UPI hiding the decline in order to promote climate change agenda

(AP Photo/Branden Camp, File)

Last week, I ran across a UPI story that left me scratching my head. Titled “In a surprise, global greenhouse gas emissions seem to be on the decline” by Daniel J. Graeber, it’s purportedly evidence that there’s good news on the climate change front. The Joe Biden Inflation Reduction Act has caused a bunch of people to buy electric cars, and that, along with wind farms and increased solar capacity, shows we may have turned the corner on climate change, according to data. Except here’s the problem. The data suggests no such thing.

Full disclosure, I’m what you would call a climate change skeptic. Could the planet be warming? Sure. Our fault? I’m sure we contribute to it in some part. Is climate change cyclical? Almost certainly. CO2? It’s plant food, and I’m pretty hooked on oxygen. So if plants and trees are fed and happy and keep making that O2, I’m happy. Now back to Graeber’s UPI piece.

The headline alone is misleading and is contradicted by the 2nd paragraph into the story.

The Paris-based IEA estimated that global CO2 emissions are on pace to reach 33.8 billion tons this year, an increase of nearly 300 million tons should forecasts prove accurate. That’s substantially lower than the 2-billion-ton increase from 2020 levels last year.

Now I may not be a world-class mathematician, but any time you increase something by 300 million tons more than the previous year, that’s inclining, not declining. And the 300 million tons estimate, if indeed the year pans out to meet it, is right in line with the IEA’s graph for much of the last decade. Some years were a little higher, some were a little lower, but the world is producing more CO2 every year than the previous year since 2008, with one major exception, which is the fatal flaw with this story.

Mr. Graeber uses 2021 as his baseline in order to make the claim that an increase of 300 million is really a reduction or a slowdown of carbon emissions. In that year, compared to 2020, the world’s CO2 output jumped by 2 billion tons. To the intellectually uncurious, that would seem indeed like an awful lot of CO2 being dumped in 2021, and thank heavens it’s coming down to only 300 million tons more than last year. Except that means we’re actually dumping 2.3 billion tons more CO2 than we were in 2020. That’s still a lot, if you use CO2 as your climate hysteria metric.

Now you see the flaw, right? He doesn’t mention it, however, until a passing mention in the last paragraph of his piece, but was there something going on in the world in 2020, something that might have caused CO2 to truly go down for a period of time, causing 2021’s increase to seem unnaturally high? Could there be something that happened to slow down the world’s transportation, economies, manufacturing, consuming? Anything at all?

Of course, the COVID worldwide lockdown which essentially stopped air travel, most ground travel, commuting to work, as well as limiting supply chains due to factories shutting down, that all took place in 2020. The industrialized world kind of took that year mostly off. Of course, CO2 output went down. And when economic activity restarted in 2021, the increase in CO2 resembled the same curve on IEA’s graph. It just made a two-year V-shaped blip in the middle of a long upward trend. Graeber ignores COVID as a reason for the huge one-year increase in 2021 and instead attributes his current “reduction”, which again is a 300 million ton increase, to Joe Biden’s IRA tax subsidies on electric car sales.

Electric car sales have indeed seen an increase. As I’ve said in a previous column, if you’re in California, electric vehicles are ubiquitous. They’re also about 0.6% of all cars registered on the road in the U.S. They’re not that much of a CO2 fighter when you consider both how few are actually on the road and what’s actually being burned in order to provide the electricity to keep those batteries charged enough to move.

Using the 2021 data as a baseline is a nonsense argument, because there was nothing regular about that year of recovering coming out of a once-in-a-lifetime global pandemic. And using it as his baseline to see improvement with this year’s projected data is just as foolish as Joe Biden’s argument that he brought the deficit down. Biden had nothing to do with the deficit’s rate of increase slowing, because it was happening due to Congressional stimulus spending ending by statute. The whole “coming down” argument when the thing coming down is actually still increasing by a lot is the same fallacy as someone telling you they just saved you money that you didn’t intend on spending in the first place, because they bought it on sale.

After the blizzard of climate change propaganda, you get to the final paragraph of Graeber’s piece.

All this suggests that some of the momentum for clean energy technology that was lost during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic is starting to return. Nevertheless, the IEA said oil demand is on pace to accelerate more than any other fossil fuel this year, contributing some 180 million tons to global CO2 emissions.

Notice this is the first time he even mentions that the pandemic exists, but doesn’t explain how the lockdown skewed his baseline. And then he admits the obvious, which is demand for oil hasn’t actually slowed a bit. Why? Because China and India have decided they like stuff made from, and running on, petroleum. They remain the largest emitters of CO2, by far.

The last beef I have that I’ll include here is that Graeber is relying on projections for what CO2 emissions will be by the end of the year. How have projections for anything climate-related been thus far? How’s that record hurricane season we were supposed to have this year? Ian was a bad storm to be certain, but the prediction was that we were supposed to have hurricanes coming in like planes at O’Hare. It’s actually been a very quiet season thus far. And let’s say a volcanic eruption takes place, which seems to happen somewhere around the Pacific Rim now and again. One good eruption can take your CO2 estimate and double it or better, and that has nothing to do with what car you drive or which tax credit you’re going to try to claim in a year.

Perhaps a more accurate story would have been to show that there was a V-shaped recovery in CO2 output, there’s more wind farms and EV’s on the road, and we’ve got more to do, if climate change is truly your thing. But that could fill up a paragraph instead of trying to tell people these nonsensical policies are making a difference when they’re not.

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