Friday, April 03, 2009

Intelligent and honourable?

There is one very easy way of cutting industrial carbon dioxide emissions – and that is by having a recession.

The truth of that was confirmed this week when the Oslo-based research institute Point Carbon reported a drop of six percent to 2.11 billion tons in 2008 from 2.24 billion the previous year.

The drop is caused by two hits – industry output is down and so is power production but, according to Kjersti Ulset, a Point Carbon spokesperson, the figures "also show that the carbon market works as intended." She maintains that the emission reductions in the power sector are partly a result of the high carbon price for the first half of 2008."

However, the biggest drops took place in the cement, lime and glass sector and the pulp and paper industry, both down by nine percent. That rather seems to point to a recession effect, as these sectors have been hit particularly badly by the downturn. The oil and gas and metal industries, however, have only registered a one-percent drop, which suggests there is more to come this year.

Meanwhile, we are told that those who take part in the climate change debate are "all intelligent, honourable and reject manmade climate change, but they never possess more than two of these qualities at once."

Through the fog of illiteracy, the thesis is that, if you "reject manmade climate change", you can be intelligent or honourable, but not both – only the believers can aspire to such heights. And it is those believers who are doubtless celebrating last year's decline in "greenhouse gasses". Intelligent? Honourable? Orwell would have been proud.