Why Isn't Gore Hounding Olympic Torch?
Tibetan protesters aren’t the only ones who ought to be dogging the
Olympic torch relay. When Al Gore received his Nobel Peace prize he
said that global warming is a "moral and spiritual challenge to all of
Ted Turner recently told PBS’ Charlie Rose that if steps aren’t
taken to control global warming, "in 30 or 40 years … most of the
people will have died and the rest of us will be cannibals.
Civilization will have broken down. The few people left will be living
in a failed state — like Somalia or Sudan — and living conditions will
And the U.N. deputy high commissioner for human rights says, "Global
warming and extreme weather conditions may have calamitous consequences
for the human rights of millions of people."
But despite their melodramatic rhetoric — and the just-reported news
that the Olympic torch relay will release more than 11 million pounds
of carbon dioxide, equivalent to the annual emissions from more than
550 SUVs — you won’t see Al, Ted or anyone from the U.N. trying to
tackle an Olympic torch bearer even though China easily — and
unapologetically — wins the gold medal for carbon dioxide emissions and
will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
The Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency last year reported
that China became the No. 1 CO2-emitting country in 2006, blowing past
the U.S. emissions level by a whopping 8 percent. The U.N.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had projected that China
wouldn’t surpass the U.S. in CO2 emissions until 2020.
Now a new study from researchers at the University of
California-Berkeley not only has verified the NEAA report but says that
China’s emissions are growing at a rate of 11 percent — two to four
times the rate projected by the IPCC.
It seems that the IPCC is as bad at forecasting CO2 emissions growth as it is at forecasting global temperature change.
The Berkeley researchers attribute the IPCC’s shortcomings to
reliance on obsolete data that are almost a decade old. Since then,
they say, "China’s economic and technological growth has accelerated
Adding insult to injury, the Berkeley researchers point out that
while the emissions from countries that signed the Kyoto Protocol will
be a cumulative 116 million metric tons lower by 2010 than they would
have been without any agreement, China’s emissions will have increased
by 600 million metric tons over that same period.
Now that’s what I call a carbon offset.
It’s no surprise that Kyoto signatories in the European Union are
starting to wonder why they struggle to meet their emissions
obligations without wrecking their economies, while China unabashedly
emits CO2 like there’s no tomorrow.
While burning coal for electricity, a primary source of manmade CO2
emissions, is rapidly becoming a politically incorrect energy source,
it seems China can’t get enough of it. In 2006-2007, China added
186,000 megawatts of coal-fueled electrical generation capacity,
equivalent to twice the entire electricity grid of the United Kingdom.
Acquiring sufficient coal for its ever-increasing power needs turned
China in 2007 into a net importer of coal for the first time, helping
to more than double the price of coal over the last year.
Don’t look to China to save the West from "manmade" global warming —
whether real or imagined. In vowing not to allow international action
on climate change to interfere with its economic development, a Chinese
foreign ministry spokesman told the Financial Times in early 2007 that
"developed countries bear an unshirkable responsibility" for causing
The Chinese attitude, as well as that of India, which is verging on
becoming the third-largest CO2 emitter, is that 95 percent of worldwide
CO2 emissions since the Industrial Revolution came from the West, so
global warming is the West’s problem.
"Both Beijing and New Delhi fear that binding emission caps that
limit energy use could threaten future economic development — and
condemn many of their people to perpetual poverty," the Financial Times
In a prescient moment in 1997, the U.S. Senate voted 95-0 against
the Kyoto Protocol because developing countries, such as China and
India, were not bound to reduce their CO2 emissions.
Now that China has blown past the U.S. 15 years earlier than
expected, the Senate’s prescience seems to have vanished as it has
scheduled a June floor debate on the Kyoto Protocol-on-steroids
Lieberman-Warner global warming bill.
Even if the bill’s heavy-handed provisions achieved its main goal —
a 70 percent reduction in U.S. CO2 emissions by 2050 — atmospheric CO2
levels would only be reduced by less than 5 percent, according to the EPA.
Such a trivial reduction in atmospheric CO2 likely would have
virtually zero impact on global climate albeit at great societal cost;
nevertheless, the Senate’s apparent abandonment of its 1997 position
seems to have led climate alarmists to sense that their personal
nirvana of a carbon-restricted, energy-constipated U.S. is well within
No wonder the Tibetans are chasing after the flame alone?