Just released: new DOE figures showing that the US has reduced CO2 production 1.5% last year in 2006, even without the US signing on to Kyoto. You can read the full report here (Adobe PDF file).
Here are some of the numbers for 2006:
• Total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2006 were 1.5 percent below the 2005 total—the first annual drop since 2001 and only the third since 1990.
• The total emissions reduction, from 7,181.4 million metric tons carbon dioxide equivalent (MMTCO2e) in 2005 to 7,075.6 MMTCO2e in 2006, was largely a result of reductions in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. There were smaller reductions in emissions of methane (CH4) and man-made gases with high global warming potentials (high-GWP gases)
• U.S. carbon dioxide emissions in 2006 were 110.6 million metric tons (MMT) below their 2005 level of 6,045.0 MMT, due to favorable weather conditions; higher energy prices; a decline in the carbon intensity of electric power generation that resulted from increased use of natural gas, the least carbon intensive fossil fuel; and greater reliance on non-fossil energy sources.
Despite my stance on the measurement and interpretation errors associated with the surface temperature record, I’ve always felt that reducing pollution is a good thing. At the same time I’ve always felt that our environmental movement is too often focused on panic driven ideas.
Coupled with the news about the 2007 hurricane season being very low in my post below, I believe we’ve seen evidence that things aren’t all they are claimed to be, particularly by Gore. I think the best approach overall is to not panic, and to work on alternate energy solutions and better efficiency as a way to wean ourselves from foreign oil. The key here is slow change. It took us 100 years to get to this point, it will probably take us at least half that to reverse the trends in a sensible way with new technology.