U.S. greenhouse emissions have fallen since 2000


Emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses remained level during the administration of George W. Bush and actually fell during the administration of Barack Obama, even though economic output rose.

This means that economic growth doesn’t depend on making global warming worse.  It means that, to the contrary, it is feasible to do something about global climate change.

It won’t mean that the Greenland ice cap will stop melting or the American Southwest will stop suffering from drought or coastal cities such as Miami or Houston will be safe.  It took a long time to create the buildup of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, and it will be a long time before they go away.

The benefit of reducing greenhouse gasses will go to future generations, not to us.  But is good news, just the same.

Part of this is due to technological progress, which has made renewal energy competitive (or more nearly competitive) with fossil fuels.  But credit also is due to the actions of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy under President Bush and especially President Obama.

Sadly, this may all change for the worse under President Donald Trump, who denies the reality of human-made climate change and is filling his administration with climate change deniers.


Climate Change Is Costly, Serious Climate Policy Is a Bargain by Guest Author for The Big Picture.  This is the source of the chart.

Climate urgency: we’ve locked in more global warming than people realize by Dana Nuccitelli for The Guardian.

Trump’s transition: Skeptics guide every agency dealing with climate change by Oliver Milman for The Guardian.

A Running List of Climate Change Deniers Joining the Trump Administration by Jeremy Schulman for Mother Jones.

Why the Global Warming Skeptics Are Wrong by William D. Nordhaus for The New York Review of Books.


I stand by my criticisms of President Obama for promoting hydraulic fracturing for natural gas and offshore oil drilling, but I failed to give him due credit for his accomplishments on limiting the burning of coal.  On environmental issues, he will have been infinitely preferable to President Trump.

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