[First posted at Forbes.]
As U.S. carbon dioxide emissions continue to decline, one would think global warming alarmists would celebrate the ongoing achievement. Instead, alarmists are ramping up their vitriol. The alarmists’ increasing vitriol reveals that for many alarmists, the true goal is not a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, but instead a transfer of wealth and power from individuals to government.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that U.S. carbon dioxide emissions during the first quarter of 2012 were the lowest since 1992. With more and more U.S. power plants switching from coal to natural gas, the decline is likely to continue and the reductions are likely to be permanent.
The decline in U.S. carbon dioxide emissions is striking when we compare U.S. emission trends to global emission trends.
In 2000, U.S. emissions totaled 5.9 billion metric tons, while global emissions totaled 23.7 billion metric tons. Accordingly, in 2000 the United States accounted for 25 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions.
By 2010, however, U.S. emissions fell to 5.6 billion metric tons, while global emissions rose to 31.8 billion metric tons. Accordingly, in 2010 the United States accounted for merely 18 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions.
If the U.S. emissions reductions in early 2012 hold throughout the year, they’ll likely fall to merely 15 percent of the global total.
By the end of the decade, U.S. emissions will most likely decline to approximately 12 percent of global emissions, or less than half the U.S. share in 2000.
Keeping in mind that the United States produces 23 percent of the world’s Gross Domestic Product , reducing U.S. emissions to 12-to-15 percent of the global total is quite impressive.
These reductions in U.S. carbon dioxide emissions are taking place without all-intrusive, economy-wide, government-imposed restrictions. Yes, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations that economically punish coal power plants are somewhat responsible for the shift to natural gas power, but so too are technological advances and new natural gas discoveries that have dramatically reduced the price of natural gas.
If the alarmists’ true goal is significantly reducing carbon dioxide emissions, they would acknowledge and celebrate these ongoing reductions. Instead, however, alarmists are doubling down on vitriol and hateful rhetoric.
Consider, for example, Bill Blakemore’s most recent column on the ABC News Nature and Environment webpage. Among other things, Blakemore writes that “a number of climate scientists have told this reporter they agree with those, including NASA scientist James Hansen, who charge fossil fuel CEOs are thus guilty of a ‘crime against humanity.’” The traditional punishment for “crimes against humanity” is execution.
Why is it that so many alarmists are ratcheting up their vitriol and hateful rhetoric precisely when U.S. carbon dioxide emissions are rapidly declining? The answer is the alarmists are motivated more by a desire to reshape society into a government-centered model than they are interested in reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Emissions are rapidly declining, yet money and power remains largely with the people rather than the government. Accordingly, activists ratchet up their hateful rhetoric.
For those who truly care about reducing carbon dioxide emissions, now is a time for celebration. For those who truly care about transferring money and power to government, now is a time to intensify their attacks.