Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Republicans Science

Misuse of Scientific Data By the White House 577

Posted by kdawson
from the drag-it-out-'til-2008 dept.
Science data nerds writes "The White House is consistently and persistently claiming that the US is doing better than Europe in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This is false — their claim is purely based on carefully selecting the only subset of the data that supports this conclusion. When all the data are used, it is plain that European emissions have declined substantially and US emissions have grown substantially. The article, and this linked analysis, debunk the White House claims."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Misuse of Scientific Data By the White House

Comments Filter:
  • not true (Score:3, Funny)

    by jcgf (688310) on Monday June 04, 2007 @07:16PM (#19388855)
    Everyone knows that George W. Bush loves the scientific method so much that he would NEVER allow this to happen. Just look at his stance on that intelligent design nonsense....
  • by pak9rabid (1011935) on Monday June 04, 2007 @07:16PM (#19388865)
    You mean the White House lied to the public? I'm shocked, shocked! Well, not that shocked.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by FlyByPC (841016)
      Naah. What was that quote about never attribute to evil what can be sufficiently explained by ignorance...?

      I do think we're dealing with a bit of both here.
      • by eln (21727) on Monday June 04, 2007 @07:28PM (#19389013) Homepage
        The only way they could claim ignorance at this point is by making a concerted effort to maintain said ignorance by ignoring any of the multitude of reports out there that contradict them. Going to that much effort to remain ignorant in order to avoid changing your opinion is evil in itself.

        • by king-manic (409855) on Monday June 04, 2007 @07:39PM (#19389131)
          The only way they could claim ignorance at this point is by making a concerted effort to maintain said ignorance by ignoring any of the multitude of reports out there that contradict them. Going to that much effort to remain ignorant in order to avoid changing your opinion is evil in itself.

          A reformulation of CLarks third law by J. Porter Clark: "sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice"
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            The only way they could claim ignorance at this point is by making a concerted effort to maintain said ignorance by ignoring any of the multitude of reports out there that contradict them. Going to that much effort to remain ignorant in order to avoid changing your opinion is evil in itself.

            A reformulation of CLarks third law by J. Porter Clark: "sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice"

            From American Heritage Stedman's Medical Dictionary, definition 3: incompetence - "The ina

        • by sumdumass (711423) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @01:31AM (#19392287) Journal
          They wouldn't need to claim ignorance. The claims the whit house said was that according to the IPCC, we were leading less. This study as well as the initial version of the report gets it's data from a different source. There is no lie, and what was said it true. As for cherry picking, this so called report specifically uses a different data set in order to make a claim of misleading and wrong doing. Nothing could be further form the truth.

          Here is the link to the numbers the pacinst uses. and [epa.gov]here is the link [iea.org] to what the white house used.

          Three things to be noted. One is that the IEA publication costs a lot of money so unless some one is willing to pony up the change and do the actual comparisons, we won't know for sure. Using numbers from another study or data set does nothing to show anyone mislead anything. If anything, it is misleading of this study to suggest something that doesn't exist.

          Second, the IEA numbers don't cover the same numbers the other report does. It used numbers from fuel combustion were as the EPA numbers account for all use including purpose full manufacturing of Co2.

          Third and probably the most important is that the EU and the rest of the world have only been attempting to reduce Co2 emisiosn since 2000 when the kyoto accord was in effect. Comparing to anything previous is senseless and misleading. It implies there was an effort that isn't and attempt to say look, we are guilty because we done this before that.

          In all, It would be note worthy to have numbers that come form the same source and cover the same data. This report doesn't do it and even attempts to use the disconnect from consistancy as a basis to refute the conclusions of a report that does use the same source and same data collections. I have contacted them by email about their apparent misleading and have not received a response from them. Also they have listed this second "refined report" after that.
          • by dajak (662256) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @07:12AM (#19394213)
            Third and probably the most important is that the EU and the rest of the world have only been attempting to reduce Co2 emisiosn since 2000 when the kyoto accord was in effect. Comparing to anything previous is senseless and misleading. It implies there was an effort that isn't and attempt to say look, we are guilty because we done this before that.

            Reducing CO2 emissions is often a side effect of other efforts to curb pollution. Besides that, some of the EU-15 member states are the driving force behind Kyoto, and cared about CO2 emissions long before it was signed.

            For instance, the main reasons for the favourable trend in Germany in the 90s are an effort to increase efficiency in power plants and the restructuring of the industry of the former DDR after reunification, and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK was primarily the result of fuel switches from oil and coal to gas in electricity production and N2O emissions reduction measures in the chemical industry.

            Also the shift towards smaller cars and diesel engines, driven by higher excise taxes on gas, and improvement of (legally required) catalytic converters on cars, are contributors, as well as thermal isolation subsidies and requirements for households in many EU-15 member states. The reform of the CAP in 1992 led to reduced use of fertilizer and less cattle, and the landfill waste directive to recovery of CH4 from landfills in the EU-15. (cf. generally Gugele et al, 2002 [europa.eu]) All of those efforts have CO2 emissions reduction as a side effect.

            It is relevant to include recent history in evaluating track record, because countries that started to curb pollution early have to make a greater effort to achieve the same reduction (certainly if the target is set as a percentage of current emissions). The US has a long way to go to have CO2 emissions per capita equal to the EU-15, and the US does not have any excuses for high emissions: it's not a major exporter of energy-intensive manufactured goods like for instance Germany or Japan.
      • by king-manic (409855) on Monday June 04, 2007 @07:33PM (#19389053)
        Naah. What was that quote about never attribute to evil what can be sufficiently explained by ignorance...?

        I do think we're dealing with a bit of both here.


        Hanlon's razor

        "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity."

        Ignorance is too kind a word for this. It's purposeful and willful stupidity.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by omeomi (675045)
        Naah. What was that quote about never attribute to evil what can be sufficiently explained by ignorance...?

        Based on the last 6 years, the White House must be the world's largest consumer of ignorance...
    • by ajanp (1083247) on Monday June 04, 2007 @07:22PM (#19388935)
      Not sure about you, but I'm here in America. I'm confident that I will have completely forgotten this issue a few hours from now. If something good is on TV, the entire scandal will be out of mind by the time I'm finished dinner.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        to quote Richard M Nixon's head in a jar: "the average voter is as drunk and stupid as ever!"
      • I'm confident that I will have completely forgotten this issue a few hours from now.
        Well, I didn't even read the article or the summary, so I've got you beat by a few hours. ;-)
  • by Richard McBeef (1092673) on Monday June 04, 2007 @07:16PM (#19388867)
    The ensuing hot air will contribute [a] little.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Jarjarthejedi (996957)
      Yeah I mean, whatever happened to at least trying to ensure some unbiasedness in the articles? It's all well and good to link to a biased article and the mention the bias in the editorial but flat out saying the white house is lying? That seems a little too biased for my liking, I'd rather have a somewhat balanced summary that says the article claims the white house is lying than this summary.

      But, then again, I'm one of the .01% of people on /. who don't think that the current White House is an incarnation
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jafiwam (310805)
        What, as if "unbiased" means "ignore blatant evidence of lying and corruption" now?

        Is that sort of like "truthiness"?
      • by epee1221 (873140) on Monday June 04, 2007 @08:35PM (#19389759)

        Yeah I mean, whatever happened to at least trying to ensure some unbiasedness in the articles?
        Yes, we need to eliminate the pervasive bias. Here's some other ideas we need to give "equal time" in our discussions:
        • Electric Universe
        • Rational Pi
        • Holocaust Denial
        • Fortune-Telling
        • Flat Earth
      • by evanbd (210358) on Monday June 04, 2007 @09:37PM (#19390501)

        But, then again, I'm one of the .01% of people on /. who don't think that the current White House is an incarnation of Cthulhu

        I'd just like to speak up to show my solidarity here. The current White House is definitely not an incarnation of Cthulhu. Cthulhu would be far more honest about his evil ways, and certainly wouldn't need to do anything as wimpy as manufacturing data.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Shadowland (574647)
          > The current White House is definitely not an incarnation of Cthulhu. Cthulhu
          > would be far more honest about his evil ways, and certainly wouldn't need to
          > do anything as wimpy as manufacturing data.

          Absolutely. You only have to look at Cthulhu's presidential policy paper to see that:
          http://www.cthulhu.org/cthulhu/positions.html [cthulhu.org]
      • Bias (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Mark_MF-WN (678030)
        Wouldn't that be biased? When the President says that the sky is green, and there's an article about it, should a summary be that the article claims that the president is lying? No, of course not. The president IS lying (or he's a goddam retard).

        Ignoring reality and pretending that the delusions of the current US administration could be true is a much worse form of bias than the one you're imagining to exist here.

        Partisan morons like yourself need to get over their infatuations with certain politicia

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      That's really all this is. It's cherry picking on both sides. The White House noted that the economic growth of the US compared carbon emission growth is greater than that in Europe. In fact, both have shown increased carbon emissions. The article focuses on the fact that the total growth of greenhouse gasses is less in Europe. Different metrics, neither of which come close to painting the whole picture.

      The .pdf might just as well be a blog for its purpose and analytical utility. I really don't think it
      • by dircha (893383) on Monday June 04, 2007 @09:06PM (#19390087)
        "That's really all this is. It's cherry picking on both sides."

        Oh, look, Republican Debating Techniques 101! Look folks, let's play: muddy the waters!

        Suggesting that the strides being made in Europe on emissions are the ethical or environmental equivalent of the destructive pollution policies of the GWB administration, because, oh, "really both sides are biased," is an affront to science and to intelligence.

        The policy of this administration has been unapologetically regressive. Bush loosened and terminated regulations through a stacked Congress and rolled back initiatives by presidential order, because corporate big business lobbyists told him environmental regulations were cutting into profits, "and that hurts the economy." This isn't even up for debate. He has related his policies and his actions over and over again to the press and in his speeches across the nation. We have so much going wrong in this country after 8 years that even if we get a Democratic president and Congress, it will take 10 years to recover policy-wise after this administration is finally run out of office.

        The environment isn't high school debate club; this is serious and it matters, and unless Mars suddenly develops an atmosphere, we only have one shot at getting it right.
        • why so down? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by r00t (33219) on Monday June 04, 2007 @11:40PM (#19391575) Journal
          It'd be real nice to grow tropical fruit in New England.

          The USA will get that Mexican climate, fitting for the new owners. The old owners can move to that uninhabited area called Canada. We all get more space; the continent is kind of triangular with the big part up north.

          Alaska is way bigger than Hawaii.

          Opening up the Northwest Passage would be great for trade. Opening up the whole Arctic Ocean would be even better. Right now the area is a damn worthless because of the ice.

      • by mOdQuArK! (87332) on Monday June 04, 2007 @09:09PM (#19390123)

        It's cherry picking on both sides.

        Hardly. One side has most of the scientific establishment behind it. The other side has a few crackpots, "researchers" paid to provide desired data, and cherry-picked data. Only the willfully ignorant at this stage give equal credibility to both sides.

      • by pluther (647209) <pluther@nOSpam.usa.net> on Monday June 04, 2007 @11:25PM (#19391429) Homepage
        In other words:
        They say 2+2 is 4.

        We say it's 18.

        So, obviously, it must be somewhere around 11?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        You imagine that the scientists fuck around and lie about their side, and your imagination gives you license to actually fuck around and lie on your side.

        Open your eyes and you'll find out that it's not both sides that are making shit up. It's one side telling the truth, and one side lying.

        Now guess which side Rush Limbaugh is on.
  • by Raul654 (453029) on Monday June 04, 2007 @07:17PM (#19388875) Homepage
    For everyone interested in this topic, Chris Mooney's [wikipedia.org] The Republican War on Science [wikipedia.org] is required reading.
  • by SyscRAsH (127068) on Monday June 04, 2007 @07:20PM (#19388917)
    are belong to U.S.
  • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Monday June 04, 2007 @07:24PM (#19388965)
    The submitter, the analysis, and the relevant claims in the first linked article are from the "Pacific Institute". That's fine and doesn't mean anything about it is incorrect, but probably means there is an agenda at work - surprise, just as there's an "agenda" served by the White House, too - and this is also a factual statement:

    Pick any year since the Kyoto Protocol was agreed to in 1997, Mr. Bush should have said, and the U.S. CO2 emission performance is superior to that of all major Kyoto parties, including and most notably Europe (CO2 being the focus of the many pending legislative proposals).

    Also, the submission complains that the US metric shown in a positive light - surprising they'd choose something that reflects positively! - is that because only CO2 emissions are considered. Well, CO2 emissions account for nearly three quarters of all greenhouse gas emissions [wikimedia.org].

    Further is the problem with using 2000 as the reference point. In fact, it is perfectly valid to use 2000 as a reference point; it's just as valid as using 1997 or any other time. There is no magical time in terms of statistical length or any point in time that is any more valid than any other. You can argue that the submitter is "cherry picking" his own data. It's laughable to say there is a "right" base year.

    Of course, the issue is much, much more complex, and no one wants to take into consideration the very real economic impacts of taking drastic action to reduce emissions, especially when China and India - forget the EU - are not saddled with the same restrictions.
    • by locust (6639)
      You're right about the economic impact. Its the economic impact of continuing to sell giant SUVs while you're competitors are investing in greener and more fuel efficient cars. GM can argue all it wants about how hard it is to raise the CAFE standards while Toyota is putting it out of business.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by daveschroeder (516195) *
        *Sigh.*

        The good ol' SUV argument. Knew that'd come in somewhere!

        1. All of GM's full size trucks and SUVs - GMC Yukon and Yukon XL, Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, Cadillac Escalade and Escalade ESV, and pickup trucks and fleet vehicles - will have the most advanced two-mode full hybrid system to date [autobloggreen.com] on nearly any consumer vehicle for MY2008.

        2. GM's bread and butter is the full size trucks; it can't compete with Toyota in the car market, and it doesn't have anything to do with "greener" (though increased fuel
    • by timeOday (582209) on Monday June 04, 2007 @07:50PM (#19389277)

      Of course, the issue is much, much more complex, and no one wants to take into consideration the very real economic impacts of taking drastic action to reduce emissions, especially when China and India - forget the EU - are not saddled with the same restrictions.
      Much is made of the fact that China will very soon surpass the CO2 emissions of the US. But our population is less than 25% of theirs, so our emissions are still 4x China's per capita! Moreover, much of China's pollution comes from meeting American demands for cheap steel and manufactured goods - if anybody outside China weilds influence over their polluting ways, it's us and our big credit cards. Let's stop using China as an excuse to not clean up our act.
    • Speaking of agendas...

      This is quite typical of kdawson. Just be glad it wasn't a mention of the "stolen" 2004 presidential election.

      I'm no partisan Republican myself, but I'm getting fairly tired of kdawson. I don't want to see /. become the next Rush Limbaugh site, but the slow emergence of slashkos is concerning as well. Then again it's the editors' right to tilt one way or the other, so whatever.

      Well, see ya' in modded-down-to-oblivion-ville.
    • by demachina (71715) on Monday June 04, 2007 @08:15PM (#19389515)
      The critical point about greenhouse emissions control is it is an extremely intricate economic, political and environmental maneuver. You try to control CO2 and you do it wrong there is a high probability of unintended consequences and a net worsening of the situation. There isn't exactly a right and wrong way to do it, its more likely to be a case of some people will win and some will lose under a CO2 control regime which is why its so controversial.

      Businesses and nations which ignore emission controls are almost assured to benefit economically. If they use cheap power, have no carbon taxes to pay and no expensive pollution controls they will kill their competitors who are facing such controls, they already are(a.k.a China). The trading regime instituted in Europe has already caused stress to clean efficient plants trying to control their emissions because they face competitors in places like Morocco with no control regime who undersell them. If this happens on a large scale Europe looks great on the CO2 front but only because all the big emitters have gone off shore to Asia and Africa. The end result could be a net worsening of the climate problem because there will be a bunch of dirty plants spewing CO2 in all the "developing" world replacing cleaner but too expensive ones in developed countries.

      The key point to CO2 control is it has to be applied globally and evenly or it isn't going to work. If it isn't applied globally countries who aren't participating have to have exports heavily taxed so they are forced to pay for abusing CO2 emissions. The Kyoto protocol is indeed deeply flawed because it exerts little control over India and China because they are "developing" countries but their CO2 emissions are exploding. If you crack down on the U.S., Japan and Europe but leave India and China unchecked you will just give them yet another competitive advantage. They will build even more really dirty power plants and factories and the global CO2 situation will get worse not better.

      A cynic could say CO2 controls on developed countries is just another ploy to further devastate the economies of developed countries to the benefit China, India and other cheap off shoring destinations.

      In China's defense they are realizing their massive abuse of coal is an ecological disaster in the making, or already made, and they are undertaking a massive switch to nuclear energy. This is a key reason processed Uranium has gone from $10/lb to $130/lb since 2003 and Toshiba bought Westinghouse's Nuclear division, to build China nukes. They are building something like 32 nuclear power plants by 2020 and 10 times that by 2050. They've also broken ground on a huge nuclear waste dump. Going nuclear is obviously a double edged sword but it is one of the not so many viable options to what China is doing now, throwing up rat trap coal fired power plants at a furious pace, with no pollution controls, terrible efficiency and which are spewing vast quantities of CO2 and Mercury in to the air.
      • Your point about China switching away from coal is an interesting one. A recent German report estimated that China will reach peak coal in about 15 years (linked here http://mdsolar.blogspot.com/2007/05/three-cornere d -ghost.html [blogspot.com]). China takes enourmous staged hits from global warming but it is not clear that their conversion is owing to recognition of that particular problem.
        --
        Orient toward the Sun: http://mdsolar.blogspot.com/2007/01/slashdot-users -selling-solar.html [blogspot.com]
    • by Organic Brain Damage (863655) on Monday June 04, 2007 @10:39PM (#19391053)
      The largest, most successful car company on the planet? Toyota. The leader on going Green through higher fuel economy and smarter technology? Toyota. Coincidence?

      Which city in the rust belt has a trade surplus with China and why? Erie PA. Because GE makes the most fuel efficient locomotives on the planet in Erie and even though the Chinese have lower labor costs and environmental protection standards, the GE locmotives, while costing more to purchase, pay-back the extra cost very rapidly in fuel savings. The greenest tech is the most efficient tech and it wins economically.

      So, protecting and subsidizing stupidity might protect one particular set of players in an industry (GM & Ford, for instance) but overall it doesn't do the USA any good.

      Green is efficient, so Green is smart business.

      There's green in going green -- Friedman [publicradio.org]
    • by skrolle2 (844387) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @03:38AM (#19393103)
      Did you read the PDF? Did you look at the graph at the bottom?

      The US shows a steady increase of greenhouse gas emissions, EXCEPT for the period between 2000 and 2002 where it shows a pretty sharp decline. This decline is NOT because of a conscious effort to reduce emissions, it's a direct result of 9/11 and its effects on the airline industry. There's no will behind the decline, it's just a freak accident, a secondary effect. And to include that decline in any sort of comparison and say "Look guys, we're doing better!" is completely dishonest.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Constructing greater and more elaborate lies, and applying the finest of lipstick to pigs.
  • by chriss (26574) * <chriss@memomo.net> on Monday June 04, 2007 @07:35PM (#19389075) Homepage

    I just watched two movies: Control Room [imdb.com] (2004) about the media coverage of the invasion of Iraq and Al Jazeera's role and The revolution will not be televised [imdb.com] (2003) about the role of the private media in the coup in Venezuela in 2001. Neither of the two might be called very objective, but I see how difficult it would be to find an audience for more scientific analysis.

    The common theme in both is how important the media has become. Now this is not really news, but during the last decade the media reaction has been part of e.g. military operation (embedded journalism) and there is a tremendous effort to control the pictures. Not so much to suppress any reporting, since it has become obvious that this will never work, but to control what is fed to the press. And unfortunately the press is not yet up to speed to get their informations from a wider number of sources.

    Now with blogging, youtube, flickr etc. there seems to be a much wider range of possible information sources, even harder to suppress than in the past. But today we face the problem which of these sources to trust, there are just so many. There are attempts like newstrust [newstrust.net], which tries to be a sort of slashdot moderation system on top of existing news. But I think we need much more of this. Like greasemonkey allows you to attach things to websites that the authors did not intend to be there, we need the option to attach other sources to any news and have a large body of people vote on which of these sources should be taken into account. I have no clue how to realize this, but this is a typical case: the government using FUD to strengthen their position. People can react and argue with the claims, but there should be a way for these comments to reach the public, not only via sites like slashdot, but by default. With the increase of media sources and media power we have to become better at using and evaluating media as a group, not only as single viewers and readers.

  • I think the author makes some good points, but to say that his time-frame (1990 - 2004) is the "right one" misses the argument the other scientists want to make. They purposely chose 1997 as a starting point because that's when the countries officially decided to do something about greenhouse gas emissions. Nobody's denying that nothing was done pre-1997, so using that data doesn't offer any real insight. Yeah, they still should've used the other 5 greenhouse gases in their analysis, but w/ all the crazy li


  • The whole purpose of data/statistics is to prove your point. The US government has always misrepresented data to prove it's point. Its the 'tail wagging the dog'. Government makes policy, in order to not seem like a tyranny government creates data to justify policy. Let's see, War in Iraq, Spanish American war. I could go on forever this isn't new and we shouldn't' pretend it is. The problem is most people don't understand statistical data. Its not just a matter of greater than or less than, there are so ma
  • Yeah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by iamacat (583406) on Monday June 04, 2007 @07:39PM (#19389127)
    Take a look at US and UK BMW websites. The UK entry level model gets 40MPG, which is not much worse than our Prius. Living proof that we can double our car fuel efficiency NOW if we just stop being apathetic about it. And this is nothing compared to the impact of living in apartments and having a working Metro.
    • Not so simple (Score:3, Informative)

      by DerekLyons (302214)

      Take a look at US and UK BMW websites. The UK entry level model gets 40MPG, which is not much worse than our Prius. Living proof that we can double our car fuel efficiency NOW if we just stop being apathetic about it.

      Is the UK entry level model street legal in the US? Does it meet US emissions and safety requirements? (For that matter, what constitues a 'UK entry level model', as no model is designated as such on the UK BMW website that I can find.)
      • Re:Not so simple (Score:4, Informative)

        by Alioth (221270) <no@spam> on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @05:38AM (#19393749) Journal
        The UK model will meet US safety and emissions standards, but it won't be street legal as-is, due to minor things such as the differences in the kinds of lighting allowed on the vehicle. In the UK fog lights are mandatory, in the US they are illegal. In the UK, flashing brake lights are legal as turn signals, in the UK (on a new car) flashing brake lights are illegal. The steering wheel will be on the wrong side for the US, although that's probably not a street legality problem as the USPS drive right hand drive vehicles.

        It is very likely that BMW makes their cars to pass the country who has the strictest emissions and safety standards, so they can build one body shell and one engine for the whole world as this decreases manufacturing costs.
  • by DebateG (1001165) on Monday June 04, 2007 @07:40PM (#19389143)
    Statistics these days are becoming increasingly worthless, often just used to justify a political agenda on both sides. It's like the old adage says: statistics are like a bikini: what they reveal is interesting, but what they hide is crucial.
    • by Coryoth (254751) on Monday June 04, 2007 @08:32PM (#19389723) Homepage Journal

      Statistics these days are becoming increasingly worthless, often just used to justify a political agenda on both sides.
      And that is very depressing, because it leads to people, such as yourself, simply distrusting all statistics on spec. What's wrong with that? Well once you remove any form of reasoned quantitative analysis from consideration, what is there left to inform decisions with? Gut feeling? Who looks best on camera? Who manages to sound more convincing?

      I would suggest that the problem is not with hard facts and statistics, but rather with a populace that is poorly educated in statistics and a media that is unwilling to actually analyze the statistics (and present that analysis) for fear of offending or boring an apathetic and relatively innumerate populace.
  • Why, I'll see your see misuse of scientific data by the right wing with a misuse of scientific data by the left!

    a) Including 1990 as a base year for European emissions is wrong for a couple of reasons. First, up until very recently European economic growth has badly lagged that of the USA. When there is less growth, there is less emissions. Even now, European economic growth lags, as a rule. When you have 10% of your people unemployed, as the French do, it does not take them much CO2 to drive to work, as there is no work to drive to. Secondly, Europeans have been furiously gaming emissions in their own right. There's been rampant adjusting of the baseline in order to improve their own greenhouse picture. So, the real question is, are the Europeans actually seriously making their targets, or are they simply patting themselves on the back for the slow growth side effects of the nanny state.

    b) The gases described by the convention do not include water vapor, which constitutes the bulk of global warming.

    c) All climate conventions these days presuppose that a reduction in manmade emissions will correct the atmospheric balance of gasses, and, that, by doing so, our climate will revert to some imagined ideal state of 1700, which was in the middle of an ice age, and a billion people will easily starve to death because of a shortened growing season. This will be almost as stupid as the wide spread left wing opposition to nuclear power, which essentially doomed us to global warming to begin with. Really, if the USA had gone 100% nuclear, there would be no global warming, and, so really, all of this finger pointing at Republicans over global warming is an elaborate smokescreen to say that you Lefties once again f=== up the planet and want we superior Bush supporters to bail you out.

    We told you what the answer was : Build Nukes. Build Hydro. If you don't like it, that's your problem.

    I think anyone can see that humanity needs to manage the atmospheric mixture of gases. We manage the acidity of our soils to grow things, we build dams around rivers and levees around the sea. It only stands to reason that we should do battle with mother nature and preserve some happy mix of gases to benefit humanity. So, where is the call to actually build a technology that sequesters excess gases from the atmosphere? Why can't we research and build machines that eat CO2 and turn it into carbon and oxygen? Sure, the energy required to split that up is enormous, but, that's what nukes are for. Do we really seriously build an atmospheric management strategy that a geologically active planet with a radioactive core and a radically diverse ecosystem will not on occasion enter an atmospheric state on its own that we should control? What if we discover some giant CO2 source on the ocean floor that we never considered before?

    Let's pursue a strategy of building nuclear plants to reduce our own emissions, and then, while we are at it, build a machine to manage the atmosphere.
  • by plams (744927) on Monday June 04, 2007 @07:49PM (#19389265) Homepage
    Calm down! Relax! It's all part of a carefully orchestrated plan; when we eventually begin to get severely affected by global warming, the US war mongering will reach a point where nuclear winter will cancel it out.
  • by OakLEE (91103) on Monday June 04, 2007 @07:51PM (#19389283)
    The summary's claim is that the White House is selectively using data points, and to an extent that is true. They base their claims on an index comparison that starts at the year 2000. When you view the data this way, it does appear that the EU's Greenhouse Gas emissions have gone up, while the US's have declined/been neutral. The article prefers on the other hand to index at 1990, which shows that over the last 14 years of data that the US's emissions have increased dramatically compared to the EU.

    Now here's my first problem: the accusation assumes that 2000 is not a good index year, which it is. If the Bush Administration wants to make the case that they (The Bush Administration) have been more successful than the EU in reducing emissions, then the logical start point for comparison is about when they took over which would be 2001.

    Now, the article points out correctly that Greenhouse emissions tend to drop during economic slowdowns. One can see that easily by looking at the graph at the end of it (the US has a drop in 1991; the EU has a drop from 92-96; the US has another drop from 00-01). If one takes these economic slowdowns into account, then 2000, the peak of the last economy, might very well be a good starting point for the Administration to start their indexing from. Why should they have to take into account the failures of past administrations (Bush I, and Clinton) when touting the success of their administration? If, hypothetically, US emissions had decreased from 1990 to 2000 and increased from 2000 to 2004, would it be fair for the Bush Administration to take the earlier data into account and claim that they had reduced emissions? No, that would be taking credit for progress they did not make. The same principle applies reverse.

    The article also brings about a perpetual flaw in any sort of greenhouse gas analysis. It completely ignores economic growth and the effect it has on increasing emissions (which it candidly points out by the way). During much of the mid-90s the US economy was booming, especially compared to the EU, so of course there was going to be an increase in emissions from 1991-2000. Additionally, these indexes fail to take into account the size of the economic growth when making the comparison. If we really want a useful measure, we should be tracking "Volume of Emissions per Unit of GDP Growth." That way we could judge economies based on their environmental efficiency rather just on pure volumetric data.
    • by Red Flayer (890720) on Monday June 04, 2007 @08:49PM (#19389931) Journal

      If the Bush Administration wants to make the case that they (The Bush Administration) have been more successful than the EU in reducing emissions, then the logical start point for comparison is about when they took over which would be 2001.
      Except that's not the case they want to make -- they want to make the case that the US has been doing better than the EU, not just their administration.

      As for GDP/CO2 ratios, your (somewhat) trusted friend wikipedia will show you that the US ranks 39th [wikipedia.org] as of 2002 -- but note that the linked chart uses 2002 CO2 emissions with estimated 2005 GDP. Slightly better than the world average, but near the bottom of developed countries. As for CO2 per GDP, the USDOE publishes those figures -- here's an xls file for metric tons CO2 per $1000 of GDP 1980 - 2004 [doe.gov] (year 2000 dollars, using purchase parity figures). I think you'll find the data useful -- it shows that the US is one of the least efficient in terms of CO2 output, particularly large nations.

      2004: 138th out of 195 entities with data.
      2000: 137th
      1997: 139th
      1990: 135th.

      So, the US has made recent gains on worldwide ranking -- but really, why should the U.S. be proud of slightly improved mediocrity?

      I just wanted to comment again on the validity of the current administration looking at figures from 2000 onward. Sure, they shouldn't take credit/blame for gains/losses in productivity vs. CO2 output for years prior to 2000. Then again, they shouldn't take much credit/blame for the ratio after 2000, either. Most of the policies and economic circumstances that resulted in figures for the several years after 2000 occurred before Bush took office. Not only that, but little of it is within direct control of the administration. If you want to look at the impact the Bush administration has had on CO2 outputs, you'll need to look at 2003-4 to 2010, at least.
  • ...there's Lies, Damned Lies and Scientific Facts!

    (At least I think it was something like that... I really think I shoulda wrote that down.)
  • by writerjosh (862522) on Monday June 04, 2007 @08:11PM (#19389479) Homepage
    This most shocking thing in this article is not that the White House cherry-picks data, but that the White House (and the Conservatives in general) have finally got on board with the whole "climate change" thing. Go back 5 years and you would be called crazy if you said greenhouse gasses are aiding global warming (notice the alternate term: "climate change" instead of "global warming" - Conservatives wouldn't dare agree with Liberals and call it "global warming").

    Don't get me wrong, I'm glad they're finally getting what Liberals have been shouting for decades. It's just shocking that they're only agreeing with the science now.

    Now all we have to do is wait 30 more years for Conservatives to accept evolution. :)
  • by deek (22697) on Monday June 04, 2007 @09:18PM (#19390249) Homepage Journal
    ... how did the Iraqi Information Minister make it into the staff of the US White House?
  • by JustNiz (692889) on Monday June 04, 2007 @09:31PM (#19390409)
    that the Whitehouse seems to actually expect that intelligent people won't see right through their argument.

    The other thing that gets me is that most Americans seem to prefer to believe the Whitehouse's argument because it conveniently eliminates their need to take responsibility for their own pollution.

    The third thing that gets me is that even though its actually just stating true facts, this post will probably be moderated (by an American) as 'Flamebait' or 'Troll' just so they can continue to live in denial.
  • by fishthegeek (943099) on Monday June 04, 2007 @09:36PM (#19390489) Journal
    Europe as a whole has a declining population. Typically a nation has to have a birth rate of 2.1 children per woman in order to sustain it's population. Europe's number of births per woman in 2004 was 1.45 while the United States has actually managed an average of 2.09 births per woman.

    I wouldn't readily accept that policy alone accounts for differences in a regions rate of pollution as much as there are gradually fewer and fewer people that are engaging in pollution causing activities. I'm not discounting the influence of policy but I would like to suggest that any analysis of the situation should take into account declining population.... especially in the middle and upper classes of the region.

    This article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sub-replacement_ferti lity should suffice for anyone wanting more information.
  • by nysus (162232) on Monday June 04, 2007 @10:33PM (#19391013)
    If those fuckers are willing to lie to us, then get them the fuck out of office. Mod me down for inflammatory language but it needs to be said.
  • EU expansion (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Madcapjack (635982) on Monday June 04, 2007 @11:35PM (#19391541)
    Ok, so why did the EU's carbon-dioxide emissions increase by so much in 2000-2004? Could it have been in part because the EU expanded during this time to include, for example, Poland? Does anyone here know what the status is on this?
  • by OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @04:25AM (#19393357) Homepage
    It's purely political. Now you might say the same about U.S. DOE releases.

    But I refuse - completely - to read any "scientific" report that has "bush is evil" and "the washington times had the nerve to discredit me" on the first page.

    Why ? Because such statements DO NOT belong in a scientific study. Neutral references from both sides, in peer-reviewed journals, yes. Note that still would mean that the washington times is off limits.

    Also why is the study house so young ?

    There are so many things wrong with calling this a "study" that it's ridiculous.

FORTRAN is for pipe stress freaks and crystallography weenies.

Working...