The bad news is that it took the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression to achieve the 2.8 percent reduction. As the Washington Post reports:
Environmentalists and climate experts said that the new figures shouldn't deter Congress from adopting measures to drive emissions down further. And the EIA estimated that total energy-related emissions of carbon dioxide in 2008 were still about 15.9 percent higher than in 1990, a benchmark year in international negotiations over climate regulations.
"This isn't a big shock given last year's economic downturn," said Frank O'Donnell, head of Clean Air Watch. "The real issue going forward is how to make sure emissions go down as the economy starts growing again . . . . We don't want a sick economy to be the solution to a sick planet."
Last year the economy grew at a sluggish 1.1 percent rate and total U.S. energy consumption slid by 2.2 percent.
Amusingly, the Washington Times quotes liberal Center for American Progress director of climate strategy Daniel Weiss as saying:
"If opponents of the House climate-change bill want to reduce pollution through unemployment and the economic decline, then that's their choice."
Evidently, Weiss believes that higher energy prices produced by the proposed cap-and-trade carbon rationing will somehow boost economic growth. It may be necessary to reduce carbon emissions because the costs of man-made global warming may outweigh the benefits of emitting greenhouse gases, but for Pete's sake, will proponents please stop pretending that carbon rationing won't increase the price of energy and the prices products or services that use energy.