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  • Since Americans are Teenagers, They Won’t Understand Greenhouse Gases

    The American public…just like your teenage kids, aren’t acting in a way that they should act. The American public has to really understand in their core how important this issue is.”

    In case you haven’t heard, that was Secretary of Energy Steven Chu discussing your ability to curb greenhouse gas emissions. As long as we’re acting like teenagers, we might as well be treated like them. According to the Obama administration, we can’t understand what greenhouse gases are, so we’ll use the terms “carbon pollution” or “heat-trapping emissions” instead. From Lauren Morello, E&E reporter:

    “We know that our planet’s future depends on a global commitment to permanently reduce greenhouse gas pollution,” President Obama said yesterday at the U.N. Summit on Climate Change in New York, one of several references to “greenhouse gas pollution” and “carbon pollution” sprinkled throughout his speech. The president also referred to “carbon pollution” in April, during a much-publicized speech to the National Academy of Sciences, and again in June, in a press conference just before the House voted to pass a broad climate and energy bill.

    And he’s not alone. Top Obama administration science officials, including Energy Secretary Steven Chu and U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, have also adopted similar vocabulary, a subtle linguistic shift in the ongoing climate debate. In fact, during an hour long June briefing to launch a major government climate change report, a panel that included White House science adviser John Holdren and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration chief Jane Lubchenco mentioned greenhouse gases just once — instead warning about the perils of “heat-trapping gases” or “heat-trapping pollutants.”

    According to Lubchenco, that’s a conscious word choice designed to demystify the science of climate change: “The choice of that term is intended to make what’s happening more understandable and more accessible to non-technical audiences,” she told E&E in a recent interview. “You know, scientists so often use a lot of jargon without necessarily appreciating that it’s jargon. And ‘heat-trapping pollution’ calls a spade a spade, essentially. It says what it is, but in a way that is less jargony.”

    Interestingly enough, the administrations seems perfectly content with using the jargon “cap and trade.” Why not use energy tax? It’s such an easily digestible phrase that Americans will truly understand just how ‘important’ cap and trade really is. We’ll even help them get started with messaging even a teenager could understand.

    We’re going to tax your energy so high that you use less of it because energy emits heat-trapping emissions and some scientists say that will lead to global warming and catastrophic consequences for our environment. There’s only one slight problem. Because 85 percent of the energy releases carbon pollution into the atmosphere, you’ll still have to use energy – you’ll just have to pay a lot more for it.

    You’ll pay more for gasoline and electricity. The products you buy will be more expensive because they take energy to make. The energy tax will slow economic growth and destroy jobs but it’s all right because we’ll reduce those heat-trapping pollutions enough to reduce temperatures by only five hundredths of a degree in 2050 and two-tenths of a degree Celsius by 2100.

    Thanks for understanding!

    Posted in Energy [slideshow_deploy]

    14 Responses to Since Americans are Teenagers, They Won’t Understand Greenhouse Gases

    1. Chic Bowdrie, Bethle says:

      Great article, Nick. Only one suggestion. You should make our teenagers aware that no one knows if or when those temperature increases will materialize. The current cooling trend could last longer than the time these kids will be paying off this administration's additions to our national debt. Ironic isn't it?

    2. Bobbie. Jay says:

      Good one, Nick!

      As a teenager x 2t, I see an irreversible catastrophe in the very near future. The president of the United States compromising human life in the name of fiction.

      You can't stop nature, nor control it Mr. President. You can only take care of it. (and we do.) My three year old taught me that.

      Use our natural resources, Mr. President. That's why they're there.

    3. Bobbie. Jay says:

      …or should I say fossil fuels?

    4. Pingback: Global Climate Scam » Blog Archive » Since Americans are Teenagers, They Won’t Understand Greenhouse Gases

    5. Eco, PA says:

      You are so right. We need to call things by their proper name.

      Operating permits should be called what they really are: a license to poison water, land, and emit just enough air pollution to give people cancer, or kill people.

      Cars should be called by their proper name as well: mobile hazardous waste incinerators.

      Thanks for understanding.

    6. Aaron Huertas says:

      "two-tenths of a degree Celsius by 2100."

      This stat is a crock. If you accept it at face value, you have to believe that if Ameirca deploys clean, energy-efficient technology that none of that technology will ever be exported. Are you and Heritage Foundation arguing that American businesses shouldn't be allowed to export clean technology?

      Please address this question directly.


      Aaron Huertas

      Union of Concerned Scientists

    7. Nicolas Loris Nick Loris says:

      The stat comes from climatologist Chip Knappenberger, who models the CO2 reductions of Waxman-Markey using the IPCC's future emission scenarios. If you'd like to have him model alternative scenarios, feel free to contact him.

      To make the jump from that stat being bogus to being anti-free trade is a big one. In fact, I just praised President Obama for mentioning clean energy exportation in his speech to the UN General Assembly: "Technology sharing, on the other hand, has merit. Opening up global markets can act as a means to transfer clean technologies and promote economic growth that will better enable these countries to adapt to climate change, if necessary. Capping carbon dioxide and transferring money from one government to another will do nothing to raise living standards and a lot to lower them."

      Regardless, if you think technology sharing will be enough to cut global emissions enough to change the temperature, I have some magic beans to sell you. Let's take a look at China: "China's emissions grew at an average rats of 12.2% per year from 2000 to 2007 (!) (data from EIA and the figure above). If China's economy grows at a rate of 6% per year, which is less that its recent growth as well as government targets for growth of 9% to 11% per year, then the assumptions are that the Chinese economy will spontaneously decarbonize by 2.6% per year to 2020 and by 4.5% per year by 2050. If China grows at its recent historical average then the implied decarbonization of the Chiese economy is 5.6% per year to 2020 and 7.5% per year to 2050. For a point of reference, the IPCC assumes a rate of spontaneous decarbonization of about 1.5% per year, a number that we criticized as being overly optimistic in our 2008 Nature paper (PDF). And remember, I'm just talking about the BAU scenario, not those requiring actual "emissions cuts.""

      "The assumptions of spontaneous decarbonization in the Chinese emissions paths are yet another example of "magical solutions" on climate policy. With China's emissions growing at 12.2% per year during the present decade, it is inconceivable that this rate will somehow drop to 3.4% per year to 2020, much less the 1.8% or 0.9% per year implied by the low growth scenarios."

      And then there's India, which will be growing at rates like China in the next coming decades. an Indian official recently stated that “It is morally wrong for us to agree to reduce [carbon dioxide emissions] when 40 percent of Indians do not have access to electricity.”

      Even with clean energy technology, these two countries, along with others, will be growing at such rapid rates, it won't make a difference.

      I am not suggesting that anyone should be prohibited from exporting anything, but nor are we suggesting that anyone should be forced to buy anyone else’s products. To suggest that the way to establish a vibrant and competitive industry is to have it micromanaged by Washington is simply unsupportable by historical evidence. Mandates, subsidies and set asides distort the market place, promote mediocrity, stifle innovation, and ensure high prices. So to base ones projections of future U.S. exports on 1400 pages of regulations, mandates and forced economic inefficiency simply makes no sense.

      The one area where the U.S. probably could export technology that would reduce emissions is in the nuclear sector. But nothing in the bill does anything to establish the sort of free-market principles that would yield an efficient, technologically diverse and economically viable nuclear industry. And, no, we do not support loan g’tees or any other subsidy for nuclear or any other energy source.

    8. Roger S., Ma. says:

      Thanks, Nick, for your heads-up on teenager troubles along the lines of "disrespect of ancestors" in "The House of Chu". (As Mr. Chu is, apparently, either unable to explain the "serious science" underpinning "climate change" arguments in terms even the untutored "teen" could understand or, although able, may consider it beneath his dignity to do so, we need to remind him in "true teenage manner" that this house is actually ours, not his, and that if he can't or won't explain to OUR satisfaction, he will have to go — to be replaced with someone who can and will !) Lest he think that we are all as ignorant as he is arrogant, we could also remind him that we are not so untutored as to be unaware of the first corollary to Ockham's Principle, namely that "…what can be asserted without evidence may be dismissed without evidence…"!

    9. Pingback: PA Pundits - International

    10. Aaron Huertas says:

      The analysis is based on a hypothetical scenario in which ONLY the US reduces emissions. That is a completely unrealistic fantasy scenario given how much the US drives the global economy. It's a shame that organizations opposed to climate change legislation keep citing this as if it's a realistic measure of Waxman-Markey's potential impact. It is not, economically, politically or scientifically.

      Heritage is pro-free-trade. So maybe it should stop citing a study that's based on a scenario in which green technology developed in the United States is not allowed outside US borders.



    11. Bobbie Jay says:

      Eco, PA writes:

      You are so right. We need to call things by their proper name.

      Operating permits should be called what they really are: a license to poison water, land, and emit just enough air pollution to give people cancer, or kill people.

      Cars should be called by their proper name as well: mobile hazardous waste incinerators.

      Thanks for understanding.

      Eco, your emphasis is based on hearsay and rhetoric of easy to believe logic of the environ mentalists. If government really cared about the lives of individuals they could've come up with a very simple solution at NO COST to the government and actually save cost to the people. Deplete the tobacco industries where the evidence is clear, smoking causes respiratory illness and death. But government and environ mentalists are in it for the MONEY!! Tobacco sales is a huge money maker for government. People aren't dropping like flies as you seem to insinuate and human life expectancy has increased. Lay off the kool-aid and break free from the indoctrination. Think things ALL THE WAY THROUGH! This is nothing but a conspiracy of robbery in many areas of a free people. Any planet or meteor in the universe isn't heading our way because of man. Any horrible natural disaster is not caused by man. It is nature.

    12. Pingback: On Government (Again) « Pond’rings

    13. Robert White Denver says:

      When I was a teenager my science teacher taught me that the plants take up carbon dioxide and give off oxygen and the animals do the opposite. Thereby maintaining the required balance in the air we breath. I suspect this is still correct. So what is the problem? Perhaps politics has more to do with this issue than the actual science of global warming.

    14. Weisser Tee says:


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