Greenhouse spin: In fact, the air you breathe is less free and less clean

There’s really no good news in this report about 2004 U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, but the Bush agenda is spun in nonetheless, trying to make a stink into perfume…..

DECEMBER 16, 2005

U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Grow but Intensity Falls in 2004

U.S. greenhouse gas emissions increased by 2.0 percent in 2004,

from 6,983.2 million metric tons carbon dioxide equivalent (MMTCO2e)

in 2003 to 7,122.1 MMTCO2e in 2004, according to “Emissions of

Greenhouse Gases in the United States 2004″, a report released today

by the Energy Information Administration (EIA). U.S. greenhouse gas

emissions per unit of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) fell from 677

metric tons per million 2000 constant dollars of GDP (MTCO2e/$Million

GDP) in 2003 to 662 MTCO2e /$Million GDP in 2004, a decline of 2.1

percent.

But, wait, if you read all the way down the report summary, you’ll find that the annual increase in greenhouse gas emissions during the 1990s was just north of half the 2004 increase, and yet the economy was growing faster for most of the 1990s. Likewise, you’ll find that the Bush approach to the environment has reduced the amount of carbon dioxide “sequestered” in forests for the first time in a decade (that is, there were not enough trees to process that carbon dioxide into oxygen compared to during the 1990s).

The 2004 increase is well below the rate of economic growth of 4.2

percent but above the average annual growth rate of 1.1 percent in

greenhouse gas emissions since 1990. Emissions of carbon dioxide

and methane increased by 1.7 and 0.9 percent respectively, while

emissions of nitrous oxide and engineered gases rose by 5.5 and 9.6

percent respectively.

+ Emissions of carbon dioxide from energy consumption and industrial

processes grew by 1.7 percent from 5,871.8 million metric tons in

2003 to 5,973.0 million metric tons in 2004. Since 1990, carbon

dioxide emissions have risen by about 19 percent.

More than a 10th of the increase over 15 years happened last year.

+ Methane emissions rose by 0.9 percent from 633.9 MMTCO2e to 639.5

MMTCO2e. The increase is attributable mainly to greater methane

emissions from landfills, while smaller increases from animal

waste, rice cultivation, and coal mining also contributed to the

total growth. Since 1990, methane emissions have declined by more

than 11 percent.


After falling over a decade, methane emissions are increasing.

+ Nitrous oxide emissions increased from 335.2 MMTCO2e in 2003 to

353.7 MMTCO2e in 2004 (5.5 percent) mainly because of increases

in emissions from agricultural sources, which rose by 17.4 MMTCO2e,

comprising 94 percent of the total increase. Nitrous oxide

emissions are above 1990 levels for the first time since 2001.

+ Emissions from three classes of engineered gases –

hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur

hexafluoride (SF6) – increased by 9.6 percent from 142.4 MMTCO2e

in 2003 to 155.9 MMTCO2e in 2004. As a group, these gases have

grown by 77 percent since 1990, but from very small initial levels.

Again, more than 10 percent of the increase since 1990 happened last year.

+ In 1990, land use change and forestry practices sequestered enough

carbon dioxide to offset 16.9 percent of U.S. anthropogenic

greenhouse gas emissions. In 2003 (the last year of available data)

that offset declined to 11.9 percent.


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Under President Bush, there aren’t as many forests to consume the C-O2 we produce. When you hear about drilling for oil in ANWAR, think about the fact that the forest is one of our last remaining natural C-O2 sinks.

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Author: Mitch Ratcliffe

Mitch Ratcliffe is a veteran entrepreneur, journalist and business model hacker. He operates this site, which is a collection of the blogs he's published over the years, as well as an archive of his professional publishing record. As always, this is a work in progress. Such is life.

One thought on “Greenhouse spin: In fact, the air you breathe is less free and less clean”

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