Wednesday, May 22, 2013

400 PPM


There's been some todo about 400 ppm (carbon dioxide in the atmosphere) recently. Made the front page of the NY Times. All the Green bloggers wailed and rent their garments. Even made it into the remarks from the President of my daughter's college at her graduation ceremony.

According to the Times:
The best available evidence suggests the amount of the gas in the air has not been this high for at least three million years, before humans evolved, and scientists believe the rise portends large changes in the climate and the level of the sea.
What I find curious about these jeremiads is they (willfully?) ignore the progress that has been made in carbon emissions in the US since 2007. You can't get this from the Times or the Green blogs, but carbon emissions in the US is down, since 2007 by 12%. Lots of reasons. More natural gas, more wind, less consumption. But it's just odd to me the climate crisis mongers never seem to recognize this.

The graph uses data from EIA's April 2013 Energy Monthly. Table 12.1 if you care. It shows carbon emissions in the US from 2001 through 2012 and you can see the impact a recession has, but oddly, emissions have continued to decline even though the economy is in the 4th or 5th year of recovery.

In fact, the entire history of the world is one of moving to fuels that are less carbon intensive. Dung, wood, coal, oil, natural gas are successively less carbon intensive. So why wouldn't a reasonable person applaud the extensive deposits of natural gas in the US, and the substitution it encourages for oil and coal. I think it's partly a zealotry that ignores the benefits of fossil fuels, like keeping us warm in the winter, cool in the summer, providing light at night and mobility to all, you know the small stuff of life, and partly an arrogance that believes the hoi polloi exist for the elites to manage.

Maybe it's also a (willful?) ignorance of science as well. I know I know. The Democrats are the big believers in science. They wrap themselves in SCIENCE as much as a priest wraps himself in the sign of the cross. And the result is remarks like Barbara Boxer's that attribute tornadoes to climate change, despite no consensus on that subject.

Greens ask themselves often why America ignores their warnings. We must be in thrall to Fox News, Big Oil and the Koch Brothers. The simpler answer is we like being warm in the winter and cool in the summer. We like lights at night. We like driving around. And when someone constantly screams the world is ending, and it doesn't we kind of start ignoring them. They become that kid in the grocery store screaming and crying because he isn't getting his way. We ignore that kid. He's a pest.


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