Russell's Blog

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A Surge in Global Stupidity

Posted by Russell on May 22, 2007 at 5:01 p.m.
It looks like CO2 emissions between 2000 and 2004 have increased, which probably isn't a surprise, but the reason why emission have increased actually is surprising. New Scientist reports :
The team then examined the changes between 1980 and 2004 in factors such as population, economic growth, energy efficiency and carbon efficiency (the amount used per unit of GDP). From this, they were able to determine why CO2 emissions accelerated after 2000.

They concluded that the rise in CO2 emissions is not due to a growth in global population, but a reduction in global efficiency. "We are not getting more efficient at using CO2 in the way we projected," explains co-author Corinne Le Quéré from the University of East Anglia in the UK.

The predictions used to estimate how much CO2 we will spew are based on the assumption that we will pursue more efficient technology. This is a reasonable assumption to make, even if there were no environmental impacts to consider -- more efficient generating technology is more profitable to operate. Inefficiency is, after all, wasted money. No one thought that people would be so idiotic as to harm the environment and waste money.

Evidently, up until the year 2000, we were doing OK. Then, suddenly, there was a surge in CO2 production and a sag in efficiency. One might characterize it as a surge in stupidity.

Let's see... what happened in 2000 that might have caused a surge in net global stupidity?

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