Slump shows up in USA CO2 output for 2008 and 2009 – economy driven?

The Monthly Energy Review for August 2009 has been published by the US Energy Information Administration and it has some interesting CO2 production data which you can see here in tabular form.

I’ve graphed the data of interest in two separate graphs. First we have the annual plot of “Carbon Dioxide Emissions From Fossil Fuel Consumption by Source” with data to the end of 2008 for the USA:

Click for larger image
Click for larger image

Note that in 2008 a significant drop was seen in total CO2 produced. Corresponding to the drop is a drop in CO2 produced by petroleum, which seems to indicate that high gasoline prices last year which contributed to less miles driven, may have been the dominant factor.

The Department of Transportation notes in U.S. Traffic Volume Trends:

Cumulative Travel for 2008 changed by -3.6% (-107.9 billion vehicle miles). The Cumulative estimate for the year is 2,921.9 billion vehicle miles of travel.

Gas prices receded though in late 2008 and into 2009. But our economy continued its slide with layoffs, store closings, and less demand for durable goods during that same period.

Click for larger image

The graph above compares USA CO2 output by source for the first 5 months of 2008 and 2009. As you’d expect, there is a seasonal drop in coal and natural gas related to less heating requirements, but there remains significant offsets compared to the same months in 2009 for petroleum and coal use. With the severe winter and cool spring seen in much of the US eastern areas with the heaviest population, one might expect increased demand for heating. In fact, this EIA report shows that average heating degree days from 2008 to 2009 tripled, with significant jumps in the east, Midwest, Great Lakes, and New England.

With heating demand actually went up in the first 5 months of 2009, one explanation for this 2008 to 2009 drop in CO2 production could be our sagging economy. With less demands for durable goods, manufacturing and transport are reduced. This affects coal due to lowered electricity demands and petroleum is less for for lowered goods transport. Unemployment may also figure in lowering petroeum usage due to less daily commuting.

I found it interesting that despite all the eco-pronouncements of reducing fossil fuel use, the one thing that appears to have made a significant difference is our sagging economy.

The EIA web page with additional reports is available here

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August 31, 2009 1:04 am

Hm…. the US CO2 emission per capita still exceeds that of Japan by a factor of more than 2, but there’s no need at all to worry about this benign gaseous compound.

Jimmy Haigh
August 31, 2009 1:08 am

There is clearly a direct correlation between anthropogenic CO2 and the performance of the economy. The same can not be said of CO2 and the perceived global temperature.

Allan M R MacRae
August 31, 2009 1:34 am

Second plot extends through May 2009. Since then, natural gas use for power generation is down, due to cold summer temperatures and reduced air conditioniing, especially in the East.
This is a fearless “prediction” based on rock bottom natural gas prices and high storage volumes.

August 31, 2009 1:50 am

In Japan, the amount of emitted CO2 has been perfectly proportional to GDP for the period 1987-2006, where national energy efficiency has invariably been improved and innumerable energy efficient commodities have been put in the market. This unambiguously shows that Japan has been “saturated” to allow no energy saving measures to contribute to CO2 curbing.

August 31, 2009 2:07 am

As usual I have to be skeptical. This is a nifty estimate, produced by a pro-AGW theory administration especially for the AGW army looking at Copenhagen.
Personally I wonder why gasoline consumption only recently started dropping. My travel tourism related businesses started falling in half in 2004 about the time of Katrina, as gas prices were speculated skyward. When prices hit $4.30 a gallon for the second summer in a row, business was at 25% of 2003. There was permanent demand erosion as people changed driving habits, eliminated non-essential travel, and bought high gas mileage cars. This might be anecdata, but I have books to back it up at least regionally.
Likewise, where is the erosion in coal use? Our industrial base is (was) a huge user of electricity. As they have shipped jobs to China et al, electric consumption is off significantly. It takes a lot less power for a guy to sit at home collecting unemployment watching Days of our Lives than when he was running a CNC welder at work in a big factory. I mean Michigan, IL, IN, and WI used to have huge car industries. Now we have huge unemployment, and about 2/3 of our power is from coal.
Between that and the near impossibility of licensing a coal fired power plant in the last 5 years and green meanies forcing existing plants to convert to gas, there should be permanent and significant erosion in the coal line, followed by a big drop for the last year of the chart (2008) when unemployment really took off. Next year coal should plummet as our 9-25% unemployment rate drops industrial power usage significantly.
It also does not show up in the current readings from Mauna Loa. Yes the industrialized nations overseas figure in, but there should still be a drop if the basis of this graph verified, the depression/recession that they highlight is indeed global. Mauna Loa CO2 continues to rise unabated. Something is fishy here, I think that I smell a hockey stick.
Call me a NASA trained skeptic, but I have to question the graph after all of the other government sponsored Blue Sky that we have been issued in the name of AGW. Maybe it is getting a little Pavlovian automatically questioning everything, but I have my doubts about this estimate.

August 31, 2009 2:13 am

CO2 emissions level since 2004 and down the last year or two! Does this mean that atmospheric CO2 has leveled off or is going down?
If not, why not?
This may be a great test of reducing CO2 output & its effect on atmospheric CO2.

August 31, 2009 2:47 am

Qatar leads the world in CO2 production per capita. Followed by other oil and gas producing states. The USA has the highest per capita CO2 production* amoungst developed countries although closely followed by Australia and then Canada next with a somewhat lower emissions rate.
Which probably proves large countries use more energy.
Canada has the highest per capita energy consumption of the developed countries due to its cold climate, but gets a large proportion of its energy from hydro and nuclear So its CO2 emissions are below the USA and Australia.
Of course these figures aren’t net CO2 emissions which would show an entirely different picture. They exclude things like biomass changes in countries.
* Tiny Luxembourg in fact has the highest per capita CO2 emissions amoungst developed countries due to the fact they are also world’s largest steel producer on a per capita basis

August 31, 2009 3:05 am

Energy consumption per dollar of GDP has declined steadily over a number of decades at at about 0.6% per annum. This is true of all developed economies.
There is no evidence that Kyoto, Carbon Trading, etc has had any effect on this rate of decline in energy consumption per unit of GDP, except to the extent these measures have pushed energy intensive industries, such as steel, out of developed countries into developing countries where incidentally substantially more energy is used to produce the same amount of steel because of inferior technology.
Overall the only real effect of Kyoto and Carbon Trading is to move energy consumption from developed countries to developing countries and likely increasing overall CO2 emissions in the process.

August 31, 2009 3:11 am

Am I correct in assumeing that plot 1 is consumption with the vertical scale changed to reflect CO2? I can see how conversion of coal would be close to a constant as it is mostly burned. Petroleum is, however, used for many purposes. An explaination of how this plot was created would be helpful.

August 31, 2009 3:20 am

Are you suggesting CO2 caused the recession?
If so, I smell a grant….

August 31, 2009 3:31 am

Cape Cod helps with C02 reduction…or something.
“The approval could make Massachusetts the trailblazer of a power source that is an essential part of the country’s strategy to address global warming and to achieve energy security”
Great to read the comments posted there:
“Once again the Boston Globe leaves out the facts. Hopefully, the Obama’s now know the ugly truth about this project that the Globe is afraid to print. First, according to the MMS, it will double electric rates. This is after over $70,000,000 a year in federal and state subsidies.”

M White
August 31, 2009 3:46 am

“Fuel duty to rise from midnight”
The British government seems hell bent on worsening the UKs economic woes in the name of saving the world.
For those accross the pond, this will give you an idea of how much we pay.
“A driver spending £25 a week on fuel spends around £1,300 a year at the pumps – £882.93 of which is tax. Another 2p rise would bring the average driver’s total spend on fuel tax to £911.76 a year.”
1,300.00 British pounds sterling = 2,115.54 US dollars
Exchange rate: 1.627339
Rate valid as of: 31/8/2009
Exchange rate from Tax equivalent to 1,436.83 US dollars.

August 31, 2009 3:50 am

We had better be careful as the powers that be might decide that destroying the economy is the desirable thing to do to prevent “Global Warming”… But wait…..

August 31, 2009 3:50 am

Thank you Tokyoboy for that clarification. The real secret revealed for getting rid of all those pesky CO2 molecules: destroy the economy – problem solved. Now that’s simple science!

Louis Hissink
August 31, 2009 4:05 am

Now if atmospheric CO2 concentrations keep rising while human emissions are demonstrably falling, then that would be the clinching argument.
We will have to wait this one out.

anna v
August 31, 2009 4:10 am

And in ppms?
Here is the Mauna Loa graph
merrily rising with the same slope.
One more proof that the A in AGW is miniscule. And they want to cut even more of this miniscule contribution .
Self immolation of the West.

August 31, 2009 4:12 am

Well, I suppose that proves the AGW point that if we trash the global economy, and standard of living, we can save the planet from that nasty old CO2, and thereby live in happy communion and harmony with all the forest critters.

August 31, 2009 4:42 am

It seems clear from the correlation that if we want the economy to improve we to need to produce more CO2, but many can’t afford to turn up the heat or drive a few extra miles every day, so we need some low cost options.
Since I cut my own wood, I can start my wood stove earlier than usual (as long as I open the doors and windows.)
We all could start burning our non-toxic trash in the backyard. (The local fire departments will gladly grant permits as a trade off of fire risk versus national and global economic benefits.)

Pierre Gosselin
August 31, 2009 5:04 am

Now we know where the recent global cooling comes from!

August 31, 2009 5:09 am

“… innumerable energy efficient commodities …” How about you name just 5 major energy efficiencies will pay for themselves, cradle to grave, cheaper than traditional large scale fossil/nuclear.
There is a general problem with CO2 emissions taxes. The collected taxes will be given to people who will immediatly want to spend them on more electricity/gas/petrol. It is very hard to spend windfall money without increasing CO2 emissions to the air. I think you are agreeing with me in a roundabout way.

Pierre Gosselin
August 31, 2009 5:14 am

Japan has a more moderate climate, thus less energy consumption for heating/cooling. Japan is much smaller, thus less energy consumption for transportation. US per capita GDP is higher, thus more energy consumption to produce the extra goods and services.
Japanese homes/cars are much smaller – very cramp indeed – thus yet less energy consumption.
Of course Americans could scale back their standard of living to that of Japan, where everybody is cramped in small spaces or stuffed into subways like sardines.
It really does get down to standard of living.
Personally I think USA ought to open its borders to allow millions of japanese to come to the USA. This would alleviate Japanese overcrowding and at the same time increase the supply of highly skilled and disciplined workers.

Pierre Gosselin
August 31, 2009 5:16 am

Demographics also play a role in energy consumption. Old folks consume less energy.

Ed Reid
August 31, 2009 5:25 am

The data clearly show that recessions cause lower CO2 emissions.
Soon we may have data (thanks to cap & tax) to show that lower CO2 emissions cause recessions. 🙂

August 31, 2009 5:26 am

So if the production of CO2 has gone down, what have the measurements of CO2 in the atmosphere done? Have they gone down also or are they still on the rise?

Ron de Haan
August 31, 2009 5:43 am

The strategy works!
If we wreck the economy, CO2 levels go down.
This is a huge success.
Let’s continue.

Layne Blanchard
August 31, 2009 5:47 am

So this is a measurement (however conducted) of US production of C02.
It would really be interesting to see if this has any effect on atmospheric concentration, and what the time lag is between the two.
And if reduced economic activity can be seen in declining production of C02, will a forced decline in energy use prove similarly to reduce economic activity? I suspect it will.

Jeff L
August 31, 2009 5:55 am

tokyoboy (01:50:23) :
“where national energy efficiency has invariably been improved and innumerable energy efficient commodities have been put in the market.”
Japan has much more motivation for this since they have to import almost all their energy (in comparison to the US which has relatively abundant resources).
If someone was motivated, you could probably put together some sort of model for the effect of cap n trade on the economy, given target levels of CO2, using the data above as a real world guideline. I am sure the results would be ugly.

Steven Kopits
August 31, 2009 6:25 am

Both Japan’s energy consumption and its economy is chaotic. In fact, viewed through the energy lens, the Japanese economy looks like it’s self-destructing.
US oil consumption is down about 10% from peak, and most of this was accomplished in less than a year. It demostrates that such energy savings through conservation are possible in a year–at the expense of 6 million jobs.
For those interested in trade-offs between economy and climate in oil policy, I might recommend an article I have written: “Oil: What Price can America Afford?” Find it, for example, here:…/438-06-09_-_Research_Note_-_Oil_-_What_Price_can_America_Afford_-_DWL_website_version.pdf

John Galt
August 31, 2009 6:33 am

Moderate weather seems to be a big factor in emisisons as well. A warmer winter means less fossil fuels burned for heating. A cooler summer means less fossil fuels burned for a/c.

Jim, too.
August 31, 2009 6:40 am

Rather than saying the market has been ‘saturated’ and is allowing no new energy saving measures, I think it shows what many have speculated all along…
Mans efforts to control his overall emissions of CO2 are pathetically small despite any news stories that would make you think otherwise. Incredible amounts of fossil fuels are consumed annually and extremely small reductions have been achieved on a global basis. Despite all the money spent so far on Energy Star appliances, cap and trade schemes, PV panels installed and windmills erected. All that effort, all those dollars spent, don’t amount to the proverbial ‘hill of beans’ outcome. A quarter million new souls are added to this planet daily. Each of them needs food, shelter and warmth/cooling.
Its a good thing that excess CO2 abounds right now to increase the crop yield necessary to feed them all. Its also a good thing that the excess CO2 is most likely highly benign in its effects on the climate despite what the news may have you convinced otherwise.
It appears only something as huge as a global recession is able to dent emissions, and then only by ~5% percent this last year… Can you imagine what it would take to reduce growth to less than zero and return it to pre-industrial levels? Total economic destruction for 7 billion people, maybe?
On the other hand, maybe the reduction is due to less air conditioning demand as the world has turned cooler for the last decade. Maybe the cooler oceans have begun absorbing some additional CO2 this last decade, as well. I remain convinced it is too early to confirm anything, yet.

Ron de Haan
August 31, 2009 6:46 am

– less air traffic
– less car miles
– less transport
– less shipping
– less industrial emissions
– less air conditioning due to cold summer
– less electricity generation
It’s so Anti American

August 31, 2009 6:51 am

tokyoboy (01:04:53) :
Hm…. the US CO2 emission per capita still exceeds that of Japan by a factor of more than 2, but there’s no need at all to worry about this benign gaseous compound.

And the CO2 absorption capacity (bio, etc..) is 1,000X that of Japan, for we enjoy millions of square miles of habitat, whereas Japan is how big?
I have a tough time with these kinds of graphs and estimates. All guesses…

Retired Engineer
August 31, 2009 7:07 am

If we have a cooler than average winter, no doubt the alarmists will claim that reduction in CO2 caused it and thus the need for stringent rules and higher taxes. Maybe recessions are good for us?
Something about if you do or don’t?

August 31, 2009 7:07 am

These are calculated amounts. Can the reduction in CO2 be seen in world CO2 atmospheric levels? What would the lag time of that be?

Ron de Haan
August 31, 2009 7:08 am

How to continue the current “success”?
What about a 200 dollar per barrel price for oil in 2010!

Ron de Haan
August 31, 2009 7:10 am

And by Creating Catastrophe:

Ron de Haan
August 31, 2009 7:13 am
August 31, 2009 7:14 am

The global cooling must have more to do than the slump of the economy.

Matt in Wyoming
August 31, 2009 7:15 am

I am curious about how much of a reduction, % wise, this represents of our “reduction goals based on XXXX year?” and how much of a global CO2 drop there was because of this dip in US output.
My point is to see if the reduced CO2 showed up on the annual increase as a smaller increase or even a decrease. If there is a reduction in the annual increase, then perhaps there is a cause and effect relationship with human activity and CO2 emissions. If there is no reduction, or only a minor one, then the causal relationship is not significant enough to warrant disruption of our global economy.
My assumption is that this won’t even show up at all, which will absolutely debunk the notion that reductions in Americas and for that matter, global CO2 output will in any way affect the atmospheric CO2 concentrations and by extension of the AGW theory, have any affect(sp) on climate change.

Ron de Haan
August 31, 2009 7:19 am
Robert Wood
August 31, 2009 7:43 am

This is an empirical test of the hypothesis that to reduce CO2 output means reducing wealth.

August 31, 2009 7:45 am

The recession certainly has something to do with reduced CO2, but there is another major point. Much less CO2 is emitted due to fuel substitution due to very low natural gas prices, which are below $3 per million Btu in current dollars. Inflation adjusted, this is very low indeed. Adam Smith-type stuff. Far more supply than demand will do that.
CNG and LNG instead of gasoline or diesel; natural gas instead of coal. And of course, wind-power instead of natural gas, for example, Texas producing approximately 3 percent of its power via wind on average. That’s a lot of power in a very big state.
OPEC is desperately trying to maintain the price of oil above $70 per barrel. But today China decreased gasoline and diesel prices, causing oil to drop around the world. The only thing helping OPEC in their price struggle is Obama’s inflationary policies. One must wonder how much longer OPEC will accept ever-more worthless dollars for their oil.
Ah, the Grand Game. Place your bets, folks, there’s fortunes to be made here. And it is not by betting that oil will skyrocket due to some peaking issue brought about by a shortage of oil.

August 31, 2009 8:01 am

Isn’t this number (CO² emmission) calculated directly from the amount of fuel sold? I do not believe that it is yet (and could ever be so) the amount of CO² measured in the atmosphere above the US.
If so then it would have to be a direct measure of economic performance. I use that word guardedly.

August 31, 2009 8:01 am

It is unproper just to mention these figures, as these would something to do with climate. BTW there are lacking more curves: How much CO2 you americans have exhaled, how much CH4 cattle have expelled from their back ends…and, last but not least, the prophet´s profits curve.

Kum Dollison
August 31, 2009 8:04 am

Anna V. gave the Answer with her Mauna Loa graph.
CO2 levels, worldwide, continued upwards, unphased.

Brent Salgat
August 31, 2009 8:22 am

Looks like good propaganda. That is of course unless co2 follows temperature

August 31, 2009 8:27 am

Gasoline consumption in 2008 was down near 4% vs 2007, probably due to high prices. 2009 is down another 3%, probably due mainly to the economy. Diesel use is down 10% or so ytd 2009 vs 2008, and that is almost certainly the economy – a lot less trucking being done. Electrical consumption is also down a few % in 2009, which would account for the drop in coal use. In Q1 and Q2 the drop in electricity was probably the economy. Since then cooling degree days has also been down modestly, while nuke capacity has remained high. There has surely been some switch from coal to NG, but that is a smaller contribution. Murray

Ron de Haan
August 31, 2009 8:38 am

Mauna Loa tells a different story, I go for Mauna Loa.
Thanks Anna V.

August 31, 2009 8:46 am

Anthony, with this article I understand that Temperature follows CO2 and that man-made global warming is indeed happening.
You can’t really say that CO2 follows temperature because from previous articles you’ve showed us a 800years lap difference.
The Economy had nothing to do with CO2 levels going down, haven’t you also told us in here how much more CO2 China produces every year?
REPLY: You are confused. These aren’t air samples of CO2, they are based on calculations of combustion output from volume usage of the materials, and only for the USA, not for China, not for the wrold. – Anthony

George Tobin
August 31, 2009 8:57 am

I am reminded of Patrick Michaels’ fun and useful statistic developed here in which he calculates that we would need to remove/reduce CO2 emissions by 1,767,250 mmt to lessen warming by 1 deg. C–if the IPCC models are correct.
Elimination of all US emissions (assuming a new average of 450 mmt/ month) would save a bit over 0.00025 deg C warming per month. If we Americans deny ourselves all fossil fuels for the next 20 years, we could prevent almost 0.06 degrees of AGW. Economic, cultural and political devastation would be a small price to pay to provide 6 one-hundredths of a degree relief to Mother Earth.

August 31, 2009 9:14 am

Really, how could you tell? Here’s the M-L growth figures for the last few years:
year ann inc unc
2000 1.74 0.11
2001 1.59 0.11
2002 2.56 0.11
2003 2.29 0.11
2004 1.56 0.11
2005 2.55 0.11
2006 1.69 0.11
2007 2.17 0.11
2008 1.66 0.11

August 31, 2009 9:21 am

At 3:11:20 I stated “An explanation of how this plot was created would be helpful”. Since there has been no answer my assumption apparently stands: this is a plot of consumption with the vertical axis multiplied by a constant to reflect CO2. I believe Mauna Loa data is a direct measurement, this data appears to be a calculation. I attach no significance to this. As an engineer I like to know what I am looking at when I compare data.

August 31, 2009 9:22 am

The cool summer and expected early frost in the Midwest is also delaying major harvests by 2 weeks or so, which means less energy (and therefore C02) is being used by farmers. Of course, it could also mean less food (and animal feed ) and higher prices thereby leading to mass starvation which in turn would lead to even less energy use. Yep, the plan is working alrighty!

Pierre Gosselin
August 31, 2009 9:47 am

From Rasmussen:
On climate change:
“…47% now blame it on long-term planetary trends while 36% say human activity is the cause…voters have been trending away from blaming human activity since January.”

Pierre Gosselin
August 31, 2009 9:56 am

Ron de Haan
I live in Germany, and I’ve stocked up big time on the incandescent light bulbs. The 100-watt ones are sold out here.
I think next year they are going to ban the 75 and 60 watt bulbs. I’m going to stock up on those too. These bloody nanny nags aren’t going to dictate my frigging lights! No way!
With the damn communists winning big in the local elections here yesterday, we’re headed back to the old Stasi days I sometimes fear.

August 31, 2009 10:13 am

Tokyoboy: The US population is 307 MM while Japan’s is 127.5 MM, 2.41 time more. The claim that our CO2 emissions double those from Japan proves that good old American ingenuity rules. The Japanese should be copying us.

Reply to  Paddy
August 31, 2009 11:49 am

Not taking sides in this, but get your usage of facts straight. US emissions are double those of Japan per capita, not total.

John Galt
August 31, 2009 10:35 am

If the premise is true, then the Waman-Malarky Cap-and-Trade bill will surely work because it’s most important result is a downturn in the American economy.

August 31, 2009 10:44 am

Not to be critical, but I just wanted quickly to point out a grammatical error in the original post:
“But our economy continued it’s slide with layoffs…”
Should be “its,” not “it’s.” The pronoun “it” does not take the apostrophe in the possessive case. “It’s” is a contraction of “it is.”
Great blog though. It’s still #3 on my blogroll. 😉
[Reply: Fixed, thanx. ~dbstealey, moderator]

Gary Pearse
August 31, 2009 11:18 am

If this itty-bitty decline in CO2 emissions arose because of the worst economic crisis since the great depression, I hate to imagine what a greater reduction would portend.
anna v (04:10:58) :
And in ppms? Here is the Mauna Loa graph
merrily rising with the same slope.
I know this has been discussed at length before – the CO2 following temp. I had a good demonstration of this on a project in Tanzania where the only water we could take to the worksite was soda water. The first bottle virtually emptied itself in a swoosh when I took the cap off to quickly. The Mauna Loa graph would suggest that the warming we have experienced is evolving CO2 from the oceans. By the way, it is not only the US that reduced energy consumption because of the financial crisis. Europe and Japan were similarly hit and the Chinese and Indian economies did slow a few percent. If that Mauna Loa graph doesn’t at least level off soon, we might be coerced into thinking the CO2 rise in the atmosphere is also largely natural.

Pierre Gosselin
August 31, 2009 11:18 am

LOL! Has anyone noticed how much CO2 emmissions rose while Gore was VP?
More than when Bush Sr or Bush Jr. were presidents!

Pierre Gosselin
August 31, 2009 11:19 am

Look at the chart!

August 31, 2009 11:20 am

The perfect way to test the AGW hypothesis:
Restrict all banks from lending money for 15 years, then see if temps stops increasing. 🙂

Kum Dollison
August 31, 2009 12:12 pm

Okay, does CO2 ppm in the atmosphere follow Industrial Output, or Temperature? From Mauna Loa:
July, 1997 – 364.10 ppm
July, 1998 – 367.59
July, 1999 – 369.10
July, 2000 – 369.69
So, from July 97′ to July of the El Nino year 98′ we get an increase of 3.49 ppm increase.
From July of 98′ to July of the La Nina year 99′ we get an increase of only 1.51 ppm.
And, as we get “really cold” going from July 99′ to July 2000 we get a whopping 0.59 ppm increase.
And, if I remember, correctly, the economy “peaked” in late 99′, early 2000, not 1997.

Mike Abbott
August 31, 2009 1:00 pm

I think this quote from a recent MSN Money article explains the petroleum line in the graph:
“The [U.S.] government said vehicle miles traveled in 2008 fell by about 3.6%, to 2.92 trillion miles, indicating many people adjusted their driving habits as gas prices fluctuated and the economy tumbled. The number of miles driven by motorists had risen steadily over the past three decades.”

Kum Dollison
August 31, 2009 1:02 pm

Ah, Wait a minute. It just occurred to me that I cut that analysis just “a little bit green.”
In late 2000, and 2001 we were falling into recession. But, Temps were going up. So, I wonder what was affecting CO2 concentration the most? Any guesses.
July 2001 – 371.51 ppm. An Increase of 1.82 ppm
July 2002 – 373.91 ppm. An Increase of 2.40 ppm
So, to recap: July 97′ to July 2000 the economy was Expanding, Temps were Cooling, and The Increase in CO2 concentrations was Falling.
From July 2000 to July 2002 the economy was Shrinking, Temps were Rising, and the Increase in CO2 levels was Growing.
For what it’s worth.

Claude Harvey
August 31, 2009 1:02 pm

After studying the government’s economic data and its temperature data, why would anyone trust its CO2 data? Practically every number to come out of the murky government boiler rooms these days shows evidence of having been statistically “cooked” in favor of one agenda or another.
Wait until you see what the boys and girls in Washington have in mind for the upcoming census! No more of that primitive “count every head” foolishness this time around!

August 31, 2009 1:05 pm

One interesting things is that after gasoline prices really started to rise after 2004, fuel economy declined. Despite basically flat total volume for driving and improvement in the overall fleet fuel economy rating (the EPA rating is pretty stable and improved over the prior 10 years considered a typical life for a car). After 2005 truck and SUV sales dropped off and the rating of vehicles sold improved. The vehicles sold since then should have had higher ratings than the vehicles scrapped/donated/exported during the same period.
I think the decline in efficiency has a lot to do with the Slow is Efficient Myth. It was probably exacerbated by cellphone use, aging population, and falling testosterone levels.
Engines actually operate more efficiently at higher loads and moderately high RPM (around 3 or 4 thousand RPM for gasoline vehicles and 1500-2000 for diesel). Like any vehicle, acceleration will be most efficient with a high payload or with quick acceleration to create a load. A truck’s acceleration efficiency will be good with a high load and slow/moderate acceleration. If the load is light, efficiency is best with faster acceleration to create a load. (Less fuel per mile will be used with ligher loads during cruising. What’s economical depends entirly on the value of the load. Vehicle weight is probably a waste, cargo and passangers not.)
Same with cars.
Fast acceleration is actually more efficient. Fast acceleration means better fuel efficiency during acceleration and less time spent accelerating, greater throughput at intersections and other bottlenecks, and higher average speeds and lower top speeds.
In addition, depending on how frequent stops are, higher cruising speeds are generally more efficient up until about 55-60mph (for and average vehicle, see EPA).
It’s not making use of the power we buy that is ineffecient, not the actual desire for more power (though increasing vehicle weight to get more power could lead to lower efficiency if most time is spent cruising).
Here are some more insights into what happened in 2008.

August 31, 2009 1:14 pm

Wonderful news. James Lovelock will be delighted.
Did anyone inform Greenpeace yet ?
Bring on the recession.
@Ron de Haan: peak oil is here, limits to growth were predicted in 1973 for ….
right about now.

Ron de Haan
August 31, 2009 1:58 pm

CO2, the gas of life.
This link provides visual evidence of the beneficial effects of CO2 in plant growth, a key property to feed the world and an interesting report about our climate:
In short: Lower CO2 levels = BAD, Higher CO2 levels is GOOD

Kum Dollison
August 31, 2009 2:01 pm

The same general trend continues in 2007, 2008, and 2009.
Let’s use March, since we know there’s a bit of a lag time at Mauna Loa.
Mar, 2007 – 384.42 ppm concentration
Mar, 2008 – 385.96 ppm
Mar, 2009 – 388.77 ppm
So, as we fell off the El Nino and started to cool, amid stable economic conditions in 2007, CO2 concentration in the atmosphere increased by 1.54 ppm, YOY.
Then, in the later months of 2008, as the economy deteriorated, and Temps started to rise, CO2 concentrations shot up by 2.81 ppm, YOY.
It’s looking like it’s “Temps,” to me.

Ron de Haan
August 31, 2009 2:14 pm

Pierre Gosselin (09:56:27) :
Ron de Haan
I live in Germany, and I’ve stocked up big time on the incandescent light bulbs. The 100-watt ones are sold out here.
I think next year they are going to ban the 75 and 60 watt bulbs. I’m going to stock up on those too. These bloody nanny nags aren’t going to dictate my frigging lights! No way!
With the damn communists winning big in the local elections here yesterday, we’re headed back to the old Stasi days I sometimes fear.
Pierre Gosselin (09:56:27) :
Ron de Haan
“I live in Germany, and I’ve stocked up big time on the incandescent light bulbs. The 100-watt ones are sold out here.
I think next year they are going to ban the 75 and 60 watt bulbs. I’m going to stock up on those too. These bloody nanny nags aren’t going to dictate my frigging lights! No way!
With the damn communists winning big in the local elections here yesterday, we’re headed back to the old Stasi days I sometimes fear”.
You are correct.
Germany is lost (again) and it won’t take long before they hit rock bottom.
We know what happens then.
So if there is any chance to leave the country (and that goes for the whole of Europe)
just do it and take your chances somewhere else.
There are still countries in this world where you live the good life and make some money.
If you want to know more, send me an e-mail: rondehaan (at)

August 31, 2009 3:19 pm

Carbon dioxide isn’t the culprit in global warming. It’s actually the fault of the Post Office: click

August 31, 2009 3:32 pm

The take home message from this – rising CO2 = a healthy economy, reduce it and we slip back into a recession, then depression and possibly another world war, like what happened at the end of the last depression.
The countries that have reduced their CO2 emmissions the most? Those paradises on Earth, where everyone wants to emigrate to – Burundi, Afghanistan and Somalia

August 31, 2009 3:57 pm

Regarding Kum Dollision “So, as we fell off the El Nino and started to cool, amid stable economic conditions in 2007, CO2 concentration in the atmosphere increased by 1.54 ppm, YOY.
Then, in the later months of 2008, as the economy deteriorated, and Temps started to rise, CO2 concentrations shot up by 2.81 ppm, YOY.”
So that would be Sea Surface temps correct? I find your observations very interesting. What else can you think of that would explain the observations?
Is it clear that SSTs leads the atmosphere? Is more study of this worthy?

Kum Dollison
August 31, 2009 4:17 pm

Actually, David, I was using the UAH numbers for atmospheric temperatures. From here:
You know, you bring up an interesting point. There’s about a three month lag (IIRC) between atmospheric temps, and CO2 concentrations rising more quickly/slowly.
If atmospherica temps follow Sea Surface Temps that presents a bit of a question, doesn’t it?

August 31, 2009 5:27 pm

@Pierre Gosselin (05:16:14) :
“Demographics also play a role in energy consumption. Old folks consume less energy.”
Yeah, but… their increased GHG emissions more than offset the decrease in energy usage ;o)
(Now I have to go back and finish reading the thread after your post to see who beat me to that observation.)

glen martin
August 31, 2009 6:19 pm

@ Kum Dollison
I’ve seen the relationship between temperatures and the rate of CO2 increase mentioned before. I thought it was here but haven’t been able to find the post, perhaps it was in the comments. This plot I made at wood for trees illustrates it quite well.

August 31, 2009 9:41 pm

Re. Glen Martin…”I’ve seen the relationship between temperatures and the rate of CO2 increase mentioned before. I thought it was here but haven’t been able to find the post, perhaps it was in the comments. This plot I made at wood for trees illustrates it quite well.””
It would be interesting to see an SST chart overlayed on your graph.

Kum Dollison
September 1, 2009 5:26 am

Good chart, Glen. There does seem to be a correlation, doesn’t there? 🙂

Pierre Gosselin
September 1, 2009 9:56 am

Ron de Haan
Thanks for the e-mail. I’ll be in touch.

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