Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Myth of U.S. Carbon Reduction - And Another Sign of National Insanity

Let us confront the fact that reality is a cruel taskmistress. While lowly humans in their hubris might fool her - and other humans - part of the time, they cannot do it all of the time. Eventually reality bursts out from the PR or propaganda shadows, then ordinary citizens suddenly see things for what they are and false claims are often exposed. The more such reality hiding games are played by a nation, the more it runs the risk of insanity - simply because insane people or nations are not governed by reality, which then comes back to exact revenge.

The Iraq invasion which was hailed as necessary - was a case in point - as no WMD were ever found, despite the Foxites (the epitome of insane freaks) claiming they're still there. In the end, when reality emerged, we learned it was an Iraqi rodent nicknamed ''curveball" (GOOGLE!) who made the whole thing up to try to gain some future advantage with the U.S. occupiers. And the cost exacted? More than $1.3 trillion in added debt, 4400 U.S. lives lost as well as 600,000 Iraqis.

Reality also burst onto the scene with the release of the Senate's CIA Torture report which anyone with the interest and a grain of sense can access online. You can now read what these state-sponsored sadists did in our name, and you can go ahead and decide if it is torture or not (again, a good test for sanity and sound judgment).

Finally, reality most recently infiltrated the U.S. entertainment industry as actual theater chains balked at exhibiting a foolish, inflammatory flick - claimed as comedy- but which in fact could be called neither art nor comedy by any stretch of a rational mentality or perspective. It was the basest filth, masquerading as film art, produced by two morons who really showed the total sterility of the nation's film product - that this is the best they could come up with to show at Christmas, 2014. (And we won't even go into the 'Dumb and Dumber' movies which encapsulate the low grade, common denominator appeal for too many in this country.)

But the reality adjustment I am writing about here in this post concerns the U.S. effort to fool everyone into believing we are really on the way to helping the planet via greater fuel efficiency and positive carbon reduction.  Thus, being led to believe that somehow carbon reduction, CO2 gas emission reduction is hardly a zero sum game - such that if we do it here we do it for the whole planet.

According to an AP report appearing in The Denver Post ('U.S. Exports Pollution, Offsets Advances' Dec. 9, p. 15A) it's all a royal lie. Citing the Associated Press investigation, the Post observes:

"Under President Barack Obama, the U.S. has reduced more carbon pollution from any other nation, about 475 million tons between 2008 and 2013, according to U.S. Depth. Of Energy data.

Yet the U.S. is sending more (high carbon) fuel than ever to other parts of the world, where efforts to reduce resulting pollution are just getting underway- if advancing at all. "

The report then goes on to note these U.S. exports used abroad have actually "released roughly one billion tons of carbon pollution into the atmosphere".

In other words, doing the math, there is a negative offset of:

1 billion - 475 million = 525 million tons

IN other words, the U.S. climate -energy gamesmanship has led to an additional 525 million tons of carbon released in the atmosphere during the same period of the U.S. claimed reduction. Zero sum game anyone? Anyone?

Look, it is clear that based on reality - the reality we all inhabit one planet which is affected by what any given part does - that this sort of chicanery cannot work, is not sustainable. It definitely bodes ill for our world, if we somehow think we can fob our filthiest products off on other nations then beat our breasts claiming energy efficiency and moral superiority. No, this way madness lies, because again, it rejects reality. Look at any psychotic, what is his defining attribute? It is the detachment from reality! So also Chris Hedges has pointed out for whole nations (like ours)  in his book Empire of Illusion.

In addition, PR and lies about the effects are also part of the ongoing national madness, the inability to reason or the belief that (as the Bushies tried to make us believe) "we create reality". No you don't and again, when that task mistress enters we find out- as you do - the hard way.  In a similar way, according to the Post report, it is unacceptable for the White House to claim "exports do not add more carbon to the atmosphere because they replace fuel that would come from someplace else"

A neat turn of phrase, but too cute by half. First, it is coming from us - our worst mess, and degraded fuels, so one cannot assume the same cheap degraded fuels (in the same amounts) would necessarily be purchased from other sources. Second, as other experts have noted, when energy is plentiful and cheap then demand increases across the board so you cannot claim that demand for your product is somehow - on balance- to be taken off any market reckoning.

Third, one cannot claim a carbon rectitude in one's own nation if the most degraded fuel is offloaded elsewhere so it can't be reckoned into your own mix. That would be like me claiming my sump pump is finally working - after I offloaded 4 extra tons of crap into my neighbor's yard to ease the burden.

Again, a genuine zero sum game cannot be made to look like a non-zero sum game if we are serious about moving to lower carbon deposition. And let's bear in mind there is a sense of urgency here to be realistic and to level with the people.

A new study published in the journal Environment Research Letters posits that climate change could have a devastating effect on the world’s food supply well within (most of) our lifespans. According to the report, our food supply could be cut by 18 percent by the year 2050–that’s only 35 years from now.
In a statement, the study’s co-author Michael Obersteiner said that water “may become dramatically scarcer much earlier than previously thought.”
A large part of the problem will be managing water supply, write the study’s authors. Our current irrigation infrastructure is struggling to deal with changing weather patterns, so significant investments in expanding and strengthening that infrastructure will have to be made.

The prediction is a significant increase in loss from previous studies, one of which anticipated a 2.3 percent drop in the food supply by the same year.

If climate change is managed correctly, food production could even rise 3 percent by 2050, the study said, as a higher concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has a fertilizing effect on plants. But this demands a grounding in reality, as opposed to confecting ever more lies, PR and disinformation.. As long as we are allied with make believe, we will not achieve what is needed to avoid a food as well as greenhouse warming disaster.

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