Besides the fact that both this Congress and the previous one were vehemently opposed to any sort of emissions regulations, it would seem that the recession has forced fewer emissions on its own.
From the New York Times:
According to the Energy Department, carbon dioxide emissions peaked in this country in 2005 and will not reach that level again until the early 2020s.
“It’s important to note that the future isn’t what it used to be,” said David Doniger, policy director of the Climate Center at the Natural Resources Defense Council. He pointed out that the Energy Department’s projection of emissions in 2020 was lower in 2008 than in 2007, and has kept falling.
How could that be?
In part, the Great Recession has been good for something.
“The recession has led to a smaller economy, less activity and less energy consumption,” said Revis W. James, director of the Energy Technology Assessment Center at the Electric Power Research Institute, a utility consortium.
NASA and NOAA reported yesterday that 2010 was the wettest year since record-keeping begin in 1880 and tied 2005 for the hottest year on record. The average heat for 2010 was 1.12 degrees hotter than the 20th century average of 57 degree Fahrenheit.
From the New York Times:
The new figures confirm that 2010 will go down as one of the more remarkable years in the annals of climatology. It featured prodigious snowstorms that broke seasonal records in the United States and Europe; a record-shattering summer heat wave that scorched Russia; strong floods that drove people from their homes in places like Pakistan, Australia, California and Tennessee; a severe die-off of coral reefs; and a continuation in the global trend of a warming climate.
There have been developments in recent weeks as new studies on the warming in Antarctica and the behavior of clouds in relation to greenhouse gases have been called into question.
First, in Antarctica, they've found that the warming is not quite as significant as first suspected. This is important for two reasons: first, because there are obvious implications about the rate of global warming not being as severe as once suspected. Second, it calls attention to the weaknesses inherent in the scientific method when dealing with hot-button issues (read more about that in Jonah Lehrer's excellent piece from the New Yorker).
Then, to the clouds. In much the same fashion, it would seem that some of the research pointing to increased cloud activity due to greenhouse gases has been overzealous (a video used as part of their research can be seen above). Once again, this is not to say global warming needs to be called into question, only that the research needs to be more closely reviewed if we're to have an accurate picture.
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