U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Are Down

Reason Magazine has an article on US Greenhouse emmissions being down in 2006 vs. 2005.  That’s the US, where the Senate led by Al Gore voted against the concept of the Kyoto Protocol.  Not the Protocol itself, Bill Clinton did not even send that to the US Senate for ratification. 

A little background from Wikepedia:

On July 25, 1997, before the Kyoto Protocol was finalized (although it had been fully negotiated, and a penultimate draft was finished), the U.S. Senate unanimously passed by a 95-0 vote the Byrd-Hagel Resolution (S. Res. 98), which stated the sense of the Senate was that the United States should not be a signatory to any protocol that did not include binding targets and timetables for developing as well as industrialized nations or “would result in serious harm to the economy of the United States”. On November 12, 1998, Vice President Al Gore symbolically signed the protocol. Both Gore and Senator Joseph Lieberman indicated that the protocol would not be acted upon in the Senate until there was participation by the developing nations. The Clinton Administration never submitted the protocol to the Senate for ratification.

It would seem, that market forces rather than global regulation are having some effect here.

A new report by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says that American greenhouse gas emissions have fallen. To wit:

In 2006, total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions were 7,201.9 Tg CO2 Eq. Overall, total U.S. emissions have risen by 14.1 percent from 1990 to 2006, while the U.S. gross domestic product has increased by 59 percent over the same period (BEA 2007). Emissions fell from 2005 to 2006, decreasing by 1.5 percent (111.8 Tg CO2 Eq.). The following factors were primary contributors to this decrease: (1) compared to 2005, 2006 had warmer winter conditions, which decreased consumption of heating fuels, as well as cooler summer conditions, which reduced demand for electricity, (2) restraint on fuel consumption caused by rising fuel prices, primarily in the transportation sector and (3) increased use of natural gas and renewables in the electric power sector.

And in related news from the New York Times and the land of do as I say and not as I do:

Air Travel and Carbon on Increase in Europe

MURCIA, Spain – The boom in low-cost air travel has turned this corner of southern Spain into a thriving tourist destination, and retired plumbers and schoolteachers into Europe’s new jet set.

But it has done more than democratize air travel and offer new vistas to working-class people. It has also opened a new dimension to the global warming crisis.

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As a rule we disbelieve all the facts and theories for which we have no use.
William James
US Pragmatist philosopher & psychologist (1842 – 1910)
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