Climate Change Madness

The President, in his State of the Union Address, said the country must fight climate change by passing “a market based [i.e., cap and trade] climate change plan … or I will unleash my administration.”

This political rhetoric, if implemented, as required by the United Nations International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), would be madness.

It would set Western Civilization back hundreds of years and eviscerate living standards in the United States.

This may sound extreme, but here are the facts.

The UN’s IPCC has said that the world must cut CO2 emissions 50% from 1990 levels by 2050, and that developed countries such as the United States must cut their CO2 emissions 80% so that developing countries such as China can continue to increase their CO2 emissions, albeit at a lesser pace – otherwise, temperatures will exceed the tipping point; and there will be a climate catastrophe.

The goal therefore is to cut CO2 emissions 80% by 2050 – as required by the Waxman – Markey cap and trade legislation (and also, separately, by the EPA.)

Table I shows CO2 emissions by the United States in 2004 and the levels that must be achieved to cut emissions 80% below 1990 levels. (Actual CO2 emissions in 2012 were slightly below those in 2004.)


80% Reduction in

U.S. CO2 Emissions from 1990 levels by 2050

 (in MMT)





80% below 1990

Electric Generation









Transportation (Excluding Gasoline)









United States Total



Total excludes approximately 70 MMT of CO2 emissions from miscellaneous sources.

Source:  Emission of Greenhouse Gasses in the United States 2005 by DOE Energy Information Administration.

MMT = Million Metric Tons

Make special note of the target for 2050: 1,000 MMT.

Current per capita emissions are approximately 20 tons. Cutting them to the required levels would result in per capita emissions of around 2.4 tons. (Population growth accounts for the apparent difference from a simple 80% calculation.)

Cutting CO2 emissions 80% by 2050 would bring them to the same level they were in around 1900.

In 1900, there were very few cars, no airplanes, very few power plants and very little generation of electricity, no refrigerators, no washing machines, no dishwashers, no clothes driers, no air-conditioning, no TV, no movie theaters, no computers, and no cell phones (to mention some of the differences between 1900 and today.)

Think about it: Ice was delivered to homes using  horse-drawn carts, buggies took people to church, lawns were cut with push lawnmowers, meat was ground by hand, coffee was ground by hand, sewing was done using foot pedal-driven machines, trolleys were pulled by horses, and washing clothes was done by hand.

In industry, machines were powered using pulleys and belts because there were no electric motors. Materials were moved by hand because there were no electric motors to drive conveyor belts or fork lift trucks. Dust was pervasive in factories because there weren’t any electric motors to drive ventilation blowers.

Returning to these conditions would be the result of trying to cut CO2 emissions 80% by 2050.

A woman’s day was truly never done, and men died young.

It’s despicable to say we should try to cut CO2 emissions even if we can’t achieve the 80% target since, according to the IPCC, there will still be a climate catastrophe. Achieving the 80% target is prerequisite for avoiding the climate catastrophe. Even if we cut CO2 emissions 30% or 50%, there will still be a climate catastrophe because, according to the IPCC, temperatures will have risen above the tipping point.

And anything we do to cut CO2 emissions doesn’t take into account that China is continuing to increase CO2 emissions with little regard for the IPCC.

Contrary to the utterances of some, there is currently no technology that can replace fossil fuels or nuclear energy that would allow us to continue to generate the electricity needed by our society or power our vehicles.

Cutting CO2 emissions 80% is tantamount to committing national suicide: Cutting them a little has no effect on preventing a climate change disaster.

In addition, there has been no increase in worldwide temperatures for at least 15 years, which undermines the entire Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) hypothesis fostered by the UN’s IPCC. As the graph shows, the IPCC computer projections are incredibly wrong as temperatures have remained the same and fallen below the computer projections for temperature rise predicted by IPCC computer models. (Observed temperatures are in black with possible error bars.)

Fig 1.4 from IPCC Draft WG 1 Report

Fig 1.4 from IPCC Draft WG 1 Report

There’s no warming; and even if there was, cutting CO2 emissions 80% by 2050 would devastate our society, while cutting them a small amount does no good.

Attempting to cut CO2 emissions is madness.

Read more of Donn’s columns at his blog, Power For USA


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