Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sanity in Developing Countries

Did the world show a bit of sanity this week? One can hope. The facts are that 1) the U.S. Senate postponed debate and the vote on their version of a Climate Change bill that would cripple the U.S. economy and kill jobs by placing some price on CO2 emissions; 2) the global summit in Italy of the G-8 nations ended with no agreements for developing nations to reduce CO2.

The insanity prevailed, though, with the developed nations pledging (whatever that means) to reduce CO2 emissions by 80 percent by 2050. As I have written elsewhere, this is completely nuts, as this is not an accurate depiction of what is to happen. If Obama's remarks indicate that 2050 emissions are to be 80 percent below the 1990 level, then this requires a 93 percent reduction from the business-as-usual case in 2050. In other words, by 2050 each country can emit only 7 percent of the CO2 that they would have absent any agreements. This requires either reverting back to Stone-Age lifestyles, or massive improvements in renewable energy storage systems, or incredible breakthroughs in hydrogen from solar. The first alternative is not palatable and would result in mass revolts, the second is not here, and neither is the third.

UPDATE 1, July 23, 2009: India showed more sanity this week. As U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited India, their government basically said that India refuses to restrict their economic growth and improvement in quality of life by cutting their carbon emissions. Secretary Clinton apparently advised India to [my paraphrase here], Not make the mistakes that Western nations made by growing too fast and using too much fossil fuel that harms the planet.

Good for India! If only the West had such common sense, and the ability to objectively look at the data on global temperatures (they are dropping, and remained stable from about 1945 to 1985), compared to CO2 in the atmosphere (steadily rising). They can clearly see there is zero correlation - let alone causation, and thus curbing CO2 emissions is completely useless if one even believes in man-made global warming and wanted to do something to arrest it.

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