US, “the world’s largest polluter…..”

When in the course of human events it becomes necessary to periodically repeat the demonstrably true rebuttals to the standard litany about How Evil Is The Texas Cowboy And His Misguided Electorate Who Rejected Kyoto………

This story at Yahoo from Reuters “Science”, about an actually useful climate change agreement, prompts the need to remind everyone (again) (and again, given the fact that most MSM “journalists” don’t do any actual homework on scientific matters, instead relying on a limited rolodex of reliably radical sources to give the expected quotes supporting the story’s “green” theme) of what is true and what is myth.

The story casually repeats what is always said: “The United States, the world’s largest polluter, refused to sign up to the Kyoto Protocol, a landmark U.N. plan to curb global warming by cutting emissions of greenhouse gases.”

By the logic implicit in that statement when made in conjunction with greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, every person alive gains several pounds every day from food and water intake. At the end of a year after eating one pound of food and drinking a quart of liquid, I should weigh at least a thousand pounds more than I did on January 1.

OK, here is reality- again- for those who tend to forget. What shows up on your bathroom scale is not food and water intake, it is food and water intake minus waste elimination and minus the food and water consumed and turned into energy (heat) through the body’s metabolic process. Got that? Good. Ready for the next step?

What counts in atmospheric greenhouse gases (GAG) is not what you emit, but what you emit minus what you consume. When Reuters “Science” tells you that the US is the “world’s largest polluter” they are giving one side of the equation, a good way to flunk math and science even in US public schools.

The fact is, the US is roughly a net zero emitter of GAG, possibly even a net absorber, while the Germans who lecture us on our Kyoto-rejecting sins are part of a land mass that regularly pumps those nasty GAG into the air at a net positive rate that confirms the USA as the environmentally greenest place on earth- because it is literally one of the greenest places on earth.

Iain Murray told us about this three years ago in a “Technopolitics” column:

“A scientific paper published in October 1998 (“A Large Terrestrial Carbon Sink in North America Implied by Atmospheric and Oceanic Carbon Dioxide Data and Models,” Fan et al, Science, Vol. 282, p. 442 ff.) concluded that the North American continent acted as a huge carbon sink, absorbing about 1.7 billion metric tons of atmospheric carbon dioxide per year. As North America is responsible for only about 1.6 billion tons of carbon emissions per year, the continent is actually a net consumer of carbon dioxide.

“The same paper, however, found that the Eurasian continent was in a much less healthy state, consuming an “uptake” of only about 100 million tons of carbon per year while at the same time being responsible for 3.6 billion tons of emission. Unlike North America, the majority of the plant life in Eurasia is outside the Temperate Zone. The temperate areas of Eurasia, which include the industrial nations of Western Europe, actually act as a net “source” of carbon. It seems likely, therefore, that all of Western Europe’s carbon emissions (about 1 billion metric tons in total) survive in the atmosphere, unlike North America’s. Europe is actually a net polluter, while North America cleans up its own mess.

“Just how great the discrepancy is can be seen when we look at the effects per person. Under the Kyoto Protocol, America would have to reduce its emissions by about 2.3 tons per person. Europe, with a far bigger population but a far lower reduction target, would only have to reduce its emissions by about 0.4 tons per person. But if we take the carbon sink/ source effect into account, America actually absorbs 0.4 tons of carbon per person while the average European puts out about 2.5 tons each.

Somebody tell the Johns (McCain and Kerry). Of course, Arizona doesn’t have that many trees, and Massachusetts cut lots of theirs down……

More on the principles of carbon sinks and the way they are misapplied in the computer simulations (i.e., model results used by the scaremongers don’t match the real world empirical data) can be found here and here.

UPDATE: Thanks, Hatcher, for defending New England. We are committed to environmental truth, so you are encouraged to visit here and here to see the good news about reforestation of Massachusetts. I’ll have to confine my snarky comments about rich NIMBY environmentalists such as Mr. Kerry to his campaign agaisn the wind farm blocking his view at Martha’s Vineyard: story here.


One Response to “US, “the world’s largest polluter…..””

  1. Hatcher Says:

    While your point is taken, you should note that New England now has more trees than it did when the Mayflower stepped ashore.

    The demise of most of the timber and paper industries, coupled with the abandonment of tens of thousands of small farms, has led to reforestation on hundreds of square miles of land. They’re part of the carbon-sink that Ian talks about.

    You can find more here and here.

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