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The simple math of CO2 reduction

By Ronald R. Cooke
web posted 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.

Ronald R. Cooke is the proprietor of The Cultural Economist.

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