For simplicity’s sake, let’s refer to those who believe that CO2 is the cause of global warming as “alarmists”, and those who disagree as “skeptics”. Also let’s accept that “global warming” and “climate change” are synonymous.
The UN’s IPCC says that CO2 emissions must be cut 50% worldwide by 2050 or there will be a catastrophe. In addition, the IPCC says that developed nations, including the United States, must cut their CO2 emissions 80% by 2050 so that developing nations, such as China and India, can increase their emissions.
What does this mean for the United States?
To meet the 80% cut, the U.S. must reduce its CO2 emissions to levels last seen before WWI, possibly as far back as the Civil War. Horses were the main form of transportation, gas lamps were used for lighting, TV and radio hadn’t been invented and there was no refrigeration for food or for air-conditioning.
On a per capita basis, it means cutting CO2 emissions from 20.5 tons per person to 2.5 tons per person by 2050. (Per capita cuts appear greater than 80% because of population growth.)
Assuming the alarmists are right, the first question must be:
Is it possible to cut CO2 emissions 80%?
If the answer is NO, we must accept that global warming will cause catastrophic events and take steps to mitigate them, such as building sea walls around New York City.
Here is why the answer is NO – it’s not possible to cut CO2 emissions 80%.
What are the sources of our CO2 emissions?
Approximately 39% come from generating electricity. Another 20% come from using our automobiles and trucks.
Eliminating 70% of our electricity by shutting down ALL coal-fired and natural gas power plants will cut CO2 emissions by only 39%.
Stopping all use of gasoline-powered automobiles and trucks will only cut CO2 emissions by 20%.
Combined, these two draconian actions will only cut CO2 emissions by 59% – well short of the required 80%.
In response to these obvious facts, the alarmists will trot out a plethora of ideas, none of which have been proven to work. These ideas will purport to show why it isn’t necessary to stop all coal-fired and natural gas power generation and why substitutes can be developed to replace gasoline.
In the case of power generation the alarmists will point to Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS), but CCS has not yet been proven to work, and even if it did work, it will incur horrendous costs since existing power plants would have to be derated by 30%. (See earlier article on CCS ) They will mention wind and solar, but these can’t produce very much electricity.
In the case of gasoline, cellulosic ethanol is still bogged down in experiments and in pilot plants. In addition there isn’t sufficient available land to grow enough cellulosic materials to replace the gasoline we use. (See earlier article on bio-fuels )
In short, there is no reason to believe that CO2 emissions can be cut 80%.
If the skeptics are right, and CO2 emissions are not a threat, it’s counterproductive to try to cut CO2 emissions by any amount – In fact, drastically cutting CO2 emissions hurts the economy.
The more electricity we produce and the more oil, coal and natural gas that are developed, the higher will be our standard of living and the greater the likelihood that poverty can be eliminated around the world.
Here is why we MUST be passionate about global warming.
- If we agree with the alarmists, we must be willing to accept a much more primitive lifestyle and allow poverty, with its ramifications of death and sickness, to persist around the world.
- If we agree with the skeptics, we MUST become actively engaged in telling our elected representatives to stop taking actions that attempt to cut CO2 emissions.
It’s not good enough to ignore the global warming debate because it’s messy or not easily understood.
This isn’t merely an esoteric argument between scientists, because it will have – actually has had – consequences.
Ignoring the debate will result in actions – and these actions may not be in our best interest.
The EPA, that deems CO2 a threat, has already taken action against fossil fuels which has increased the cost of electricity, reduced our ability to drill for oil and natural gas and cost jobs.
The choice is ours.
Note: See www.carbonfolly.com for additional information.
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