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Forum Post: The Simple Math of CO2 Reduction...

Posted 10 years ago on Dec. 24, 2011, 8:52 p.m. EST by mee44 (71)
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The Simple Math of CO2 Reduction by Ronald R. Cooke

The Cultural Economist

Author, "Oil, Jihad & Destiny" and "Detensive Nation" November 30, 2009

Those who propose draconian measures to curb CO2 production need a math refresher course. Look at the projections. Assuming existing CO2 reduction policies are not changed, by 2030, human activity will account for about 3.3% of global CO2 production (NASA). By itself, the United States is projected to contribute 15.8% of world human emissions in 2030 (IEA/EIA). Therefore:

America’s projected share of total world CO2 emissions in 2030 is 3.3% x 15.8% = 0.52%.

Barack Obama has pledged that by 2030, America will have decreased its CO2 emissions by 42%. How effective will that cut be versus America’s projected emissions? Do the math.

3.3% x 15.8% x 42% = .22% of total world carbon emissions in 2030, and

15.8% x 42% = 6.64% of all human emissions from the consumption of fossil fuels.

There is, unfortunately, a critical problem with Barack’s pledge.

A reduction of that magnitude will definitely trash America’s economy.

Barack Obama assumes Americans are willing to endure the destructive misery of chronic recession in order to reduce total world CO2 emissions by a tiny little .22%, and human emissions from the consumption of fossil fuels by only 6.64%. Barack is telling the world we Americans are willing to turn off the heat , eat uncooked food, and turn off the lights 42% of the time. We will have to drive tiny little cars and trucks. The buildings we work in (or live in) will be insufferably hot in the summer and icy cold in the winter. Curtailing economic activity means more of us will be unemployed and even if we do have a job, it will not pay a living wage. (Unless of course, you happen to be a Washington insider.) More of us will be living in poverty. Health care will definitely deteriorate. In other words, by 2030 America’s economy will look just like Cuba’s economy.

Is this what we want?

I have three questions:

  1. Who gave Barack permission to make this commitment?
  2. Why is he pursuing a policy of economic self-destruction?
  3. Are we willing to trash our economy for a tiny little change in world CO2 production?

There IS a correlation between economic growth and energy consumption. At no time in human history has there ever been a sustained increase in human wealth without a corresponding increase in the consumption of energy. We Americans can increase the efficiency of our consumption (and we are), but we can not sharply decrease our energy consumption without doing serious damage to our economy.

Do our people in Washington care that the proposed CO2 reductions will drive up the rate of unemployment, increase the rate of inflation, and force Americans to accept poverty as a way of life?

Apparently not. . One can only conclude certain persons in Congress and the Obama Administration are either math challenged, or these people have a deceptive agenda that has little to do with global warming.

Hopefully, it’s only a problem of simple math.




Carbon cycle data. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Earth Science Enterprise, Carbon Cycle.

The IEA’s International Energy Outlook 2009, Projects CO2 emissions at 40.4 billion metric tons in 2030. Developing nations, including China, India and the Middle east, will account for 97% of the increase in CO2 emissions from 2006 through 2030. The United States, along with the other OECD nations, will cause only 3% of the increase in CO2 emissions, assuming there is NO change to existing fossil fuels consumption policies.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA), Annual Energy Outlook 2009 with Projections to 2030, projects United States CO2 emissions in 2030 at 6.4 million metric tons. Energy-related CO2 emissions in the AEO2009 reference case grow by 0.3 percent per year from 2007 to 2030. The U.S. Energy Information Administration expects the country's emissions of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels to decrease 5.6% in 2009. Most of this decrease is due to the recession which has reduced economic activity (and GDP).

From the EIA International Energy Outlook 2009, Reference Case.

“Over the 24-year projection period, the average annual increase in non-OECD emissions from 2006 to 2030 (2.2 percent) is seven times (my emphasis) the rate projected for the OECD countries (0.3 percent). In 2030, non-OECD emissions (25.8 billion metric tons) exceed OECD emissions (14.6 billion metric tons) by 77 percent.”

“Coal is the most carbon-intensive of the fossil fuels, and it is the fastest-growing carbon-emitting energy source in the IEO2009 reference case projection, reflecting its important role in the energy mix of non-OECD countries—especially, China and India. In 1990, China and India together accounted for 13 percent of world carbon dioxide emissions; in 2006 their combined share had risen to 25 percent, largely because of strong economic growth and increasing use of coal to provide energy for that growth. In 2030, carbon dioxide emissions from China and India combined are projected to account for 34 percent of total world emissions, with China alone responsible for 29 percent of the world total.”

“In the IEO2009 reference case, U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide emissions are projected to grow at an average annual rate of 0.3 percent from 2006 to 2030.” …. “The highest growth rate among the non-OECD countries is projected for China, at 2.8 percent annually from 2006 to 2030, reflecting the country’s continued heavy reliance on fossil fuels, especially coal, in the projection.”

The US plans to pledge a 17% cut in emissions from 2005 levels by 2020, 30% by 2025, 42% by 2030 and 83% by 2050.




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