How not to be fooled by statements on emission 'reductions' -

How not to be fooled by statements on emission ‘reductions’

Andrew Leach explains, with the help of chicken wings and beer


Jeff McIntosh/CP

Suppose you run into an old friend whom you haven’t seen for some time. You notice that he looks a little thicker than you remembered around the waist, but, since you aren’t one of those academics who shuns basic manners, you keep mum.

“How are you doing?” you say, “What’s new?”

His response leaves you shocked: “I feel great!” he tells you, “I’ve lost 20 pounds.”

Despite your best efforts, you can’t hide your scepticism.

“It’s simple, really,” he says. “On the path I was on — eating chicken wings and drinking beer almost every day — I would surely have gained 40 pounds in no time. I stuck to my plan, though, and by having wings and beer only on weekends, I gained a mere 20 pounds. Who would have thought you could drink beer, eat chicken wings, and still lose weight!”

Sounds like an absurd calculation, doesn’t it? This type of thinking, though, is the bread-and-butter of discussions about greenhouse gas policies — it’s called a reduction relative to business-as-usual. A case in point is this week’s Emissions Trends report from Environment Canada, were you can read the following:

As a result of the combined efforts of federal, provincial and territorial governments, consumers and businesses, GHG emissions in 2020 will be 734 megatonnes (Mt). This is 128 Mt lower than where emissions would be in 2020 if no action were taken to reduce GHGs since 2005. [Emphasis mine.]

There’s nothing wrong with these calculations — in fact, you could argue that they give a far better picture of the impact policies are actually having in the economy than simply looking at changes in emissions over time. The problem, however, is that the subtlety of the reduction being measured relative to a scenario where no policies are imposed often gets lost. Take Alberta Premier Alison Redford’s recent USA Today column, which states that GHG policies “allowed our province to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 32 million tons.” As  the Calgary Herald‘s Don Braid, pointed out, such excitement about Alberta’s GHG diet “hinged on a calculation of what total emissions would have been, if the province had done nothing at all.” Of course, Alberta’s emissions haven’t declined at all — they’ve increased significantly and are projected to continue to do so.

Next time someone tells you about an emissions reduction (or a weight loss regime, for that matter) that seems too good to be true, make sure you ask one clarifying question: Reduction relative to what?

*Disclosure: The author recently spent a year on secondment as the first Visiting Scholar at Environment Canada.


How not to be fooled by statements on emission ‘reductions’

  1. They should likewise tell us what the economic benefits would have been in the case that nothing had been done. People like these feel good stories, but we deserve to know what the true costs involved are also.

    • That’s generally part of a comparison of policies against business-as-usual. You’ll see that in the EC report, for example.

  2. CO2 is in any case not having the deleterious effect that alarmists have claimed it would have.

    Despite ever increasing CO2 concentrations, global atmospheric temperatures have not risen at all over more than a decade, much less as much as the fear-mongers of the AGW movement had us believing they would:

    • Irrelevant.

      • In an article dedicated to expensive policies for reducing CO2 emissions, the validity of the underlying pretext for even having such nonsense is highly relevant.

        • The article is not dedicated to that. Read it.

      • The fact that the world isn’t warming is irrelevant to discussion of global warming? Do you ever wonder why the world isn’t warming or is that irrelevant as well to Environment Canada snake oil salesmen?

        • Climate science is highly relevant to designing appropriate GHG policies – it’s just not relevant to this post about how you measure changes in GHG emissions induced by policies.

      • Irrelevant? The link btwn CO2 and rising temperatures IS THE REASON that carbon trading exists. If that linkage is NOT causal or weak, the whole system for pricing and trading Carbon will be scrapped.

        • It might be the reason for the policies, but it’s irrelevant to the article above.

      • If the article were about the social benefits associated with GHG reductions in Canada, or the social costs of GHG emissions, it would be relevant. That’s not what the article is about – it’s about how “reductions” are measured.

        • Leach- Why measure the reductionof something you don’t need to reduce in the first place? Why measure something you don’t need to measure?
          Look, the political left in this country reacted with visceral rage at the NRA stepping in to the gun control debate, reminding us that foreign activists have no place in domestic policy making. I expect the same outrage from the left when outside agencies such as the UN step in to try and influence domestic policy.
          Ooops. My bad. I live in the real world and of course I expect that the left will welcome with open arms UN, or the EU, or Barack Obama’s interference in Canadian domestic policy, as it’s well known they would have the best interest of ALL Canadians at heart, unlike the NRA….

      • You haven’t figured out that the measures themselves are what’s irrelevant.

        • If I tell you that a diet is going to help you lose weight, the definition of weight loss is pretty relevant to my claim. Whether or not weight loss is healthy for you is secondary.

          • Why would you want to lose weight if health were irrelevant to weight?

          • It’s a separate conversation.

          • There would be no conversation without the underlying one.

            Everything is connected, including articles like this that prey upon the assumptions of the unwary that AGHGs be important.

          • Has the UN confirmed that income is bad for us?

          • The UN seems to think so, and seems to think that our income should be removed from us as rapidly as possible.

  3. The chicken eatin’, beer drinkin’ dude sounds a lot like economists who claim we are living with austerity budgets while actual government spending and debt increase year after year. I wonder how large Prof Gordon is – does he need to lose a few pounds?

  4. I wouldn’t say that the “subtlety” of the reduction getting measured gets lost.
    I’d say its decimated through textbook manipulative political communication.
    Nothing’s “lost” there. It’s intentionally framed as a “policy success”,
    when really the broader story is one of profound failure to prepare for a rapidly approaching carbon-constrained, climate changed future. And it’s all in service of a
    fairly obvious political aim – to persuade audiences that action already has
    being taken in a reasonable and responsible manner so that political
    capital can be raised to approve infrastructure for further development
    of the oil sands. Perhaps a small point of semantics, but I’m feeling a bit huffed this morning. Many thanks for your insight.

    • Baselines matter – a reduction relative to business-as-usual tells you what the policies have actually done, unlike a reduction relative to a baseline year, which includes reductions not related to the policies themselves.

      • Thanks for the reply. I agree it’s certainly legitimate point on its own
        — the reduction relative to BAU. But touting it in a USA Today piece
        in the current political
        context around Keystone aims to create a view towards the overall
        provincial policy picture as
        something that it’s not: responsible and reasonable. And that’s willful political maneuvering
        and a fairly obvious point. It’s not just a subtlety that’s lost in the

    • As more and more years pass without any sign of the globe actually warming, the chances for your ‘carbon-constrained’ dystopian future are growing dimmer.

      As more and more politicians realize the absurd folly of degrading our economies on the barren altar of carbon strangulation, more and more of them are going to start backing away from the panic-stricken policies that have been foisted upon us by extremely vocal special interest groups.

      Australia’s government is removing their carbon tax, for example, the Canadian government has extricated us from the Kyoto Accord, Germany is building more coal fired power stations after discovering that wind and solar cannot do the job.

      • Glynn Mhor? Is that you? Or is it just a reflection of a reflection of a reflection… Can we meet somewhere or are you more interested in staying who you are?

        • Uh, hard to say without knowing who YOU are…

          You could send an email to, my alter ego mail address…

  5. That reminds me. I’m giving up daily marathons this Lent. Last year, I gave up chocolate cake with maraschino cherries on the icing (I just substituted ice cream for the cherries).

    Business as usual.

  6. IOWs it’s better then nothing then? But if you keep on gaining weight anyway and are threatening to break the scales at some point, just a bit further down the road, in addition to which you are continuing to stock the fridge with more weekend goodies and ignoring doctors orders to not exceed a certain weight- just what have you achieved?

    Surely the pertinent point is that emissions are still rising. It’s a delaying tactic at best, and one that continues to allow you to delay or ignore a better health regime at worst. To me it’s just cynical sematics, classic political bafflegab. A scientist would be well advised not to touch it with a ten foot barge pole if he or she valued their credibility.

    • The ‘pertinent point’ is that emissions are not particularly relevant to the climate.

      As global temperatures fail to live up to the alarming predictions of the CAGW movement, it is becoming ever clearer that CO2 emissions are not a valid measure of environmental virtue.

      • I’m not interested in your tedious talking point. You simply aren’t qualified to make such an unequivocal judgement.

          • Oddly enough the little I have heard from actual climate scientists all seem to offer other possible explanations
            Doesn’t it bother you that when the models and data all pointed to bad news you thought the data wrong, now conveniently enough you’re quite happy with the data?
            I’ll reserve judgement until more data comes in thanks.

          • The data are the data.

            And they never did match the models.

            From 1880-1910 the models (when backcast that far) show slow warming as CO2 increased throughout that time, then continued slow warming from 1910-1940, more warming from 1940-1970, more rapid warming from 1970-2000, and yet more rapid warming thereafter.

            But the data show cooling from 1880-1910, warming at nearly twice the modelled rate from 1910-1940, cooling again until the 1970s, finally match the observations until about 2000, and then as you know fail thereafter.

            The models do not take into account the obvious thirty year alternance in the data between warming and cooling, and have been tuned and selected to do an exponential curve fit under the assumption that the upward leg of the cycle from 1970-2000 actually represented a departure from the cycle.

            And that’s been the case ever since I became interested in the subject.

            If well over a century of data fails to convince you the models are failing, you’ll not survive to be able to confirm the reality.

          • The data are the data…Well, that’s a convincing argument. You still need the appropriate skill set to interpret it. I’m pretty sure you’re at best a talented amateur. Talented amateurs are the bane of the Internet.

          • When the predictions of the hypotheses do not match the data, the hypotheses are simply wrong.

            I’ve spent my active career involved with modelling a much simpler system, that of sound waves moving through rock, and even there we get it wrong more often than we would like.

            The Emperor whose new clothes were admired by all the Imperial Clothiers, the Royal Guild of Weavers, the Household Dressers, and all the other accredited experts was confounded when a mere child pointed out that His regal PP was showing.

            I stand as that child, pointing to the obvious.

            The AGW Emperor’s PP has been in evidence for too long now, and it’s high time the offending Member were tucked back in.

          • You’re completely right of course. How is that so many of the worlds leading CC researchers read the data incorrectly and you didn’t?

          • That’s for you to try to figure out, if that sort of irrelevancy interests you. I can give you a start with some of the ulterior motives, though:

            1- For researchers, once a paradigm becomes popular and dominant, it is career limiting to oppose it.

            2- If the climate is presented as something about which governments can make policies, then government money will flow for research. If climate is something that we cannot affect, funding is not going to be as forthcoming.

            3- Plus of course it gives researchers a good feeling to imagine that they’re working to ‘save the world’ instead of, say, developing a new scent for feminine hygiene products.

            4- Environmentalists see carbon emission control as a means to reduce real pollutants like NOx, SO2, Hg, etc. as a side effect.

            5- Luddites see carbon strangulation as a way of dismantling the industrial economies to force everyone to a much reduced subsistence.

            6- ‘Personal isolationists’ try to use AGW as a way to eliminate big utility companies, with power generated at home from wind, solar, or even car batteries, and even sold to the local grid at retail (or higher) rates.

            7- EU trade isolationists see carbon regulation as a way of increasing the energy cost, and thus decreasing the competitiveness, of North American economies _vis a vis_ EU ones.

            8- Opportunities to use carbon emissions as pretexts to block or heavily tariff imports abound, thus degrading international trade even further.

            9- Local trade isolationists like the idea of overseas products becoming more expensive, and if they can’t do that by punitive tariffs and quotas, they hope to do so by artificially driving up shipping costs.


          • (continued)

            10- Various people see Kyoto-type agreements as a way of transferring wealth from developed economies to lesser ones, as the one-time Canadian Liberal Party cabinet minister Stewart once claimed.

            11- Some also envision carbon strangulation as a pretext for involving governments deeply into the economy, via direct and indirect subsidies for energy alternatives that can claim to be ‘green’. Naturally, those who are involved and invested in such industries have their own greed factor.

            12- Believers in Big Government also love the idea of sending governments even more of our money under any pretext, and use carbon taxes as a way to transfer even more money to people in lower income levels.

            13- Some politicians see taking ‘the west’ off oil as a means of removing the dependence the US in particular has on politically uncertain sources.

            14- Other politicans see ‘cap & trade’ or other quota management as a way to direct corruption to their buddies and relatives.

            15- Nuclear energy proponents see carbon strangulation as a way to promote nuclear power.

            16- Some people imagine that energy cost reductions will magically pay for, and even squeeze profit from, expensive carbon control technologies whose payback times are actually measured (when they aren’t just dead costs) in decades.

            17- Opportunistic “businessmen” see the panic of the masses as an opportunity to solicit donations to so-called “non-profit” organizations or to operate carbon credit companies in order to enrich themselves financially.

            18- Financial trading corporations like Goldman Sachs see carbon trading as an opportunity to generate a new financial bubble out of an inexistant commodity (carbon credits) with which to justify huge profits and staggering executive bonuses.

            19- In politics it is generally held far more important to be consistent than it is to be right. Lies and errors about warming are thus propagated further, instead of being squelched, in order to bolster the political optics.

            20- Some people propose deliberately crushing economic growth to be an improvement over what they think will happen if we let growth proceed naturally.

            21- The UN sees carbon credits as an opportunity to create a tax base for itself and a steady income.

            22- And there are some who are actually sincere, who desperately want to believe that they can by sacrificing (or by forcing the rest of us to sacrifice) contribute to saving the world. But just because you make a sacrifice to superstition doesn’t mean that your AGW deity is going to come through for you.

          • I suggest you get a good basic primer on Cognitive dissonance. Here’s a good place to start.

            Mistakes were made[but not by me]

            Why we justify foolish beliefs, Bad decisions, and hurtful acts

            Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson[ one of the giants of the theory]

            Of course the theory applies to researchers too, but to suggest all your 9 rationalizations somehow magically find a nexus at the level of pure scientific research aimed at CC seems delusional and self serving, at least to me.[ oddly enough self interest and delusion fuel CD]

          • 21, actually (see below), and they include the more explicitly political side as well as that of the cult followers.

            And I really hope you consider yourself why you keep trying to justify, without apparent examination, your belief in catastrophic anthropogenic global warming.

          • Partly because the scientists are in the main out there trying their best to come with answers that make sense and jive with the data. While far too many skeptics like you do nothing beyond carp from the sidelines and attempt to back seat drive, even when you don’t have a license. When you come up with some original research i’ll be happy to look at it.

          • The ones that are ‘trying their best’ are not the ones proclaiming catastrophism, carbon strangulation, and other such excesses.

          • How would you know?

          • Look into it. All of it.

            You’re bright enough to be able to compare the predictions with the actual results.

          • Look, i’ll be brutally honest. If i were really interested in the actual cutting edge science, or rather you were. we would not now be here talking to one another. We would presumably be on some blog disputing this stuff with someone like Andrew Weaver for one.

          • If you were really interested you would already have looked at the science.

            You don’t need to fall back on talking heads, you know. You have a brain: use it.

          • Once again, in what way are you qualified to critique the work of someone one that IPCC panel? I have a feeling all you really do in the end is listen to the talking heads on the other side, and not much else.
            So, you and i can have an opinion, but that’s all it is, an opinion, which is worth precisely what you put into it. But is still only an opinion.

          • Look at the observations. Compare them with the predictions. Look at the Science, in other words, and not the babble.

            I’m not suggesting I know the real answer, but what is painfully obvious is that the currently popular “CO2 is a catastrophe” answer is wrong.

            If CO2 were as potent a driver of temperature as has been claimed for it, there is no way that we’d be seeing over a decade of temperature stagnation as CO2 continues to rise.


            Hadley temperatures:

            NASA temperatures:

            NOAA temperatures:

            UAH satellite data:

            CO2 concentrations:

            Not a talking head in that lot; only the best results of the science to compare with the not-so-good results of the assumptions and theorizing going into the models.

          • Even i know Roy Spencer is a confirmed denier.

            Then tell me why at the time of the latest release the main author was at pains to point out the warming oceans might hold the answer to that riddle? He didn’t say he could prove it, just as you can’t disprove it.
            You’re right to be skeptical of those who say the facts are all in and the debate settled finally. Just as i am i to be highly skeptical of your certainty that the data leads to the obvious conclusion that the game is up. Sorry, but i reserve the right to be as skeptical of your certainty as you are of the scientific consensus on AGW.

          • Spencer maintains the satellite datasets at the UAH. Just as Jones maintains the Hadley Centre dataset. That’s the only reason the link is there.

            As to the deep oceans, for them to be warming without the surface and atmosphere warming does absolutely nothing to help the assumptions and theorizings, since that was not predicted either.

            The models are wrong no matter how anyone might want to look at the available data.

          • That’s just one opinion. I think i’ll hear that one right from the horses mouth before i accept it as empirical in any way thanks.

          • The temperature datasets to which I’ve linked ARE from the very horse’s mouths.

            As is the link to the predictions of the IPCC.

          • No time to look yet. And when I do, what then? I’m simply not equipped to draw any truly informed conclusion – which has been my point all along. You aren’t either, is my best guess.

          • You are not called upon to draw a conclusion of any complexity.

            The differences are clear and obvious.

            Forget the politicking, and look at things from a science perspective.

            In Science (real Science of the Scientific Method variety) theories and hypotheses make predictions, which are tested against observations.

            The persistent failures of the AGW assumptions and theorizing mean that the underlying paradigm needs to be thoroughly re-examined and reworked.

            What is keeping it going must be politics, because the science support for AGW is collapsing.

    • Think of it as a control – your base case model run is your control, while your policy case is your treatment. If you don’t have the control, it’s hard to separate the placebo effects from the real thing.

      • Thx for replying Mr leach. I’ll have to try and puzzle that one out being the absolute layman I am.
        My analogy didn’t seem to grab you. We’re in a bathtub then and the water is rising more slowly then because we’ve turned the taps down a bit. But the IPCC says the water has to start declining if we aren’t to drown. Is it your contention that improvements in the way we moderate the flow of water into the tub will ever make it recede?
        The premiers contention that emissions have declined by 32mts is pure bafflegab. If she had said we were slated to be at almost 100, but we got it down 30% when we should have got it down at a % that at least matched the growth rate, she would have something to brag about.
        She might have the decency at least to point out that was compared to doing nothing at all.

        • Of course, GHGs impacts are going to result from actual emissions, and the atmospheric impact won’t change regardless of what emissions might have been. That’s obvious. However, if you want to look at your policies and what they might accomplish, you want to look relative to what the world might be without those policies in place. For example, if you look at two countries, one where emissions are growing, and one where they are flat, you might think that the second one has stronger GHG policies. It might be exactly the opposite, and you’d be able to tell by looking at a model of both economies with and without GHG policies in place.

          • Thx again. I believe I have your point now. Its useful as a gauge of relative progress. But it seems to me that sounds better coming from you then from a politician who’s trying to sell something that’s controversial right now.
            Putting it out there as a reduction of 32MT without context is dishonest.

          • Indeed. In contrast to the doubt and uncertainty surrounding the CAGW scare, we KNOW for sure and certain that the Earth will eventually be hit by a major asteroid or comet at some point.

            And we need to put a lot more money into first finding the Earth-crossing bodies, as well as research into how we would nudge their orbits enough to turn a hit into a near miss.

            But investment in this real risk area is trivial thus far.

  7. The concern is not just climate change it is the overall pollutants that are exhausted into our atmosphere. We live in a semi hermetic container on earth and whether it’s co2 or industrial pollution it’s impossible not to have a critical impact on the planet. We need to focus on sustainability instead of this insatiable need for growth.

    • We should focus on reducing real pollutants instead of squandering staggering amounts of money trying to carbon-strangle our economies.

  8. Again, we have a case where the journalist fails to acknowledge the conflicting demands of the left; chiefly the incessant demands for more and more programs supported by tax dollars right alongside the incessant demands for restrictions on industries which in turn destroys the jobs that pay the taxes.
    You can’t have both, which is exactly why the climate change debate is a moot point. You can’t insist on greater reliance on wind and solar, which drive up the costs of energy and reduce employment, employment growth, and tax revenue growth. You can’t layer regulatory body upon regulatory body and expect an industry to survive. Nor can you expect that the regulators, having regulated an industry into the dustbin of history to get to keep their jobs.
    We’re asked to believe all of these stories of calamitous harm, including wild-eyed stories claiming that tens of thousands of Canadians die annually from air pollution even though we’re living longer and healthier than ever before, based upon the testimony of activist groups that have a history of lying to support their interventionist agenda. Sorry, but that dog don’t don’t hunt.
    The worst of it is that we citizens continue to look to a curiously incurious journalistic community to help us separate the wheat from the chaff.
    Leach, et al, DO BETTER!
    (I’ll give you a case in point to ponder- For years, journalists have parroted the party line that cigarettes cost the health care system more than they generated in tax revenue. This in spite of the fact that the tax take on cigs has long been greater than the revenue shared by the tobacco growers, the processors, the tobacco companies, the ad agencies, the transportation companies, and the retailers COMBINED. This also in spite of the fact that not every smoker, by a long shot, dies from smoking related illness or spends long stretches of time in the hospital at end of life. Meanwhile, all smokers contribute inordinately to the tax base, usually for decades. Just on that basis, the claim that smoking was not merely a health care problem but a fiscal one as well was quite apparently suspect. The proof of the facetiousness of that claim has come in the form of a growing need to replace shrinking tobacco tax revenue with other sources, yet there are more mating pairs of Bigfoot in Clearwater County than Canadian journalists who have examined this curious inconsistency. The fact that it would require a questioning of nanny-state dogmatic principle might be a reason…)

    • Did you read the article?

      • I did, and my take on it is that you feel we should question governments when they trumpet the results of this or that regulation that they have implemented in order to keep us from running with scissors. My beef is that YOU GUYS will repeat the bleatings of the regulatory obsessive enemies of commerce and capitalism almost always without question.
        YOU GUYS don’t do a good enough job questioning the Michael Mann’s and the Elizabeth May’s and the David Suzuki’s of the world when they make doomsday scenario predictions that can’t be backed up when their climate models are tested against historical records, and then you publish an article reminding us to take certain governmental pronouncements on emissions reductions with a rather large lump of salt. Then you wonder why we readers are increasingly mindful of the lib-left tendencies of the journalistic class.
        We grow increasingly aware of the fact that many of you are striving to be awarded the Walter Duranty Prize for Journalistic Excellence.
        Look, all I’m asking is that YOU GUYS do a little more homework when the political left is admonishing and advocating for this or that expansion of state powers over us lacing up the Nike’s whilst handling sharp bladed tools, and be more open and honest about costs and downsides.

        • Snort! “There you go again.” As Ronnie memorably said.
          Using the royal we all over the place. Just speak for yourself please. I’m pretty sure your views are those of a significant minority of Canadian, significant but still a minority.
          Bleating about media bias is code for…Waugh!!!! Why won’t you just print what I think or feel is self evidently right. Why are we having this debate at all, it’s just too expensive?

          • It is becoming way too expensive to sustain the panic-stricken carbon strangulation policies into which our politicians have been stampeded by special interest groups.

            The sooner reality sets in at the political level the less damage will have been inflicted on the suffering taxpayers and ratepayers.

            Another five years, or perhaps ten (depending on the rate of cooling we see) will convince even the slowest of politicians of their folly.

          • And if you’re wrong and we do little or nothing to get a handle on this we will have blown another ten years. Your position in irresponsible in the extreme. The precautionary principle ought to apply here. In fact it does to a degree, which is why even guys like Harper aren’t listening to guys like you.
            Circumstantial though the evidence yet may be, I’ll pay attention to what’s happening in my own backyard in Calgary, Toronto and Colorado and California.
            I don’t want my kid to be overburdened by public debt either, but I want her and her children to have a life as good as mine.
            Excuse me if I defer a tad to the real experts. Amateurs like you are valuable as a check, but in other ways a royal pain.

          • “And if you’re wrong…”

            Wrong about what? I’m certainly not wrong about CO2 having been grossly overblown. The data tell us that much when compared with the models.

            If there’s a precautionary principle to be applied, it’s that we should not go out of our way to cripple our economies without any good reason to do so.

            Efficiency is one thing, reuse, reclamation, conservation, reduction of waste, are all good things in and of themselves. They do not need some CO2 panic to justify themselves.

            But paying, as in Ontario’s example, 80 times more for solar power than it is worth as wholesale, borders on the criminal.

            BTW, you are capable of thinking for yourself rather than just blindly following whoever seems to be an ‘expert’ by popular opinion.

          • You implied CC shouldn’t be a priority for our elected officials, i submit the evidence, though not yet conclusive , says it is. If it’s left up to folks like you we’d abandon even any pretense of trying to regulate GHGs, or move away from a carbon heavy economy. Admit it, if it were up to you, drill baby drill would be your motto.

          • Well exactly.

            There’s no value, no return on investment, no payback, in squandering lavish amounts of money on GHGs, especially since all the billions of dollars and euros that have already been pissed away have not detectably changed the rate of increase in CO2 concentration, much less decreased it in real terms.


          • That i believe is check mate my friend. Well played. Wasn’t sure if i could ever box you in, but you just did it to yourself there.
            This is A.Leach’s blog remember. His premise was that measuring reductions didn’t have to be absolute, they could be relative. In relative terms GHGs are not, even globally, at a point they would be if we had done absolutely nothing. Although if you mean by real terms, absolute terms you’re right as far as i can tell. Still, you can collect your booby prize at the door.
            If we had done nothing, we most certainly would be even worse off. The unknown factor is if we are near a tipping point it may not matter that much.As it is we don’t know if that is something the IPCC may have overstated.
            edit:…even worse off in terms of GHG in the atmosphere.

          • Your hubris astounds.

            How would we be ‘worse off’?

            More GHGs do not create a measurable problem, and not even an increase in temperatures.

          • Now you’re being idiotic. Your assertion that GHG presents no measurable problem is not proven at all. In fact the scientific consensus says the opposite.
            This is becoming a circular argument. Thanks for the joust.

          • Heh heh heh… “Consensus” says nothing about the matter. “Consensus” has no meaning, except as a pretext for the argumentum ad verecundiam and argumentum ad populum fallacies.

            The measurements of the supposed ‘problem’ are showing nothing at all is happening with the temperatures, meaning GHGs are of very limited effect, and it’s a further leap of pure faith to claim that changes of temperature in either direction would be a problem.

            BTW, the only one ‘circling’ here is you, by constantly bringing up rhetorical fallacies instead of making reference to the realities.

          • Sorry, but wrong inference. The one “we” I’m referring to is Leach’s readership. The other “we” I am referring to is the growing number of media consumers who, at the very least, check for bias when assessing the veracity of any news or opinion piece.
            Look, Im a hard core car guy. A long time ago, I realized that many mainstream media articles about subjects pertaining to automotive emissions, fuel economy, and safety were very, very often so factually incorrect as to be near fiction. They gave factuality to the conjecture of Washington lawyers who were writing automotive engineering law, and described as fantasy the engineering hurdles that the automakers were pointing out that the feds were putting in place.
            Right now, if you went out to buy a new $25,000 car, a full third of that price is the cost of meeting a slew of often conflicting regulatory hurdles. Meeting new pedestrian impact standards means compromisng aerodynamics and weight. Compormising aerodynamics and weight means compromising fuel economy and emissions. Meeting the compromises on economy and emissions means increasing the cost. I could go on at length, but the bottom line is that the auto industry has been forced to chase it’s own tail around the regualtory mulberry tree for decades, at an incalculably vast socio-economic cost.
            When Reagan repealed (delayed, actually) the onset of a slew of regulatory hurdles in the 1980’s, emissions still dropped, fuel economy still increased, and improvements in motor vehicle safety still occurred. It simply happened at a rate that could be sustained by the engineering. (Funny how sustainability in the private sector and the public sector have vastly different meanings…). But, when we have lawyers making engineering law, it all goes for crap. (Would hire a midwife to build a bridge, or an engineer? Ergo, would you hire a lawyer to make automotive engineering law, or an engineer?)
            This is a rather long way of explaining that, if I read a news article that gets a lot of the facts all f—ed up, I don’t turn the page and expect that the next news article got it right. And that is the reason that, when news articles about GHG fail to address the vast inconsistencies between the IPCC and the published data of their own research centers, I put global warming right up there with Bigfoot and UFO’s. Intriguing, but not worth spending MY money on.

          • I see the deniers are out in full force.

          • Call names all you want, but… When the AGW activists can’t explain how they got the last twenty years wrong (climate predictions of the early 1990’s put us at a substantially higer temp by now than we are actually at), why would we believe they will be right about the next 20?
            Then we have to examine the fact that the global average temp has risen by .87 degrees since the end of the medieval Little Ice Age, again according to the Hadley CRU, etc (i.e the IPCC data base) you have to have an open mind to the fact that AGW may actually not exist at all. Correlation is not necessary causation defintitely applies here.
            You also have to remember that vast swaths of those promoting the theory of AGW have far more individually at stake, both financially and professionally than virtually any one individual who is leading the charge to question the AGW movement.