Report: US CO2 Emissions Lowest Levels in 20 Years

heatwaveThe U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that US carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are at their lowest level for the January-March period since 1992.  However, the agency would attribute the decline to three factors, including: a mild winter that reduced household heating demand and therefore energy use; a decline in coal-fired electricity generation, due largely to historically low natural gas prices; and reduced gasoline demand.

The New York Times reports this week, however, that experts are unclear whether this marks the continuation of a trend or an anomaly.

“While this is a positive step, we shouldn’t just say, ‘Oh, we’ve got plenty of natural gas, we can just switch to that, problem solved,’ and move on,” Jay Apt, the director of the Carnegie Mellon Electricity Industry Center, who was not involved in compiling the study, told the New York Times.

“U.S. CO2 emissions from energy consumption totaled 1,340 million metric tons during the first quarter of 2012, down nearly 8% from a year earlier and the lowest for the January-March period since 1992,” according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s June Monthly Energy Review.

The report found that CO2 emissions from coal were down 18% to 387 million metric tons in the January-March 2012 period. That was the lowest first quarter CO2 emissions from coal since 1983 and the lowest for any quarter since April-June 1986.

emissions_p2.png

They attribute that decline to “utilities using less coal for electricity generation as they burned more low-priced natural gas.”

The report notes, “About 90% of the energy-related CO2 emissions from coal came from the electric power sector. Coal has the highest carbon intensity among major fossil fuels, resulting in coal-fired plants having the highest output rate of CO2 per kilowatthour.”

Meanwhile, natural gas emissions were also down compared to a year ago, though such emissions fell less than the coal emissions drops.

They report, “While generators used more natural gas for electricity generation, overall CO2 emissions from natural gas were down because of lower gas heating demand this winter when temperatures were significantly above the historical average for the season.”

The report notes, “The electric power sector accounted for about 27% of the CO2 emissions from natural gas, while 26% came from the residential sector. The industrial sector was the biggest producer of CO2 emissions from natural gas at 28% for the January-March 2012 period, but those emissions were up only 2 million metric tons from a year earlier.”

“Natural gas is the least carbon-intensive fossil fuel, producing the lowest CO2 emissions. Power plants that burn natural gas are also usually more efficient at converting fuel into electricity (i.e., they have a lower heat rate) than coal-fired power plants. The average operating heat rate for gas-fired power plants is about 21% lower than coal-fired electric generation facilities, creating less CO2 emissions,” the report adds.

Finally, with regard to petroleum, the report found, “Petroleum CO2 emissions fell 2.7% during the first quarter of 2012 compared to the same period for 2011, to 559 million metric tons, due to reduced gasoline and heating oil consumption. Petroleum CO2 emissions were at the lowest level for any quarter since April-June 1996.”

The NY Times notes that Michael Mann, “a climate scientist who directs the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University, emphasized Friday that, in addition to carbon dioxide emissions, natural gas wells contribute to other ills.  When shale gas is taken from the earth, researchers suggest ‘fugitive methane’ – a far potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide – can escape into the atmospheres through fissures in the ground.”

“We may be reducing our CO2 emissions, but it is possible that we’re actually increasing the greenhouse gas problem with methane emissions,” he said.

Berkeley Physicist Richard Muller stunned many when, in the New York Times, he abandoned years of skepticism over studies linking global warming to human activity, proclaiming in a New York Times op-ed, “Call me a converted skeptic.”

In an interview with NPR, he said, “Well, if you had asked me a year ago, I might have said I didn’t know whether there was global warming at all. But we had begun a major study, scientific reinvestigation. We were addressing what I consider to be legitimate criticisms of many of the skeptics.”

He continued, “But about nine months ago, we reached a conclusion that global warming was indeed taking place, that all of the effects that the skeptics raised could be addressed, and to my surprise, actually, the global warming was approximately what people had previously said.”

One of the key findings that changed Professor Muller’s mind is correlations between levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide and temperatures.

He wrote, “We tried fitting the shape to simple math functions (exponentials, polynomials), to solar activity and even to rising functions like world population. By far the best match was to the record of atmospheric carbon dioxide, measured from atmospheric samples and air trapped in polar ice.”

As he told NPR, “To my surprise, the clear signature that really matched the rise in the data was human carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. It just matched so much better than anything else. I was just stunned.”

Dr. Apt, the New York Times reports, “is among those who believes that government intervention would be needed to cut emissions to acceptable levels.”

“If we see more and more variability in the climate, not just droughts but also more storms, there may very well emerge a consensus that we need to finally do something to stop this very dangerous unprecedented experiment that we’re doing on the planet,” he said.

“My fear is that if the U.S. is so laggard in greenhouse gas regulation that we will be buying technologies from abroad rather than selling them, as we did with clean air and water,” he said.

Local communities have aimed policies at reducing their carbon footprint to 1990 standards, but federal policy is lagging behind what communities like San Francisco and even Davis has done.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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66 Comments

  1. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that US carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are at their lowest level for the January-March period since 1992. [/quote]

    Yet we are having a record heat wave/drought… 😉

  2. Frankly

    Elaine: The political-scientific consortium has all of it covered:

    1. Heating = Anthropogenic Global Warming
    2. Cooling = Anthropogenic Global Climate Change
    3. Drought = Anthropogenic Global Warming
    4. Flooding = Anthropogenic Global Climate Change
    5. Hurricanes and Tornados = Anthropogenic Global Climate Change

    Pretty neato huh? They never have to admit they were wrong when the weather does something different than their dire predictions. They can leverage any and all weather-related predicaments to push a scientific and political agenda.

    Interesting that we can have so many agree on something so enigmatic; but we can’t do the same concerning our government spending. How about putting as much effort into the theory of “Global Fiscal Collapse”? After all , if a tree dies in the forest and we aren’t around to experience the tree… who cares?

  3. wdf1

    ERM: [i]Yet we are having a record heat wave/drought… ;-)[/i]

    The factor in play is global accumulated CO2. What the article is saying is that the U.S. reduced the amount of CO2 that it added to the atmosphere. A one year reduction in overall emissions will not do anything to change warming climate trends, in this framework. What the article doesn’t account for is the contribution of other countries, particularly China and India. If you care about CO2 levels, then this is a start. But it’s only an extremely modest beginning if the goal is to reduce CO2 levels.

  4. wdf1

    JB: [i]Interesting that we can have so many agree on something so enigmatic; but we can’t do the same concerning our government spending.[/i]

    …and there’s always enough money to rescue the banking industry.

  5. Steve Hayes

    In our fair City, we will strive for a “Mickey Mouse” sized carbon footprint and volunteer for a “Goofy” sized electronic footprint (witness the passivity of the majority of our citizens as Crown Castle recently backed in 27 cell phone antennae within City limits).

    Davis, we will know you for your hypocricy by your limping!

  6. wdf1

    Here’s the trend line of direct measures of global CO2 levels. Note that the trend remains positive, meaning that that a reduction in U.S. emissions has not changed the trend in any significant way. It would take bigger efforts to do that.

    [img]http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/webdata/ccgg/trends/co2_trend_mlo.png[/img]

  7. Frankly

    [i]…and there’s always enough money to rescue the banking industry.[/i]

    wdf1, I don’t know many conservatives that support bailing out any big business/industry. Related to the theory of Global Warming, bail outs to Global Fiscal Collapse theory is analogous to using nuclear weapons to destroy coal mines to reduce coal emissions.

  8. SouthofDavis

    wdf1 wrote:

    >…and there’s always enough money to rescue the banking industry.

    The “Banking Industry” like the “Defense Industry” has learned that if you give money to both Republicans and Democrats you will always get Government money.

    A family friend who is a retired Defense Industry exec. told me that his firm (and many other defense firms) would donate 49% to the Dems, 49% to the GOP and 1% to the President year after year after year…

    As the Save the Environment/Ban Standard Light bulb & Plastic Bag industry matures they will learn that go get really large chunks of government money that you need to bribe (also known as making perfectly legal campaign contributions)elected officials on both sided of the aisle.

  9. wdf1

    JB: [i] I don’t know many conservatives that support bailing out any big business/industry.[/i]

    The rate at which Wall Street is contributing to Republican campaigns & causes this year makes me think that conservatives would find a way to change their thinking if it were needed.

  10. Frankly

    wdf1: Wall Street supported Obama, and there have been several studies that disproves your premise that Wall Street is significantly biased toward Republicans. You do know about the Goldman Sachs connection with the Obama admin, right?

  11. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]What the article doesn’t account for is the contribution of other countries, particularly China and India. If you care about CO2 levels, then this is a start. But it’s only an extremely modest beginning if the goal is to reduce CO2 levels.[/quote]

    I brought this very issue up in a previous column and was roundly criticized… LOL

  12. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]Elaine: The political-scientific consortium has all of it covered:

    1. Heating = Anthropogenic Global Warming
    2. Cooling = Anthropogenic Global Climate Change
    3. Drought = Anthropogenic Global Warming
    4. Flooding = Anthropogenic Global Climate Change
    5. Hurricanes and Tornados = Anthropogenic Global Climate Change [/quote]

    I couldn’t stop laughing at this one 😉

    [quote]Interesting that we can have so many agree on something so enigmatic; but we can’t do the same concerning our government spending. How about putting as much effort into the theory of “Global Fiscal Collapse”? After all , if a tree dies in the forest and we aren’t around to experience the tree… who cares?[/quote]

    Spot on.

  13. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]The rate at which Wall Street is contributing to Republican campaigns & causes this year makes me think that conservatives would find a way to change their thinking if it were needed.[/quote]

    Are you really trying to argue both parties aren’t up to their eyeballs/in thick w the banking industry?

  14. Frankly

    wdf1, What is your point? Wall Street is not ideologically biased based on the fact that they supported Dems in prior elections, and support the GOP candidates now. From my perspective it looks Wall Street supports the candidate that they think will be best for the economy in general. Boy, did they learn their lesson with Obama!

    Getting back to climate change. A robust economy provides government with more resources to invest in the next Solyndra.

  15. rusty49

    So are we to ruin our economy, what’s left of it anyway, to further reduce our CO2 levels while China and India thrive while polluting and counteracting any reduction that we are acheiving all over a yet unproven science?

  16. wdf1

    ERM: [i]I brought this very issue up in a previous column and was roundly criticized… LOL[/i]

    I don’t recall criticizing you on that issue. I usually respond when comments mis-characterize the science, as your original comment did today.

  17. Don Shor

    [i]”1. Heating = Anthropogenic Global Warming
    2. Cooling = Anthropogenic Global Climate Change
    3. Drought = Anthropogenic Global Warming
    4. Flooding = Anthropogenic Global Climate Change
    5. Hurricanes and Tornados = Anthropogenic Global Climate Change”[/i]

    Yes. Increased global temperatures will very likely lead to more extreme weather conditions of all kinds. I could give examples of all of 1 – 4, with reasonable explanations as to why they are occurring. Or, of course, you could find them by doing a very small amount of online searching yourselves.
    #5 is more tenuous, and was one of the claims in Inconvenient Truth that was criticized as being unproven.

  18. wdf1

    JB: [i]What is your point?[/i]

    That politicians are likely to be most responsive to whatever cause has the most money behind it. If there were more money going to James Inhofe from groups interested in a legislative response to trends indicated in current science of global warming than from oil companies, then he would change his position.

  19. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]I don’t recall criticizing you on that issue. I usually respond when comments mis-characterize the science, as your original comment did today.[/quote]

    Didn’t mean to imply you personally criticized me – I don’t think you did either. But many global warming theorists went to great lengths to discredit my observation, which I find highly amusing. But I don’t think my original comment today mis-characterizes the science at all – it provides “an inconvenient truth” as one commenter pointed out…

  20. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]That politicians are likely to be most responsive to whatever cause has the most money behind it. If there were more money going to James Inhofe from groups interested in a legislative response to trends indicated in current science of global warming than from oil companies, then he would change his position.[/quote]

    There is no question the oil industry is controlling the energy discussion…

  21. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]1. Heating = Anthropogenic Global Warming
    2. Cooling = Anthropogenic Global Climate Change
    3. Drought = Anthropogenic Global Warming
    4. Flooding = Anthropogenic Global Climate Change
    5. Hurricanes and Tornados = Anthropogenic Global Climate Change”

    Yes. Increased global temperatures will very likely lead to more extreme weather conditions of all kinds. I could give examples of all of 1 – 4, with reasonable explanations as to why they are occurring. Or, of course, you could find them by doing a very small amount of online searching yourselves.
    #5 is more tenuous, and was one of the claims in Inconvenient Truth that was criticized as being unproven.[/quote]

    Or all of this could be a normal cyclical change that occurs over hundreds of years…

  22. E Roberts Musser

    As I have said many times before, the theory of global warming is not nearly important to me as addressing the following two issues, which to my mind are the real heart of the debate:
    1) How much do we expend/what types of methods/policies do we employ to reduce air pollution?
    2) How do we become energy independent from foreign oil?

  23. Frankly

    Is the US oil industry controlling the energy discussion? Maybe. But the Obama administration is sure controlling energy policy.

    [url]http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/28/science/earth/epa-sets-greenhouse-emission-limits-on-new-power-plants.html[/url]

    Note that these EPA rules and many that proceeded are having a chilling job-killing effect.

    Add this to Obamacare and the constant threat of higher taxation, and it is clear to understand where the thoughts of ideological conspiracy come from. Is Obama a socialist? Certainly having a greater population of people unable or unwilling to take care of themselves contributes to a populist movement to demand more entitlements and politicians that best serve that demand.

    Said another way, it appears that Obama and the Dems actually like having so many unemployed. Their actions supporting the economy do not support their rhetoric.

  24. rusty49

    Jeff:
    “Add this to Obamacare and the constant threat of higher taxation, and it is clear to understand where the thoughts of ideological conspiracy come from. Is Obama a socialist? Certainly having a greater population of people unable or unwilling to take care of themselves contributes to a populist movement to demand more entitlements and politicians that best serve that demand.”

    Jeff, if you haven’t already, go see the movie 2016 Obama’s America. It confronts much of what you said here with standing ovations at the end happening all across the country.

  25. Frankly

    [i]As I have said many times before, the theory of global warming is not nearly important to me as addressing the following two issues, which to my mind are the real heart of the debate:
    1) How much do we expend/what types of methods/policies do we employ to reduce air pollution?
    2) How do we become energy independent from foreign oil?[/i]

    Agree 100% Elaine as long as we include…

    3) How do we get more Americans working in the private-sector and climbing the properity ladder?

  26. wdf1

    ERM: [i]Didn’t mean to imply you personally criticized me – I don’t think you did either. But many global warming theorists went to great lengths to discredit my observation, which I find highly amusing. But I don’t think my original comment today mis-characterizes the science at all – it provides “an inconvenient truth” as one commenter pointed out…[/i]

    To put “Yet we are having a record heat wave/drought” next to the comment the comment, “The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that US carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are at their lowest level for the January-March period since 1992”, suggests you think there should be a cause and effect when there isn’t. You would have to REDUCE total CO2 in the atmosphere to get that. All the article says is that the U.S. alone reduced the amount of CO2 it ADDED to the atmosphere. There’s nothing inconvenient about it, in the sense the you mean.

  27. Frankly

    Rusty, Related to 2016 Obama’s America… I may need to wait for the DVD since I will likely be shouting obscenities at the screen!

    It is fascinating and a bit sad though… that people need a movie to understand reality. All they have to do is start watching and reading sources of news that accurately and honestly report the REAL news. Alas, they develop their understanding from the stream of sound bites delivered by the Dem-controlled mainstream liberal media. And it is not just the ignorant and uneducated that are brainwashed by this stuff… I have had to detoxify several of my very intelligent and highly-educated friends.

    Maybe movies are the way to do this going forward. Waiting for Superman and now 2016 Obama’s America appear to have worked to awaken and educate many that would otherwise believe what ABC, CBS, NBC and their liberal-biased newspaper tells them.

  28. David M. Greenwald

    Don: Future references that are off topic, please move them to the bulletin board. That includes references to “Obama” that are not directly related to US policies on global warming.

  29. wdf1

    ERM: [i]As I have said many times before, the theory of global warming is not nearly important to me as addressing the following two issues, which to my mind are the real heart of the debate:
    1) How much do we expend/what types of methods/policies do we employ to reduce air pollution?
    2) How do we become energy independent from foreign oil?[/i]

    Laudable goals, but solving those doesn’t necessarily mean that the global warming issue is solved. There has been debate about whether the EPA can regulate CO2 as a pollutant, for instance. Becoming energy independent doesn’t necessarily mean that CO2 emissions are reduced, globally. If we see connected environmental changes that become radical enough (including rising sea level), then it would be important to understand why.

  30. SouthofDavis

    wdf1 wrote:

    > Laudable goals, but solving those doesn’t necessarily
    > mean that the global warming issue is solved.

    Can anything we (as Americans) do “solve” the global warming issue (other than killing everyone that is not cutting carbon emissions)?

    I think that we will all agree that if 70 kids are standing in a four foot deep above ground backyard pool and all 70 of them pee in the pool at the same time that the water will get warmer.

    If we pick the kids by race and have them represent the population of the world we will have about 40 Asian kids, 10 African kids 7 European kids, 7 South American kids and only 3 American kids.

    Does anyone really think that having the three American kids pee “less” that the “global” pool temp. will change by much (especially since the Asian kids from China are peeing even more than ever)…

    I try and cut my gasoline and electricity usage as low as I can, but I don’t think that the (expensive) LED light bulbs I bought for my outside lights that stay on all night with change the “global” temp. any time soon…

  31. David M. Greenwald

    The problem with your pee analogy is not every kid is peeing equal amounts.

    So the US and Europe with much smaller populations still produce more CO2 than India and China put together.

  32. wdf1

    SouthofDavis: [i]Can anything we (as Americans) do “solve” the global warming issue (other than killing everyone that is not cutting carbon emissions)?[/i]

    Give incentives for U.S. industries to create technologies to reduce GHG emissions. We lost the chance to do that in the late 90’s and 2000’s. Honda and Toyota (both Japanese) invested in developing the Prius and hybrid technology. Detroit companies depended on SUV’s and Hummers for profits and mostly ignored that line of R & D. When the Great Recession hit and gas prices seemed high for American consumers, Detroit’s strategy didn’t seem so smart.

    U.S. industries are capable of coming up with solutions, but if we’re still arguing about whether global warming is a legitimate concern, then it doesn’t create an atmosphere of confidence for U.S. companies to pursue them. What is clear is that if we assumed global warming was a legitimate worry, the solutions would tend to lead to solving the the very goals that Elaine likes to highlight — reduced pollution and greater energy independence. We would also be in a position to sell the products of that technology to the rest of the world. As it is, it seems likelier that we’ll be importing those products from other countries that took the issue more seriously.

  33. Frankly

    [i]”The problem with your pee analogy is not every kid is peeing equal amounts.”[/i]

    True, but the 3 American kids invented the pool and the entire pool industry and provide the bulk of military defense to allow all the other kids to pee freely. The American kids frankly showed all the other kids how to pee so they could live more comfortably. And what do we get in return for all that good stuff… shame, guilt and punishment that we have to pee to maintain our comfort.

  34. rusty49

    “The problem with your pee analogy is not every kid is peeing equal amounts.
    So the US and Europe with much smaller populations still produce more CO2 than India and China put together.”

    What David left out is China is by far the world’s biggest polluter and that percentage is going up at a higher and higher rate every year. So even though our CO2 is being cut China’s pollution gains dwarfs whatever cuts we make.

  35. rusty49

    Jeff:
    “True, but the 3 American kids invented the pool and the entire pool industry and provide the bulk of military defense to allow all the other kids to pee freely. The American kids frankly showed all the other kids how to pee so they could live more comfortably. And what do we get in return for all that good stuff… shame, guilt and punishment that we have to pee to maintain our comfort.”

    ….and a leader who apologizes to the other kids because our kids peed in the pool.

  36. Don Shor

    Reducing CO2 emissions will not occur by international agreements, by carbon taxes, or by cap-and-trade. It will only occur when we either run out of affordable carbon sources or develop affordable technology that replaces carbon-intensive things that we’re using. We will achieve that by increasing spending on basic research, which industry won’t do so government has to do it, and by possibly incentivizing private industry to do applied research. Streamlining some permit processes for things like nuclear power wouldn’t hurt, either.

  37. Frankly

    I agree with both Rust49: Our leader apologizes for our industrial and consumption strength.

    I agree with Don Shor: The only way we will reduce C02 emissions is when we have depleted our non-renewable sources and/or innovated to make available more affordable alternatives.

    We have a problem though with respect to energy and environmental policy in that the former is being swallowed by the latter because of what Rusty49 points out.

    The Obama admin is forcing much harsher environmental rules on business at a time when there are no enough viable and/or affordable alternatives. Obama apparently has no problem further crippling the US economy to pursue his environmental agenda. This then contributes to the larger evidence that Obama has a mindset different than all other Presidents that have preceded him. Unlike the past leaders that loudly celebrated American exceptionalism, Obama does not like the America he sees today. He is trying to transform it into something else… something more European-looking. He is trying to do so from a top-down policy-drive method. But he is doing so while he leverages coolness, likability, and media race sensitivity and class envy… to mask his full intentions. He is the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing. The theory of man-made climate change is just another big bomb in his arsenal he uses to deceive.

    With their absolute man-mad global warming theories, scientists are complicit in this – one of the biggest, and most damaging, political deceptions in the history of this once great country.

  38. wdf1

    JB: [i]With their absolute man-mad global warming theories, scientists are complicit in this – one of the biggest, and most damaging, political deceptions in the history of this once great country.[/i]

    If you think scientists are complicit in this, that they have a conspiracy to define a reality that isn’t true, lay out your case. You have failed so far.

    This kind of statement that you and certain conservatives make is damaging to the long-term conservative cause. There was a time when I would have felt much more comfortable voting for conservative candidates, but when the credibility of science is attacked on issues like evolution and global warming, asserting that the conclusions of the weight of research are only an opinion as good as anyone else’s opinion, I see problems of judgement in such individuals, and most especially such politicians. Our economy and way of life has thrived on our vigorous science program. That is one place where conservative exceptionalism falls short — in appreciating that fact.

    Even Mitt Romney has been able to say that he accepts the scientific conclusions on human-caused global warming ([url]http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2012/may/15/mitt-romney/mitt-romney-and-whether-humans-are-causing-climate/[/url]), although he has had to qualify his language a lot to make his conservative base happy.

  39. David M. Greenwald

    China emits 23.8 tons of CO2 to the US’s 18 tons. US 17.5 metric tons per capita compared to China’s 5.3. It’s true over the last twenty years that China increased their emissions 2.5 fold, but they have a long way to go.

  40. Don Shor

    [i] The Obama admin is forcing much harsher environmental rules on business at a time when there are no enough viable and/or affordable alternatives. Obama apparently has no problem further crippling the US economy to pursue his environmental agenda. This then contributes to the larger evidence that Obama has a mindset different than all other Presidents that have preceded him.[/i]

    Obama’s record, paraphrased from a pro-environmentalist site’s analysis:
    Restricted emissions of metals from coal and oil plants.
    Backed down on ozone rules.
    Approved and funded renewable energy projects on public lands.
    Increased oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, despite BP’s blowout.
    Supports “clean coal” and nuclear power.
    Supports fracking.
    Delayed Keystone.
    Approved new fuel economy standards, including (for the first time) for trucks and vans and buses.
    Has taken almost no action on climate change legislation.

    They give him a C+ on environmental issues.

    [i]Unlike the past leaders that loudly celebrated American exceptionalism, Obama does not like the America he sees today. He is trying to transform it into something else… something more European-looking…[/i]

    This nonsense is getting tedious. It’s a pointless talking point from conservatives that doesn’t even have any actual meaning. His position on climate-change is tepid at best. Like most pragmatic liberals, he has no real idea what can be done about it that is actually politically achievable.

    [i] With their absolute man-mad global warming theories, scientists are complicit in this – one of the biggest, and most damaging, political deceptions in the history of this once great country.[/i]

    What ‘deception’ is involved in the theory of anthropogenic climate change?

    President Obama is a standard-issue liberal, governing somewhat more as a centrist than liberals would prefer. Because of his legislative background, he accepts compromise as bills are being shaped, and hasn’t shown any tendencies toward strict ideology.
    This theme that he is somehow different than past presidents, dislikes America, wants to turn us into something vaguely ‘European’ – it’s all part of the broader theme that ‘he’s not like us’. Well, he is like me. More than you are in many ways. And on climate change, I think he is a realist.

  41. Don Shor

    As wdf notes above, the anti-intellectual, anti-science rhetoric of modern American conservatives makes it very difficult for me to consider voting for any of them, even if I were so inclined on fiscal issues.
    When you proclaim intentional ignorance and attack science, I really can’t take you seriously as a candidate. And when even intelligent people like Mitt Romney, John Huntsman, and Newt Gingrich — who absolutely know better — have to proclaim that they don’t believe or ‘know’ about climate change, have to attack people who study these things, then it makes it hard to consider them honest.
    There is nothing at all wrong with acknowledging the science and hedging on the alarmism. Policy discussions are politics, not science, and require input from economists and engineers and others outside the field of geophysics. But unfortunately, the current practice is to attack the science and the scientists, and to ridicule the reality.

  42. Frankly

    Don, Sorry, scientists do not qualify for victim status. They can take care of themselves. You put them on a pedestal at our peril. The emails from East Anglia are a perfect example of scientists being… well.. just human. It is a complement.

    wdf1: Please cite primary resources that are not so obviously biased.

    Here is a link that explains the REAL Obama related to his environmental record… (one directly from nanny government)… the one that says one thing and then causes his Cabinet to do another. Obama is doing most of his anti-business, pro-environment, work through the EPA.

    [url]http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Issues.View&Issue_id=87c1303a-7e9c-9af9-7d81-37771c380b87[/url]

  43. Don Shor

    You tell wdf to cite a non-biased source, and then link to Sen. Inhofe? You do see the irony in that, eh?

    I don’t put scientists on a pedestal.
    The East Anglia emails were trivial.
    I have no idea what you mean by “victim status.” You are the one who routinely disparages science and scientists.
    You never reply as to what it is about anthropogenic climate change that you don’t believe, don’t understand, or disagree with. You argue about the politics, conflate the theory with the alarmism expressed by non-scientists, and drag the president into every debate even when it’s only tangential.
    Frankly, Jeff, I have no idea what you believe or understand about climate change. Just, it seems, that you don’t like the idea and certainly don’t want to do anything about it, especially if the policy proposals came from ‘the other side’.

  44. Don Shor

    With respect to the litany of regulations posted on Senator Inhofe’s site that you linked to, there was one (1) that pertained to climate change. That was the EPA plan to regulate CO2. President Obama over-ruled this own EPA adminstrator on that issue. So it didn’t happen.

    I could debate all of Sen. Inhofe’s other items on his list, but they would be off-topic.

  45. Frankly

    [i]”What ‘deception’ is involved in the theory of anthropogenic climate change?”[/i]

    Don, the ‘deception’ is not that. The deception is the political game of appearing to push for policy to protect the environment, while the primary goal is to pursue a leftist ideological agenda that transfers high-end wealth from private-business owners, investors and managers to political elites… and distributes low-level wealth by decimating and flattening the middle class into a seething mass of needy.

    Message to business and industy:
    – You are dirty
    – You are greedy
    – You don’t care about people
    – You don’t care about the environment
    – You didn’t build that
    – You are not needed
    – You are more cost than benefit
    – We tried your way and it did not work
    – You try to control our minds… better to have government do that
    – You don’t pay your fair share
    – You are killing the planet and the less fortunate and you must be stopped!

    Just to be clear. My issue with scientists is not their theory. Scientists are paid to develop and test theories. My issue is their complacency over the theory being delivered as absolute with predictable outcomes and justification for its exploitation for political policy that hurts free enterprise and transforms us from a producing nation to a mooching nation.

    [i]”You tell wdf to cite a non-biased source, and then link to Sen. Inhofe? You do see the irony in that, eh?”[/i]

    If nobody noticed, I would get sparky points… if it was caught, I would just demonstrate some dry ironic humor.

    Note though that there is a pattern with this list. This is not a business-friendly list by any stretch. The fact that the evnironmental wackos give him a C+ means he is an extremist.

  46. Don Shor

    You think the primary agenda of environmental groups is wealth transfer? I thought the primary agenda of environmental groups was protecting the environment. Silly me.

    There is no question the earth is getting warmer and the pace of increasing temperature has accelerated overall over the last century.

    It is very likely that a significant percentage of the increase is due to the massive release of CO2 and other gases into the atmosphere since the start of the industrial revolution.
    Humans are therefore probably responsible for a significant percentage of the increased temperature.

    It is probable that as CO2 and other gases continue to be released, the earth’s temperature will increase more rapidly than it would otherwise.

    There will be consequences of a warmer earth. There is less confidence about what those outcomes will be.
    The impact of climate change will not be evenly distributed in environmental, economic, or demographic impact.

    Global circulation models have been developed which show the range of possible outcomes. They are models, not predictors. The many factors that make up the models (forcings) are understood and explained to varying degrees, some much better than others. Nevertheless, the range of outcomes can be extrapolated to local conditions in many cases (sea level rise, for example).

    It is possible to predict some undesirable consequences at local levels, and planning for adaptation needs to be undertaken within the range of likely outcomes. It is not unreasonable to differ as to which strategies are most effective or about how they should be implemented or who should pay for them.

    All adaptation strategies involve economic trade-offs, some direct and some indirect. Some require action by central governments or international organizations. Market forces may achieve some level of adaptation, but possibly with undesirable consequences.

    Mitigation strategies are more controversial and require levels of political and intergovernmental cooperation that are unlikely to occur, partly because of the economic tradeoffs they require. There is also less confidence in the outcomes of those strategies.

  47. wdf1

    JB: [i]The deception is the political game of appearing to push for policy to protect the environment, while the primary goal is to pursue a leftist ideological agenda that transfers high-end wealth from private-business owners, investors and managers to political elites… and distributes low-level wealth by decimating and flattening the middle class into a seething mass of needy.[/i]

    Many many people have purposes in their lives that have very little to do with agendas of wealth and materialism. I don’t see climate scientists entering their field with the goal of transferring high-end wealth to a seething mass of needy.

    I even took classes on environmental law at UCD at one point, and the idea of wholesale wealth transfer in society was not discussed. Maybe there were some secret classes scheduled outside of the published class times that I was not made aware of???

  48. David M. Greenwald

    “while the primary goal is to pursue a leftist ideological agenda that transfers high-end wealth from private-business owners, investors and managers to political elites”

    What?

  49. wdf1

    JB: [i]Please cite primary resources that are not so obviously biased.[/i]

    So those pretty graphs I posted of data collected by NASA, NOAA, Scripps Institute, US Dept. of Energy, and peer-reviewed and published in [u]Science[/u] magazine, [u]Earth and Planetary Science Letters[/u] and [u]Journal of Geophysical Research[/u] are not acceptable primary sources, and they’re obviously biased?

    And James Inhofe is a balanced sensible guy on this issue?

    Please explain.

    Source ([url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Carbon_Dioxide_400kyr.png[/url])
    Another source ([url]http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/[/url])
    Another source ([url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Global_Temperature_Anomaly_1880-2010_(Fig.A).gif[/url])
    Another source ([url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:2000_Year_Temperature_Comparison.png[/url])

  50. Frankly

    [i]You think the primary agenda of environmental groups is wealth transfer? I thought the primary agenda of environmental groups was protecting the environment. Silly me.[/i]

    Don, either you are not reading what I write closely enough, or I am not explaining it well enough. It is probably me.

    Think of secondary or tertiary causation. It is incidental, but avoidable in my opinion if only scientists would speak more loudly in protest about how their theories are being misused and exploited.

    The President and liberal Dems in congress are pushing for greater wealth transfer. Some are doing so because they simply cannot stomach the cuts that are needed to bring spending in line and are seeking increased government revenue instead. Others are doing it for ideological reasons (prefer more socialism/collectivism in our system of governance). Still others want to reduce the amount of private wealth as part of a power transfer from the private-sector to the public-sector (wealth is power). Finally, some are doing it because they are simple emotional creatures not prone to think about long-term consequences.

    In any of these cases, most of them are happy to exploit fear about the coming catastrophe of global warming as another tool to demonize and restrict free market capitalism, free enterprise, traditional industrial pursuits, traditional energy exploration and production.

    Out of 100% of my problem with anthropogenic global warming. 20% is the actual science… my thinking that there are other explanations not currently known or not currently understood. 80% is how the science is being used to justify policy. For the 80%, I am unhappy that more scientists are not stomping their foot and loudly complaining that we should not be shutting down coal-burning power plants, and not killing the Keystone Pipeline, and restricting oil and gas exploration on Federal lands, etc., etc., etc… in the name of the theories of man-made global warming or climate change. Their silence makes them complicit in this great deceit to remake the US into an industrial wimp to as some twisted from of apology to the world coming from those feeling we have anything to apologize for.

    I hope that explains my position.

  51. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]erm: “I brought this very issue up in a previous column and was roundly criticized…”

    dmg: What was your comment and what were the responses…[/quote]

    I brought up exactly the same point wdf1 made, to wit: What the article doesn’t account for is the contribution of other countries, particularly China and India. The global warming theorists tried to discredit my claim with all sorts of rigged/cherry picked numbers if you remember…

  52. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]wdf1: To put “Yet we are having a record heat wave/drought” next to the comment the comment, “The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that US carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are at their lowest level for the January-March period since 1992”, suggests you think there should be a cause and effect when there isn’t. You would have to REDUCE total CO2 in the atmosphere to get that. All the article says is that the U.S. alone reduced the amount of CO2 it ADDED to the atmosphere. There’s nothing inconvenient about it, in the sense the you mean.[/quote]

    What it suggest to me is that if in fact there is such a thing as global warming or if we just call it what it is – air pollution – then clearly what we are doing about it is ineffective. While we pay millions/billions (???) of dollars arguing over a theory, we could have been on the road to solving the air pollution problem!

  53. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]
    jeff boone: True, but the 3 American kids invented the pool and the entire pool industry and provide the bulk of military defense to allow all the other kids to pee freely. The American kids frankly showed all the other kids how to pee so they could live more comfortably. And what do we get in return for all that good stuff… shame, guilt and punishment that we have to pee to maintain our comfort.

    rusty49: ….and a leader who apologizes to the other kids because our kids peed in the pool. [/quote]

    LOL Good one Jeff and Rusty!

  54. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]wdf1: This kind of statement that you and certain conservatives make is damaging to the long-term conservative cause. There was a time when I would have felt much more comfortable voting for conservative candidates, but when the credibility of science is attacked on issues like evolution and global warming, asserting that the conclusions of the weight of research are only an opinion as good as anyone else’s opinion, I see problems of judgement in such individuals, and most especially such politicians. Our economy and way of life has thrived on our vigorous science program. That is one place where conservative exceptionalism falls short — in appreciating that fact.[/quote]

    So there is no possibility that what we are experiencing is a normal cyclical change that occurs every so many hundreds of years? Everyone must believe in the global warming theory – they cannot simply or credibly believe that air pollution is bad for the health and well being of the human race? Rather a dismissive and intolerant attitude, don’t you think?

  55. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]dmg: China emits 23.8 tons of CO2 to the US’s 18 tons. US 17.5 metric tons per capita compared to China’s 5.3. It’s true over the last twenty years that China increased their emissions 2.5 fold, but they have a long way to go.[/quote]

    So China emits more CO2 gas than the U.S. Let us suppose the US could cut its carbon emissions by 20% – that is only 3.6 tons. Guess what – it is a drop in the bucket compared to overall CO2 emissions, and it very well might cripple our economy trying to achieve it. It would seem to me the best solution is to develop alternative fuels, including nuclear… and when the US gets successful at it, the other countries will be forced to come along.

  56. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]don shor: But unfortunately, the current practice is to attack the science and the scientists, and to ridicule the reality.[/quote]

    I don’t attack the science, I am just not thoroughly convinced. I allow for the possibility of global warming, but I still have my doubts. But apparently I am not allowed to have doubts…

    [quote]don shor: There is nothing at all wrong with acknowledging the science and hedging on the alarmism. Policy discussions are politics, not science, and require input from economists and engineers and others outside the field of geophysics.[/quote]

    Well said!

  57. medwoman

    Back to the kids in the pool. Peeing in the pool is objectively bad from the point of view of continuing to swim in it instead of treating it as a sewer. The 3 Americans may not be able to change this by peeing less in the pool.
    But they might be able to change it by example. If the 3 of them got out, said we are not going to pee in the pool anymore, we are going to go use the toilet so that we don’t ruin the pool, maybe some of the others would follow the example being set.

  58. Don Shor

    I’ve heard the ‘set an example’ logic before. This is simple. No developing country, especially China, will take actions that substantially slow their economic growth. They have a billion people in poverty, and about 300 million who have only recently moved up from poverty. They have a restive population, in a world where dictatorships have fallen rapidly and dramatically. The greatest threat to any regime is economic hardship among its people.
    The Chinese, Brazilians, Indonesians, and Indians do not care what we do with regard to energy use. They also clearly will not agree to any international accord that effectively limits carbon on their part. They will, however, happily borrow any technology that we develop that enables them to achieve energy self-sufficiency and work away from a carbon-based economy. And they will happily keep attending international meetings to discuss carbon reduction, which are a complete waste of time.

  59. medwoman

    [quote]They will, however, happily borrow any technology that we develop that enables them to achieve energy self-sufficiency and work away from a carbon-based economy[/quote]

    And this is where I believe that we should be willing to lead. If we truly are exceptional, as some would like to believe, then we need to take the responsibility for leading in technologies that have the potential for less
    “pollution of the pool”. While I agree that none of these groups will embrace environmental altruism at the cost of their economy, I also doubt that they are so limited in their vision as to not be able to see the detrimental effects of
    carbon-based economies.

  60. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]They will, however, happily borrow any technology that we develop that enables them to achieve energy self-sufficiency and work away from a carbon-based economy. And they will happily keep attending international meetings to discuss carbon reduction, which are a complete waste of time.[/quote]

    Spot on!

    By the way, just read an article where Michael Phelps is quoted as saying he regularly pees in the pool, indicating all competitive swimmers do it. How gross!

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