century, could itself be beneficial to the growing population of the planet, as it has been to date.  In fact, it and the ongoing rise in the air's CO2 content may even be requirements for an abundant future life for both mankind and the world of nature.  So are fossil fuels, therefore, a requirement at this time!

Fred L. Oliver, PE, CPG