Good News: Last Year Saw the Steepest Drop in U.S. Carbon Emissions Since 1982

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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. 

Whole Post article here. Whole WashTimes article here

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  1. Wow, so that gives the Bush administration more eco street cred than Al Gore.

    Whodathunkit?

  2. “Evidently, Weiss believes that higher energy prices produced by the proposed cap-and-trade carbon rationing will somehow boost economic growth.”

    Those people are just fucking evil. I know I can’t read their souls so I can’t say they mean to do the harm they do. But at some point your stupidity becomes so damaging that it become evil.

  3. … 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.

    And reduce econmomic growth,
    And cost jobs.
    And put US operations at a competitive disadvantage IRT nations that don’t limit use of the cheapest energy sources.

    I hate it when people gloss over or lie about negative effects of their policy proposals.

  4. Isn’t the elephant in the room here that economic stagnation, nay decline, goes hand in hand with reduced energy (carbon) output? I, for one, do not believe the costs of AGW outweigh the costs of action to truly solve the problem. Let’s remember that if we accept the proposals of the IPCC, there is a minimum amount of action that will solve the problem between now and the hypothetical tipping point, and anything less is simply a series of culturally significant gestures with no real impact. But the cost of that minimum action, is in fact a huge cost, mostly to the world’s poor, who are on the verge of industrialization.

  5. the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression

    Jeez, Ron, it’s disheartening to see you quoting cliches from Obama’s playbook. “Crisis”? Come on. When people start eating each other, it’ll be a crisis. (Not that it cannot or will not happen.)

  6. And the EIA estimated that total energy-related emissions of carbon dioxide in 2008 were still about 15.9 percent higher than in 1990,

    Yeah, but considering that 2000 was 13.35% higher than 1990, that means that we went basically eight years with almost no emissions raise.

    The economy actually had a pretty good rate of emissions not growing so fast even when the economy was growing. I don’t think it necessarily had too much to do with Bush, but FWIW, the “Bush record” was better than the “Clinton-Gore record” on this measure.

  7. Cool Cal nails one of the reasons any limit on carbon is bad.

    The second reason is a global version of this.

    Carbon outputs and possible AGW are the costs of living in a free and productive society. Any system that moves to limit CO2 output will simultaneously reduce our productiveness, put us at a severe competitive disadvantage with other nations, enable a massive new government bureaucracy that will limit our freedoms and ultimately do nothing to solve the overblown “crisis” of existent AGW.

    The proper libertarian position is to do nothing about this problem. I encourage Ronald Bailey to realize this and adopt my position forthwith. 😀

  8. We don’t want a sick economy to be the solution to a sick planet.”

    Uh huhuhuhuhhuh. Prove it.

  9. The bad news is that it took the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression to achieve the 2.8 percent reduction.

    As they put it on Ren and Stimpy, “If you wanna make an omoelet, you gotta bust a few heads.”

  10. If you wanna make an omoelet

    It surely sucks when you misspell the punchline.

  11. I could take the solutions more seriously if they were solving a real problem and not one concocted by climate alchemists.

    I think the WHO’s swine-flu panic and leading economist’s support for economic stimulus/bailout proves the point that government-backed “experts” are not to be trusted.

  12. “We don’t want a sick economy to be the solution to a sick planet.”

    BS–get a few beers in any environmentalist and he will tell you that he is against economic growth itself. “We can’t keep growing forever!” He will say. Even if that is true, it’s no reason to stop growing now.

  13. will proponents please stop pretending that carbon rationing won’t increase the price of energy and the prices products or services that use energy.

    It will do no such thing. Green policies are necessary for the salvation of Life As We Know It Think It Ought To Be, and are therefore prohibited from having negative effects or unintended consequences. Environmentalists understand economic laws, that’s why they’re amending them.

    😛

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