Quote of the Day
Robert Bryce in the Wall Street Journal:
Over the past decade, carbon-dioxide emissions in the U.S. fell by 1.7%. And according to the International Energy Agency, the U.S. is now cutting carbon emissions faster than Europe, even though the European Union has instituted an elaborate carbon-trading/pricing scheme. Why? The U.S. is producing vast quantities of cheap natural gas from shale, which is displacing higher-carbon coal.
Meanwhile, China's emissions jumped by 123% over the past decade and now exceed those of the U.S. by more than two billion tons per year. Africa's carbon-dioxide emissions jumped by 30%, Asia's by 44%, and the Middle East's by a whopping 57%. Put another way, over the past decade, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions--about 6.1 billion tons per year--could have gone to zero and yet global emissions still would have gone up.
A few years ago, I heard a Cal Tech climate science guru give a talk. He arranged it so that no questions were allowed, which was disappointing. He said that according to the prevailing science, which he said he supports completely, we have a handful of years to change course, or the earth will be alterted forever. His proposed solutions were to cut emissions radically.
Had questions been allowed, I would have said something like, I study politics, not science. As a student of politics, I can almost guarantee that the kinds of hair shirt cuts he demands will never happen, almost certainly not in any major country, and certainly not in all of them. If that's the case, the challenge for science is, to paraphrase Publius, how to manage the effects of human actions, rather than impose the kind of tyranny that it would take to tackle the causes. Still a relevant observation, it seems to me.
(I would also add, that we need also to be sure we know what we're doing. Sciences are at their most speculative in their infancy. Such is the study of the enviornment. That being the case, my guess is that scientists are guessing, more than they like to admit, about the consequences of human actions on the environment across the globe.
P.S. Why do Progressives think it is reasonable to think we can control mankind's global carbon footprint, but also think that it is impossible for most individuals to control their sex drives?