August 20, 2012
A Market ! Who Knew?
In a surprising turnaround, the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere in the U.S. has fallen dramatically to its lowest level in 20 years, and government officials say the biggest reason is that cheap and plentiful natural gas has led many power plant operators to switch from dirtier-burning coal.
Many of the world's leading climate scientists didn't see the drop coming, in large part because it happened as a result of market forces rather than direct government action against carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that traps heat in the atmosphere.
Here's the take-away: "[L]eading climate scientists didn't see the drop coming," because "market forces" drove it, "rather than direct government action against carbon dioxide." Who'd'a thunk it!
(And could one concoct, even in fiction, a better empirical proof that "the world's leading climate scientists" are in fact a bitter, politicized group of Luddite nanny-staters and "watermelons" -- green on the outside, but deep, deep red on the inside? Their goal was never to cool the Earth; it was always to redistribute wealth from the "Haves" to the "Have nots.")
This is not some sensationalist claim from the Weekly World News or the Hufflepuffington Post; it comes ultimately from the Department of Energy under President Barack "You didn't build that" Obama and clearly constitutes an admission against interest:
In a little-noticed technical report, the U.S. Energy Information Agency, a part of the Energy Department, said this month that total U.S. CO2 emissions for the first four months of this year fell to about 1992 levels. The Associated Press contacted environmental experts, scientists and utility companies and learned that virtually everyone believes the shift could have major long-term implications for U.S. energy policy.
While conservation efforts, the lagging economy and greater use of renewable energy are factors in the CO2 decline, the drop-off is due mainly to low-priced natural gas, the agency said.
How long will it be before Obama rushes to a microphone, trampling two old ladies on walkers and a toddler who doesn't jump aside quickly enough, to grab all the credit for this reduction in "air pollution?" (Where pollution has that special definition that includes a gas vital to plant growth.) But no, the drop was caused by the hated free market; and of all people in the world, Barack Obama is the least able to claim that he built that!
Does this "surprising" drop in CO2 emissions mean the green insurgents will finally end their war on carbon dioxide, now that the United States is leading the way in de-carbonizing the universe? Hah, don't hold your carbon-dioxided breath:
[W]hile natural gas burns cleaner than coal, it still emits some CO2. And drilling has its own environmental consequences, which are not yet fully understood. [But must surely be catastrophic! -- DaH]
"Natural gas is not a long-term solution to the CO2 problem," [Roger Pielke Jr., a climate expert at the University of Colorado] warned.
Of course not; to an enviro-mental case, the only "real solution" is to smash the looms. Or in this case, ban all carbon-based fuel, without exception, hurling Mankind back into the age before we even knew how to light a fire:
"The Sierra Club has serious doubts about the net benefits of natural gas," said Deborah Nardone, director of the group's Beyond Natural Gas campaign.
"Without sufficient oversight and protections, we have no way of knowing how much dangerous pollution is being released into Americans' air and water by the gas industry. For those reason, our ultimate goal is to replace coal with clean energy and energy efficiency and as little natural gas as possible...."
Some worry that cheap gas could hurt renewable energy efforts.
"Installation of new renewable energy facilities has now all but dried up, unable to compete on a grid now flooded with a low-cost, high-energy fuel," two experts from Colorado's Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute said in an essay posted this week on Environment360, a Yale University website.
Some say a neoconservative is a liberal who's been mugged by reality. So what happens when radical enviromentalism itself gets cudgled by a reality that stubbornly refuses to be silenced? If history is any guide -- see When Prophecy Fails -- the most likely response will be for the bulk of the green reds to dig in their heels and redouble their efforts to proselytize, even evangelize the world to convert to the First Church of Fundamentalist Environmentalism. (Barry Commoner, Algore, and Howard Dean are charter members of the congregation.)
It may take a geological epoch for the tide to change its spots; but at least a few green weenies, such as Michael "Hockey Stick" Mann, have found food for thought in the market-driven reduction of CO2 emissions:
Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University, said the shift away from coal is reason for "cautious optimism" about potential ways to deal with climate change. He said it demonstrates that "ultimately people follow their wallets" on global warming.
Hallelujah, and pass that natural gas!
Hatched by Dafydd on this day, August 20, 2012, at the time of 6:36 PM
The following hissed in response by: snochasr
The reason natural gas produces less CO2 for the same energy is that natural gas contains 4 parts hydrogen (give or take) for each carbon, and by burning it you make twice as much H2O as CO2. Of course H2O is ALSO a greenhouse gas, and in fact 95% of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. Methane itself is 20 times more potent as a greenhouse gas, so it is a GOOD thing if we burn it rather than letting it into the air.
You are correct that the greenies are members of a religious cult with no rational basis for their outrageous belief system, so all of the foregoing has no bearing on what they will do, just as all logic prevaileth not.
The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh
I knew that water vapor was the primary "greenhouse gas," but I didn't realize it was that overwhelming a component... thanks!
So when will the EPA classify water as a pollutant and demand its 80% reduction from the atmosphere? They've already gone after cow flatulence and exhaling...
The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh at August 21, 2012 12:02 PM
The following hissed in response by: snochasr
The other thing you won't hear from the alarmists is that CO2 from natural sources is about 96% of atmospheric CO2. Of that, the US produces about 20%, so what you have described is something like a reduction of 2 ppm (parts per million) of CO2 in the atmosphere (assuming everybody else, including Mother Nature, held steady). No wonder it's getting colder!
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