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Greenhouse Emissions Drop Less During Economic Downturn Than Expected 87

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the global-warming-is-a-lie-of-course dept.
An anonymous reader writes with a quick bite from Nature World News: "The contribution of economic decline in reducing greenhouse gas emissions is very low, reveals a new study. Researcher Richard York of the University of Oregon studied data collected between 1960 and 2008 from more than 150 nations in order to analyze the impact of economic decline on greenhouse gas emissions." From the paper: "In Model 2, the percentage of the population living in urban areas and the percentage of GDP from the manufacturing sector were included as control variables. This model has lower data coverage than Model 1 (154 versus 160 nations, and 4,134 versus 5,630 nation-year observations) owing to missing data on the control variables. The coefficients, at 0.752 for growth and 0.346 for decline, are similar to those from Model 1 and, as in Model 1, are both significantly different from 0 and significantly different from each other."
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Greenhouse Emissions Drop Less During Economic Downturn Than Expected

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  • my guess (Score:3, Insightful)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @03:11AM (#41593939) Journal
    My guess is, that despite the cut in GDP, and the long, painful period of high unemployment, the economy hasn't actually been that bad. And that most of us have not had to change our habits much to cope.
    • Re:my guess (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Mr0bvious (968303) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @04:08AM (#41594061)

      My guess is, that the effects of the recent economic downturn has yet to be realised - it's been kicked down the road by the creation of trillions of dollars and increased debt to offset its effect - it's been absorbed (hidden) by more debt and inflation.

      So I think it's a little too early to be making any judgements or conclusions.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by reboot246 (623534)
        You may be right. I wonder if our economy is being crippled on purpose to force us to lower carbon emissions. I bet it looks that way to the coal industry.
        • You may be right. I wonder if our economy is being crippled on purpose to force us to lower carbon emissions. I bet it looks that way to the coal industry.

          You give far too much credit for US leadership and their ability for long term planning. (or perhaps its the populations fault with the attention span of a.... LOOK, A SQUIRREL, for letting these people in the wheel in the first place) I mean, you guys started 2 wars you didnt budget for and cut taxes for the rich at the same time... What exactly were you expecting to happen?

        • by Anonymous Coward

          You may be right. I wonder if our economy is being crippled on purpose to force us to lower carbon emissions. I bet it looks that way to the coal industry.

          Nah, this is the U.S., under bribe-and-trade, the Coal Industry just isn't buying enough lobbying offsets to counter hot-air lobbying emissions produced by the Natural Gas Industry.

      • My guess is, that the effects of the recent economic downturn has yet to be realised - it's been kicked down the road by the creation of trillions of dollars and increased debt to offset its effect

        Seriously, don't worry about debt, it's all hype, nothing to worry about... When wheels start spinning again, and you're not paying for two wars, that debt will be gone in no time...
        Keep in mind that interest rates are so low, that take loans and investing it in education, research, infrastructure, etc. is very likely to pay of, big time. With a much bigger interest than you're charged for borrowing the money (which is practically free today).

        Anyways, just my two cents... Keep in mind that when the state

        • by morgauxo (974071)
          When will we not be at war?

          Now we have a republican rising in the poles. I don't want to support Obama... he continued the warrant-less wiretapping of US citizens, he executes people without trial. (probably ones that deserve it but still, nobody should have that power) But... he hasn't dragged us into any more wars. He has been very slow to pull us out of Bush's wars and he has dropped some bombs to support a revolution (resulting in a rise for the Islamic Brotherhood ans Sharia law, yay... that reall
          • by geekoid (135745)

            " he executes people without trial. "
            you know who else executes without a trial? A police officer that kills someone in the line of duty. Don't fall into the" OMG! the president kills citizen whenever he wants" scaremonger poised by For et. al.

            There was a huge legal issue leading up to that.

            If you are helping the enemy and hiding with the enemy, then you will die with the enemy. They wanted to capture him, but that wasn't feasible.

            ". He has been very slow to pull us out of Bush's wars "
            I disagree. I think i

            • by morgauxo (974071)
              A police officer killing in the line of duty is acting on a clear and immediate threat. He is shooting someone who very well may shoot him at that moment. Afterwards he does have to justify it or he can go to jail himself.

              This is not the same thing as gathering a group of like-minded people who you chose yourself in a room 1/2 way around the planet and deciding who lives and who dies and then classifying the information so that no body can ever verify what/why they did it, forever.

              I'm not even makin
      • No problem! We will solve the economic and climate problems the good old fashioned American way: denying the problem exists, exploiting some other group of people, involving the military in some shortsighted way, giving guns and money to people who we really shouldn't, and if all else fails, leave the problem to future generations.

        I had a kid. Are the rest of you doing your duty in making a future generation to pass the buck onto?
      • by Ferretman (224859)
        I suspect *this* explanation is more closer to the reality of things than the first one, though there's a particle of fact there as well.

        I don't know anybody who isn't scared to one degree or another about what's going on in the economy. I know a LOT of folks who don't drive as much, who don't buy as much, etc....and all of those will slightly reduce emission of so-called 'greenhouse gases'. The financial mess we've kicked down the road to our grandchildren is horrific.

        An unscientific and unproven t
        • by geekoid (135745)

          "so-called 'greenhouse gases
          they are greenhouse gases, no 'so-called green house gases.
          The economy hasn't change any of my habits at all. It's not really as bad as people think. I remember the 80s. Try finding a job in 1982. I mean, almost every place had 'DO not apply here' signs in their windows.

          "An unscientific and unproven theory really isn't something that should be guiding people's actions anyway"

          um,. it is proven. Do you even know the 'scientific theory' even means?

          " what might happen, maybe, someday

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      My guess is, that despite the cut in GDP, and the long, painful period of high unemployment, the economy hasn't actually been that bad. And that most of us have not had to change our habits much to cope.

      "Despite of millions of people losing their homes and livelyhoods, it hasn't been that bad cause I still have mine."

    • by mc6809e (214243)

      Or possibly it is taking more and more energy simply to maintain the current level of GDP.

      That means big trouble ahead.

    • by Chrisq (894406) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @05:43AM (#41594341)
      As people cut back on their budgets they are eating more beans. Beans for lunch, beans for breakfast, and beans for tea. This leads directly to increased methane emissions.

      (well its as good as any other theory I've read)

      • by chill (34294)

        That reminds me. I haven't seen Blazing Saddles in a while. I need to queue that up for a viewing.

    • by cheekyboy (598084)

      Yeah, just the increase in prices for everything, wind back to 2001, and the after tax money thats left over, after bills, and housing, we used to have $700 more per month compared to now, so we are $8400 worse off per year.

      Theres only so much penny pinching and cutting back that can be done, can't live on rice and water like a prisoner, just to break even to 2001.

      • Theres only so much penny pinching and cutting back that can be done,

        And you haven't come anywhere close to the limit.

      • by geekoid (135745)

        gosh, you had more money at the end of a boom period? I'm shocked I tell you, shocked. What if you want back to 2004? Do you have more or less.
        I make less money then I did in 2001(100k+), and substantially more then I did in 2002.(60K). It's almost like a tech bubble burst or something.

    • by daem0n1x (748565)

      How good for you!

      Ignorance is definitely bliss.

      • Ignorance is definitely bliss.

        No, it's not. But in this case I'm right. Read the article, troll.

    • I'd go on and guess "the economy" can't correlate meaningfully with CO2 emissions at all. I'd go for the energy consumption in civil transport and industrial systems.

      • ?

        I'd go for the energy consumption in civil transport and industrial systems.

        This is correlated to the economy.

    • My guess is, that despite the cut in GDP, and the long, painful period of high unemployment, the economy hasn't actually been that bad. And that most of us have not had to change our habits much to cope.

      My guess is, that despite there being links to both the full journal article and to a lay summary right in the Slashdot blurb, you didn't bother to read either one. And that you instead preferred to offer us all your enlightened wisdom derived from your gut feelings instead of, you know, talking about real data.

      I know, I know. This is Slashdot; reading articles is for newbs....

  • by jrumney (197329) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @03:50AM (#41594023) Homepage
    It turns out economic output was never a good excuse for the West's (and particularly USA's) high per-capita greenhouse gas emissions in the first place.
  • No surprise (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nomad-9 (1423689) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @03:55AM (#41594033)
    This is not really surprising.

    Apart from people generally not changing their habits during a recession, there is the fact that the recession itself didn't hit all countries with the same intensity. Some (e.g. China, India and South Korea) are still doing well, and as a consequence, their greenhouse emissions haven''t decreased much.

    While the developed countries did diminish their total emissions (e,g, UK, Japan, US, Germany), there is still the fact that the manufacturing sector ha been mostly transferred (outsourced or lost to) to the developing markets.Not surprising that the overall emissions have not dropped, at least in the same proportions that it increased during economic expansion.

    150 nations + not all going in the same direction. Do the math.
    • 150 nations + not all going in the same direction. Do the math.

      Read the article. They did the math.

      Researcher Richard York of the University of Oregon studied data collected between 1960 and 2008 from more than 150 nations in order to analyze the impact of economic decline on greenhouse gas emissions.

      York revealed that the rate of reduction in carbon dioxide emissions was slightly more than half the rate of carbon release when the economy was booming.

      They go on explaining why a booming economy and a declining economy have such different rate changes -- based on an exam

  • by retroworks (652802) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @03:57AM (#41594035) Homepage Journal
    Simple. If the three billion poorest people go from earning $3,000 per capita per year to $6,000 per capita per year, the economy can slump and carbon increases.
  • by jamesl (106902) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @06:35AM (#41594503)

    It's a model. A model is a hypothesis. The "results" are correlations and as we all know, correlation is not causation.

    Meanwhile, can someone explain what this means ...
    York revealed that the rate of reduction in carbon dioxide emissions was slightly more than half the rate of carbon release when the economy was booming.

    • by ledow (319597)

      Rate presumably = speed of change.

      Thus the emissions dropped more quickly than when they had risen originally.

      • by jamesl (106902)

        It's "rate of release" vs. "rate of reductions in carbon dioxide emissions." Translates to "rate of release" vs. "rate of reductions of release." The second is the first derivative of the first which is not a valid comparison.

         

    • Re:It's a model (Score:4, Insightful)

      by dkleinsc (563838) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @07:49AM (#41594799) Homepage

      It's a model. A model is a hypothesis. The "results" are correlations and as we all know, correlation is not causation.

      I agree: The only way to definitely prove that AGW causes the Earth to burn to a crisp is to actually burn the planet to a crisp via greenhouse gas emissions, with no other variables that could affect the result. With an identical control Earth except for the CO2 and methane emissions, so we know that we have isolated the right variable. And double-blinded, so the researchers' biases don't creep in. And then repeat the test under the same conditions, so we know it wasn't just a fluke.

      Do you have some spare planets I can use for this test? In the meantime, I'm going to accept the correlation combined with the lab-tested mechanism for one variable of that correlation causing the other variable as the best we can muster.

      • by jamesl (106902)

        Your comment is Off Topic. This discussion is about rates of CO2 emissions. It is not about AGW or AGW models.

    • This is actually the important implication of this paper: emissions go up during a boom but fall less than they went up during a following slump. The author postulates that booms bring more infrastructure that remains in use subsequently.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      "correlation is not causation."
      WRONG, DUMB ASS.

      correlation does not imply causation.

  • My theory is that between all the hot CO2 coming out of the economists, plus the off-gassing of freshly printed money, greenhouse gases are expected to increase during a downturn.

  • by angel'o'sphere (80593) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @09:37AM (#41595675) Homepage Journal

    Americans are so obsessed with the idea that cutting down CO2 emissions would also cut down the economy.

    That is basically a brain dead idea.

    Lets see where CO2 is coming from:
    o heating of houses (coal/gas/oil)
    o heating and cooling of houses (electricity)
    o cars / trucks
    o power plants (coal/gas/oil)
    o cargo ships / diesel trains
    o and everything that uses electricity, but the prime source is the plant where that electricity is produced
    o industries with a huge energy hunger like steel plants / or any other factory that partly or in whole produces its own power (glass or porcelain producers, brick producers etc.)

    Now we have to look what kind of industries or businesses are effected in an economic crisis and how much that does affect the energy consumed.

    Do houses need less heating or cooling? Or do people change their cooling/heating habits during a crisis? Is there a significant different amount of homeless people during a crisis (wich don't power their own flat)?

    Same for cars, commuting, trucks with goods etc. etc. etc.

    I would say there is only a small group of industries that is affected by the crisis (look whose shares are dropping and whose are rising). And even if a factory is laying off 10% of its staff, I doubt it is directly reflected in 10% energy savings and CO2 reduction.

    As far as I know the american economy is far over 70% based on services. So only the remaining 30% are industries and manufactoring etc. To reduce CO2 emissions by 15% you would need an effect/crisis that drops the 30% above significantly. I doubt a change in services (people employed, people buying a service etc.) has any noticeable effect on CO2 emissions.

    And finally: no one is asking the USA to cripple their economy. We only ask to switch to more efficient machines, better insulation, more efficient means of transportation, burn less oil and build up a better grid. All those activities would create a lot of jobs and instead of having a crisis you would have a boom.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      Well, Fox news* has only fear to use as an AGW denialist organization. SO, you know point and claim it will cost jobs. Ignore that the best ways to deal with it involve getting industry here. It does hurt whomever wants to sell energy to China.

      *Note: A study of fox new found that they are wrong in 93% o Scientific 'news' they spew out. And no, a little wrong. Or a misquote. GBut wildly factually wrong. Only slightly worse then the Wall Street Journal, now. I wonder what they have in common?

  • People need to get to work and people tend to drop things like air conditioning and most energy usage after going out to eat and new appliances vehicles etc. The overall effect is that what people tend to cut first during a recession are large purchases, like a new refrigerator/washer/dryer/car that would have been more efficient than the one they're now keeping. The old vehicles/appliances continue to put out a higher amount of CO2 and there is a noticeable delay in the decline of production after demand
  • In other news, US energy-related CO2 emissions are now at a 20 year low [aei-ideas.org].

    The credit is split between cheap, fracked natural gas replacing coal and herbicide-resistant GM crops needing less plowing (and thus lower tractor fuel use).

    US CO2 emissions per capita are now lower than they have been since at least 1973.

  • Coal has remained cheaper during most of this period, and half of all US energy use is for heating and cooling buildings, with little incentive to get new high mpg cars, since people can't afford new cars.

    Here endeth the lesson.

Never buy from a rich salesman. -- Goldenstern

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