Why Does Obama Want to Reduce CO2 Emissions?

As his policies, foreign and domestic, are collapsing on pretty much every front, President Obama has increasingly sought refuge in talk about global warming. He wants the U.S. to reduce its emissions of carbon dioxide, and the EPA has done its best to bring this about via increasingly stringent regulations on coal-fired power plants. The Democrats wanted to enact cap-and-trade, but couldn’t get it through Congress, so Obama is doing the best he can through administrative action. Simultaneously, the administration has poured billions of dollars into specious “green” energy projects, many of which can’t be kept alive even with lavish subsidies, although their developers always walk away with their pockets full.

But why? Even if we assume that the climateers’ bogus models reflect scientific reality rather than left-wing politics–an assumption that is plainly contrary to fact–does any plausible reduction in American CO2 emissions make any difference?

The answer is: no, it doesn’t. If the climate alarmists’ models are correct, then the Obama administration’s efforts to reduce CO2 emissions are pointless.

Ed Hoskins explains at Watts Up With That?:

The USA, simply by exploiting shale gas for electricity generation, has already reduced its CO2 emissions by some 9.5% since 2005. That alone has already had more CO2 emission reduction effect than the entire Kyoto protocol.

But the US’s emissions reductions are irrelevant. These two charts tell the story. First, a simple comparison of CO2 emissions from developed and underdeveloped countries:


Do India, China et al. have any interest in keeping their citizens in poverty to make the climateers happy? No. As Hoskins points out, 25% of India’s population still has no access to electric power. CO2 production in the underdeveloped world will continue to skyrocket, and there is nothing we can do about it.

This chart shows how China’s CO2 emission has eclipsed that of the U.S., as well as Europe, Japan, and so on. Any marginal reduction that the U.S. might achieve, short of going out of existence entirely (as some liberals might prefer for other reasons), simply won’t matter:


Hoskins notes Bjorn Lomborg’s calculation that if the climateers’ disaster scenarios are correct, then Germany’s investment of $100 billion in solar power schemes “can only reduce the onset of Global Warming by a matter of about 37 hours by the year 2100.” A similar calculation would show the futility of the Obama administration’s “green” initiatives.

So what’s the point? I don’t have a high opinion of President Obama’s abilities, but he isn’t a complete idiot. So I assume he understands that his war on CO2, and his provision of billions of dollars in subsidies to “green” energy, won’t make any perceptible difference to the Earth’s climate, if you assume the alarmists’ models are correct. So why does he do it? I think there are two reasons.

First, the Left has made an enormous investment in promoting misinformation about global warming. You can’t get through elementary school in the U.S. without being hectored about your family’s carbon footprint. (“I will never live in a house bigger than John Edwards’,” my then-third-grade daughter wrote in response to a question about what she, personally, intended to do to change the Earth’s climate.) Those millions of misinformed people are now voters, and Obama is secure in the knowledge that the newspapers and television networks haven’t done anything to educate them.

Second, to the Obama administration, the fact that “green” energy cannot survive without government subsidies and mandates isn’t a bug, it’s a feature. It allows the Democrats to slide billions of dollars to their cronies, like Tom Steyer, the left-wing billionaire who is now the number one financial supporter of the Democratic Party. Steyer made his first fortune by developing coal projects, and is making his second fortune as a Democratic Party crony, developing uneconomic but heavily subsidized “green” energy projects. So the war on coal and other sources of CO2, while it can’t have any impact at all on the climate, has turned into a funding mechanism for the Democratic Party.

Next time someone produces a dictionary and is looking for a definition of the word “cynic,” all he needs is a picture of Barack Obama.

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