By Tank Murdoch
(TNS) The head of a free-market organization that embraces fossil fuels and has championed the fact that under President Trump the U.S. has become a net energy exporter says conservatives should be careful in praising a recent report showing the country led the world in carbon reduction last year.
Myron Ebell, director of theÂ Center for Energy and the EnvironmentÂ at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, downplayed a recent report from the International Energy Agency that begrudgingly admitted that overall U.S. carbon emissions fell 2.9 percent in 2019.
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While Democrats and green groups predictably yawned about the achievement — arguing instead that the U.S. is becoming more reliant on ‘greenhouse gas-producing fossil fuels’ as though that is a serious counterpoint — Republicans and conservatives were quick to highlight the data.
â€œHave they given the President credit for anything since taking office? Itâ€™s not surprising,â€ Austin Hacker, spokesman for the Republicans on the House Natural Resource Committee, told the Washington Times.
â€œThe facts speak for themselves,â€ he added. â€œUnder President Trump, the United States has finally become an energy exporter and a global leader in emissions reductions.â€
But wait, insists Ebell: Let’s not ‘concede the point’ about carbon emissions reductions to the Left, which really wants a complete ban on all fossil fuels, despite the fact that they power the massive U.S. economy.
â€œI have very contrary feelings about it,â€ Â EbellÂ told the paper. â€œI understand why various people want to take credit for it because it annoys and challenges other countries, which are not making reductions in carbon-dioxide emissions. But on the other hand, it concedes the point that thereâ€™s something good about lowering carbon-dioxide emissions.â€
Under the Trump administration, the nation has become a net exporter of oil and natural gas, years ahead of predictions, while U.S. emissions have continued an overall decline that began in 2005 as natural gas, spurred by the shale and fracking revolution, and renewable energy replace coal in electricity generation. — Washington Times
â€œI donâ€™t see that itâ€™s a good thing. Itâ€™s just a fact,â€ said Ebell. â€œThe other thing I would point out is that if the Trump strategy is successful, we should see a continuing return of energy-intensive manufacturing in this country, and if thatâ€™s the case, emissions are going to start going up again at some point.â€
According to the IEA data released Feb. 11, following two years of increases, global carbon dioxide emissions sort of flattened out, and that drop was led by a reduction in the U.S., the European Union and Japan. Emissions increased in two emerging industrial giants, however, India and China.
â€œUS emissions are now down almost 1 Gt from their peak in the year 2000, the largest absolute decline by any country over that period,â€ the report said. â€œA 15% reduction in the use of coal for power generation underpinned the decline in overall US emissions in 2019.â€
Climate change activists mostly yawned and downplayed the U.S. decrease because they said that increases elsewhere in the world weren’t enough to ‘bend the curve downward’ so, naturally, more de-industrialization is needed.
Ebell shakes his head at that ‘logic.’
â€œI know they say weâ€™re in a climate emergency, but weâ€™re only in a climate emergency if we live in a fantasy world of computer models,â€ he said.
â€œIf you think those are the reality, weâ€™ve got a problem,â€ he said. â€œIf you believe the historical temperature data and the real-world measured impact, we donâ€™t have a crisis, and itâ€™s not even clear we have a problem.â€
Plus, as Ebell points out, the fact that emissions are higher in countries like China really point to the fact that American manufacturing has been outsourced there.
â€œWhat weâ€™re learning is that trying to reduce emissions is playing whack-a-mole,â€ Ebell told the Times. â€œYou push them down somewhere, and they come up somewhere else.â€
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Scientists may come up with a massively efficient, extremely affordable alternative to fossil fuels at some point in the future. But the fact is, it’s simply unrealistic to expect and believe nations will stop utilizing it to power their economies in the meantime, and in that respect, Ebell’s point is well taken.
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