NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

AN INCONVENIENT REDUCTION

December 3, 2007

While thousands of government officials, diplomats, non-governmental organizations and journalists gather in Bali this week for the United Nations' global warming meeting, it's likely that little will be said about America's successful record on curbing emissions without a cap system, says the Wall Street Journal.

Consider:

  • The Bush Administration announced recently that U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide fell by 1.8 percent from 2005 to 2006.
  • Output of all greenhouse gases was down 1.5 percent last year; all this while the American economy grew by 2.9 percent.

Further, the European Union (EU) hasn't yet released figures for 2006, but from 2000 to 2005, the United States outperformed Western Europe:

  • Carbon emissions were up 3.8 percent in the so-called EU-15 during those years, versus 2.5 percent in the United States.
  • Over the same period, there has been virtually no difference between the increase in all greenhouse emissions in the United States and EU-15.

Critics immediately pointed to the Energy Department's acknowledgment that the reductions were in part due to higher energy prices and favorable weather, says the Journal.  But greater use of lower-carbon energy sources, including natural gas, also played a big role.  The U.S. reduction also suggests that letting markets work through higher prices will reduce carbon emissions more than the cap and trade mandates favored by environmental lobbies and most Democrats.

Source: Editorial, "An Inconvenient Reduction," Wall Street Journal, December 3, 2007.

 

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