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New Series: (Petro) Engineers in Climatology

What is the difference between engineers and scientists? The mocker might say: engineers are scientists but without the originality and imagination. Scientists think outside the box the engineers are living in. Engineers rely on equations which they look up in books. And if no simple equation exists to characterize a complicated issue, then the issue cannot exist.

Petro engineers are an even more special breed: their thinking is generally one-dimensional (vertical hole), occasionally two-dimensional (hole deviates from the vertical), and always linear. How likely are petro engineers predestined to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function? Exactly...And, have you ever heard an engineer tell a really funny joke?

Alberta is full or petro engineers. And Alberta is full of ultraconservatives, it is an island of ultraconservatism in Canada (similar to Texas in the US). Is there a connection between the two? The answer is yes! How would a linear and one-dimensionally thinking engineer define ultraconservatism? Correct: a combination of very simple thinking and selfishness. How often did I hear a petro engineer say ‘CO2 is just a trace gas, hence it cannot cause global warming’ or ‘they cannot even predict the weather how can they predict climate?’ The engineer’s world is so simple. And while engineers explain the climate system in a half sentence (usually: the sun is the sole driver of climate), they criticize that climate computer models do not consider all the complexities of the climate system. This makes, of course, much sense - not!

Every petro engineer I know denies AGW (and blames Al Gore for it - who is used as a virtual door mat by the Calgary oil patch). Whenever I open the PEG, the organ of APEGGA (Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists, and Geophysicists of Alberta), it is full of AGW denial letters. These engineers bypass the existing science and simply try to re-invent the wheel on the back of a napkin. They certainly do not read any of the thousands of peer-reviewed articles on the subject published every year nor are they even aware of them. They live in a parallel universe and all that matters in their opinion is the debate between amateurs aiming to create doubt on AGW and thus delay action - that’s where self interest and selfishness come in. Some of these engineers that ignore the large body of published science are organized - ironically - in the so-called Friends of Science. My friends, science does not rely on the debate of non-well-read amateurs - and it is also independent of Al Gore’s personal wealth level or the size of David Suzuki’s house! Science does not rely on Al Gore at all, as he is not responsible for the science AGW is based on. But Al Gore was instrumental in informing the scientifically unsophisticated North American public of global warming, something that had been in the awareness of Europeans for over 20 years.

We love engineers and want to save them from their misguidance. Hence we are working on a new column that aims to monitor the denial activities by engineers of the Calgary oil patch. We analyze some of the numerous newspaper articles and letters to the editor, and point out their logical fallacies. While we acknowledge that not all denying engineers are petro engineers, we find that the latter create the maximum contrast to climate scientists. The new series is therefore called:

'Petroengineers in Climatology'
Soon in a computer near you. Very soon.