NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

EUROPE'S CARBON CON JOB

August 21, 2007

With all the supposed truths out there about global warming, here's one that doesn't get reported very often. Europe isn't the climate-change champion that its leaders, and their apologists, would have you believe, says Kyle Wingfield, an editorial-page writer for the Wall Street Journal Europe.

It's true that emissions -- both in absolute terms and on a per capita basis -- remain higher in the United States than in the EU-15 (the countries that belonged to the European Union before its 2004 expansion, and which are widely used as a comparison for the United States when the subject is global warming). 

However:

  • Since 2000, emissions of CO2 have been growing more rapidly in Europe, with all its capping and yapping, than in the United States, where there has been minimal government intervention so far.
  • As of 2005, we're talking about a 3.8 percent rise in the EU-15 versus a 2.5 percent increase in the United States, according to statistics from the United Nations.

What's more:

  • Preliminary data indicate that CO2 output in the United States fell by 1.3 percent from 2005 to 2006.
  • If these numbers hold up, it would mean U.S. emissions growth is nearly flat so far this decade.
  • Europe hasn't yet released figures for last year, but it did report in June that emissions from the participants in its carbon-trading scheme, which account for almost half of Europe's CO2 production, rose slightly in 2006.

The news gets worse for Europe when you consider that during this decade, the U.S. population has grown at roughly double the rate of the EU-15 while the U.S. economy has been expanding about 40 percent faster.  It seems Europe is becoming less efficient in its carbon production while U.S. efficiency is improving, says Wingfield.

Source: Kyle Wingfield, "Europe's Carbon Con Job," Wall Street Journal, August 21, 2007.

 

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