Back To 1620

Keith O. Rattie gave a speech at the 22nd Annual UVU Symposium on Environmental Ethics at Utah Valley University about America's energy future under cap and trade.

The long term goal with cap and trade is "80 by 50" - an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050. Let's do the easy math on what "80 by 50" means to you, using Utah as an example. Utah's carbon footprint today is about 66 MM tons of CO2 per year. Utah's population today is 2.6 MM. You divide those two numbers, and the average Utahan today has a carbon footprint of about 25 tons of CO2 per year. An 80% reduction in Utah's carbon footprint by 2050 implies a reduction from 66 MM tons today to about 13 MM tons per year by 2050. But Utah's population is growing at over 2% per year, so by 2050 there will be about 6 MM people living in this state. 13 MM tons divided by 6 MM people = 2.2 tons per person per year. Under "80 by 50"‟ by the time you folks reach my age you'll have to live your lives with an annual carbon allowance of no more than 2.2 tons of CO2 per year.

Question: when was the last time Utah's carbon footprint was as low as 2.2 tons per person per year? Answer: probably not since Brigham Young and the Mormon pioneers first entered the Salt Lake Valley (1847).

You reach a similar conclusion when you do the math on "80 by 50"‟ for the entire U.S. "80 by 50"‟ would require a reduction in America's CO2 emissions from about 20 tons per person per year today, to about 2 tons per person per year in 2050. When was the last time America‟s carbon footprint was as low as 2 tons per person per year? Probably not since the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock in 1620.

In short, "80 by 50" means that by the time you folks reach my age, you won't be allowed to use anything made with - or made possible by - fossil fuels.

So I want to focus you on this critical question: "How on God's green earth - pun intended - are you going to do what my generation said we'd do but didn't - and that's wean yourselves from fossil fuels in just four decades?" That's a question that each of you, and indeed, all Americans need to ask now - because when it comes to "how" there clearly is no consensus. Simply put, with today's energy technologies, we can't get there from here.

So the plan is to reduce us to a subsistence level in about forty years. You say you want a revolution? Now is the time.

Cross Posted at Power and Control

posted by Simon on 05.21.09 at 12:57 PM










Comments

"When was the last time America's carbon footprint was as low as 2 tons per person per year? Probably not since the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock in 1620."

This is probably wrong. Burning trees, even hundred-year-old trees is releasing carbon that was taken from the atmosphere fairly recently, so it doesn't count toward a carbon footprint. For that you need to burn fossil carbon. When did coal mining get started in America? Maybe c.1820.

"Anthracite (or 'hard' coal), clean and smokeless, became the preferred fuel in [U.S.] cities, replacing wood by about 1850. ... By 1840, hard coal output had passed the million-short ton mark, and then quadrupled by 1850."

Bill Woods   ·  May 22, 2009 7:49 PM

Every time I see the year "1620" I'm reminded of a simplistic history rhyme for children,

In 1620 please remember,
Pilgrims landed in December.

But history is now largely irrelevant. If children are taught anything about 1620, it involves their culpability for past "genocide."

The important issue today is carbon genocide!

Americans with car exhaust,
are guilty of a Holocaust!

Eric Scheie   ·  May 24, 2009 8:44 AM

Let's say we could immediately reduce CO2 emissions to zero, what is the impact on temperatures? At most, an almost unmeasurable 0.27F decrease in global temperatures by year 2100. What about 80% reduction by 2050? It's a whopping 0.09F degree lessening of the temperature decrease. Here's some add'l info on impacts:

http://www.c3headlines.com/2009/05/dems-pressflaks-fail-to-report-the-tiny-impact-of-waxmanmarkey-on-global-temps-incompetence-or-bias.html

So, not only does the reducing our CO2 emissions to a low carbon footprint put us proverbially back to a pre-industrialized world, it does almost absolutely nothing for the global temperatures. To make matters even worse, the increasing emissions of China/India will wipe out any CO2 sacrifice we make in 6 years or less.

The Obama-Waxman-Markey CO2 reduction legislation is the best example of politicians totally divorced from reality and from the welfare of the electorate.

C3H Editor, www.c3headlines.com

C3H Editor   ·  May 24, 2009 8:47 AM

Let's say we could immediately reduce CO2 emissions to zero, what is the impact on temperatures? At most, an almost unmeasurable 0.27F decrease in global temperatures by year 2100. What about 80% reduction by 2050? It's a whopping 0.09F degree lessening of the temperature decrease. Here's some add'l info on impacts:

http://www.c3headlines.com/2009/05/dems-pressflaks-fail-to-report-the-tiny-impact-of-waxmanmarkey-on-global-temps-incompetence-or-bias.html

So, not only does the reducing our CO2 emissions to a low carbon footprint put us proverbially back to a pre-industrialized world, it does almost absolutely nothing for the global temperatures. To make matters even worse, the increasing emissions of China/India will wipe out any CO2 sacrifice we make in 6 years or less.

The Obama-Waxman-Markey CO2 reduction legislation is the best example of politicians totally divorced from reality and from the welfare of the electorate.

C3H Editor, www.c3headlines.com

C3H Editor   ·  May 24, 2009 8:48 AM

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