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US Carbon Output Forecasts Shrink Again

Much to the surprise (and, one suspects, the chagrin) of the deranged doomsaying wing of the environmental movement, new forecasts of US CO2 emission are out and they point to an even steeper drop than the last set of predictions.

No cap and trade, no huge new taxes on oil, no draconian driver restrictions, no air conditioning bans, no rationing — and the US is on track to cut its CO2 emissions 17 percent below the 2005 levels by 2020 — and to keep cutting our emissions levels beyond that.

And this news doesn’t come from embattled climate skeptics banished to the fringes of the scientific community; these numbers come from the Obama administration and are sitting right up on Don Lashof’s well respected blog at the National Resource Defense Council website. Take a look for yourselves.

So, to summarize, the United States of America basically blew the global greens off completely, trampling all over their carbon tax and cap and trade agendas, and earning wails and shrieks of hatred at the Rio+20 Summit — while making huge strides toward reducing CO2 emission levels.

It’s almost as if there is no connection between the green policy agenda and environmental progress.

It’s a little more complicated than that, of course. As Lashof notes, fuel standards for automobiles play a role; American cars are more efficient than they used to be in part due to government fuel regulations, and policies already adopted to tighten those standards down the road contribute to the anticipated future reductions in CO2. And other regulations and incentives no doubt have a role to play.

(At Via Meadia, we’ve long believed that promoting telecommuting at least part of the time is a way to cut down the costs of highway construction, conserve fuel, reduce traffic congestion and cut CO2 emissions while making it easier for working parents and improving the country’s quality of life. Ideas like that can’t seem to compete in the imagination of many greens with grotesquely expensive, poor designed, and wildly impractical and punitive regulatory schemes. Go figure.)

In any case, the United States of America is living proof that there are more ways to address environmental concerns than the green movement as a whole is willing to admit.

And if the United States can achieve this while blowing off the panicky greens and their tiresome Malthusian agendas, so can China and India. That is a very good thing, because those countries have zero repeat zero interest in  adopting any green measures that slow their growth.

The truth is that if CO2 emissions are going to come down, it’s going to happen the American way rather than the Greenpeace way. Instead of flinging muck and howling curses at the most successful carbon cutting large economy in the world, maybe a few more greens here and there will start thinking about how to spread the magic around.

And while they are at it, they might want to take another look at all those doomsday CO2 projections the green movement keeps using as justification for huge global boondoggles. It’s just possible that other countries, too, will not behave according to the models, and if that is true the whole green approach to climate issues may need to be rethought.

 

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  • http://facingzionwards.blogspot.com/ Luke Lea

    How long before we decide that more CO2 is good for the planet? Certainly from a real estate perspective: moving the temperate zone northwards would greatly expand its size.

  • Jacksonian Libertarian

    “And while they are at it, they might want to take another look at all those doomsday CO2 projections the green movement keeps using as justification for huge global boondoggles.”

    Like maybe there isn’t any Global Warming from CO2 at all, and their whole Chicken Little freak-out has been completely bogus all along, that the so called scientific consensus and data have both been manufactured, and that many of the participants like Al Gore are only in it for the money and power. I’m just saying… follow the money in scientific grants, green energy subsides, green energy grants, green energy loans, carbon trading, expensive conferences in exotic locations, donations to environmentalist NGO’s, etc… seems to me the Tax Payer’s wallet has been getting looted by a bunch of criminal fraudsters.

  • http://twitter.com/#!/ultraverified ultraverified

    Yup, it sure looks like the trend is going downwards! Eight years to go, and that chart is .. um .. OK, perhaps it’s upside down.

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

    Brilliant analysis.

  • SteveP

    The claim that CO2 regulates climate is one of the most successful lies ever told.

  • http://www.thedonovan.com/the_farm Beth Donovan

    How much of this decrease in CO2 is really because of the stinking economy? Few people working, fewer people can afford to drive because they don’t have jobs, etc.

    Fewer manufacturing plants, less electrical usage – think of all the closed businesses no longer needing electricity.

  • Dantes

    Perhaps you underestimate the degree by which our permanent Obama depression has stifled growth. In any event, if the wackos really believe that we aren’t buying the CO2 greenhouse gas doomsday scenario watch out…they will just create another one.

  • asdf

    This isn’t the good news you think it is. Carbon emissions are directly related to energy production. (Wind, solar and nuclear remain a rounding error and while nuclear could someday become a major fraction of our energy production, it currently isn’t.)

    Energy utilization is so highly correlated to GDP that economists often use it to estimate “shadow GDP” due to corruption, and to correct biased official estimates.

    And sure enough, if you look at the graph of current CO2 output (not projected), you’ll find that it pretty much mirrors GDP over the past few years– fits and starts, but an overall period of extended decline.

    This isn’t public policy– good or bad. It isn’t adoption of alternative energy, efficiency initiatives or the “go green” movement. It’s just a symptom of a sick economy.

    So the bad news for greens is that as soon as the economy picks up again, so will CO2 output. The worse news is that, despite an activist Administration that’s pretty much catered to their every demand, CO2 hasn’t dropped MORE than can be accounted for by the economy.

    This illustrates Freeman Dyson’s point, that human-caused global warming is happening, but that the potential cure is far worse than the disease.

    Solar/Wind/Etc (at least with current technology) are not viable for more than symbolic gains. Reducing carbon emissions requires either widespread adoption of nuclear power, such that it replaces our fossil fuel infrastructure.

    Or, it requires entering a permanent, government-mandated economic depression.

  • Koblog

    Look. You still have to convince me that carbon dioxide, a gas every living creature breathes out and is consumed by every living plant as a natural cycle, is bad.

    Or that warming the earth by any means (including by the sun) is a disaster.

    The whole thing is a scam. How else to explain how Al Gore is now a billionaire living is a giant cliftside mansion in California, burning fuel and using water at an alarming rate?

    Just look at this phony’s “green” house he lives it up in while telling the rest of us to freeze or sweat:

    http://americasright.com/2012/03/07/time-to-light-the-match/

  • BooMushroom

    Yup, it sure looks like the trend is going downwards! Eight years to go, and that chart is .. um .. OK, perhaps it’s upside down.

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

    Brilliant analysis.

    Really? You’re using the co2 measurements from ON TOP OF ONE OF THE WORLDS MOST ACTIVE VOLCANOES as a proxy for American co2 output?

    Either stupid or dishonest, Ultraverified.

    • Walter Russell Mead

      @BooMushroom: Your quarrel is with the Obama administration and the NRDC, not me. They have no reason to fudge these numbers downwards. But thanks for your courteous reply!

  • KevinF

    I blame George Bush.

  • http://www.c3headlines.com C3 Editor

    @BooMushroom: Does not represent measurement of atmospheric CO2 levels, instead it represents the U.S. fossil fuel projection of future emissions.

    And to really drive the deranged doomsday greens over the cliff, here are the global temps over the last 15 years through May 2012. No warming!

    http://www.c3headlines.com/2012/06/global-warming-science-facts-cooling-hadcrut-ipcc-gold-standard.html

  • Snorri Godhi

    “Ideas like that can’t seem to compete in the imagination of many greens with grotesquely expensive, poor designed, and wildly impractical and punitive regulatory schemes.”

    Surely Dr. Mead is familiar enough with Marxism to realize that greens* are simply acting to protect their perceived class interests?

    * including many political leaders; and I’m not talking about Al Gore, I’m talking about pretty much all Western governments.

  • Bill Woods

    Boomushroom: “Really? You’re using the co2 measurements from ON TOP OF ONE OF THE WORLDS MOST ACTIVE VOLCANOES as a proxy for American co2 output?”

    It’s not a measure of US emissions, but of the average level in the atmosphere. Mauna Loa is a good location because it’s a long way down-wind from anywhere, and its elevation mostly isolates it from local activity. The long-term trend is clear, as is the annual variation.

    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/webdata/ccgg/trends/co2_data_mlo.png

    “The [volcanic] CO2 emission rate follows a very predictable exponentially decreasing trend which is established after each eruption. The slope of these trends have been different for each eruption. Current concentrations of volcanic CO2 (2006) are at their lowest levels since the record began in 1958.” http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/obop/mlo/programs/esrl/volcanicco2/volcanicco2.html

  • Leon0112

    A big chunk of the decline in CO2 generation comes from the move from coal to natural gas in the generation of power. This shift is made possible by the introduction of fracking technology. Interestingly, no one is discussing the fact that much of the radical environmental crowd opposes the use of fracking to extract natural gas and oil…despite the fact that it is the primary cause of reduced CO2 generation in the US.

    Is that irony?

  • Micha Elyi

    Speaking of failed “projections the green movement keeps using as justification for huge global boondoggles,” the ozone hole – the excuse to ban cheap Freon and force the junking of millions of perfectly good air conditioners – has also turned out to be a phoney eco-scare.

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