Friday, April 25, 2008

Cancer from Global Warming and Russian Peak Oil.

New research indicates that global warming may increase the risk of developing skin-cancer. The incidence of cancer measured in 10 separate regions of the US was found to be strongly correlated with both the local amount of sunlight falling per unit area and average maximum summer daily temperatures. The incidence of one type of skin-cancer called squamous cell carcinoma, was found to increase by 5.5% for every degree centigrade (C) rise in temperature. Similarly, basal cell carcinoma increased by 2.9%/degree C. This epidemiological data accords with previous tests on UV-irradiated mice which showed a 3 - 7% increase in the effect of the UV (e.g. in the "effective dose") per degree C rise in temperature.

Dr Jan van der Leun who conducted the research, concluded that only 80% of the variation in skin-cancer in the study could be accounted for by the local UV intensity alone. Additional factors, including genetic make-up and obviously how long people stay out in the sun for, and now it seems, temperature must be considered. The authors conclude that a 2-4% increase in mean summer temperatures could produce "substantial increases in incidence of skin-carcinomas", which among white-Caucasians have already increased dramatically during the past century.

If it is true that it is human-induced CO2 emissions that are responsible for increased global-warming, the following piece of news might appear as "good news". Namely that oil-production in Russia, second only to Saudi Arabia, has now peaked and is likely to decline during the coming years, according to Viktor Vekselberg, a co-owner of BP's TNK-BP venture company.

Russian companies are seeking tax-breaks to urge exploration and the development of new fields to prompt growth in production. Meanwhile, oil-production has fallen for the first time in the past 10 years as Soviet-era wells begin to dry-up and the likely costs of extracting oil from more challenging deposits, such as the Arctic, rally. In March, Russia produced 9.76 million barrels a day to be compared with 9.83 million barrels a day in December 2007. Such a fall in annual production would bring to an end a 58% increase in output since 1998, a point at which Russia defaulted on about $40 billion of domestic debt and devalued the Rouble. In 1998 a barrel of oil cost $12 while now it is almost $112 a barrel, in line with rising world oil prices.

As noted, cuts in oil-production and other fossil fuels might be taken as good news in terms of reducing global-warming and its effects, including more of us developing skin-cancer. The less carbon we have available to burn, the less CO2 we pump into the sky. However, by the time this offset helps reduce atmospheric CO2 levels, it is hard to see how civilization will be maintained, as these underpinning sources of energy to do so are depleted. We need a grand plan to address both and more immediately the latter.

Related Reading.
[1] "Russian oil has peaked". By Greg Walters and Maria Kolesnikova.
[2] "Global warming cancer warning." By Jon Edwards.
[3] Jan C. van der Leun, Photochem. Photobiol. Sci., 2008, DOI: 10.1039/b719302e


Davis said...

Good post.

You all should check out The Oil Drum and Energy Bulletin. Two peak oil analysis and news mainstays, imho.

energybalance said...

Many thanks! I have left a comment about the Grangemouth facility on theoildrum.


Anonymous said...

Most of these studies have to be taken with grain of salt. Granted White people need to stay in Northern latitudes as that is what they are designed for but Medical industry has first scared every one about skin cancer. Sun is the primary way Vitamin D is produced supposedly a cancer fighter. It is Cholesterol is what is changed by the body to produce Vitamin D. So the second stage of scare tactic was cholesterol now that people are not suppose to get some sun. Something evolution setup for million of years. So high cholesterol was
evolutionary advantage. Tan skin is an advantage no wonder White people dies to fake tan. But throw evolution under the bus and rely of doctor who have every incentive to gauge you.

energybalance said...

Yes, I agree about the validity of epidemiological evidence. There are always scares of some kind, although as I understand it, light-skinned people shouldn't over-expose themselves.

Indeed, we do need some sunlight to make vitamin D. Why is a tan an advantage to a white-skinned person? Do you mean in terms of vitamin-D synthesis or for cosmetic reasons? Either way, I am white, like the sun in moderation and don't bother with a fake-tan.

Immanuel Llorens said...

Unfortunately, most of the world still depend on fossil fuel as their main energy source. Until more accessible alternative energy sources are found and used, mankind will have to live with the fact that oil drives the world.

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