Around the country, localities, states and multi-state regions are convening Climate Change Task Forces aimed at developing plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
As the name suggests, these groups have been created to develop Climate Action Plans that are intended to lessen the projected impacts of anthropogenic climate change around the world in general, but more particularly, in each state.
In every case, the Action Plans include a lengthy list of cookie-cut, prescribed actions spread across all segments of society, and that are aimed towards reducing future emissions of greenhouse gases to a level below some arbitrarily set target. In no case do any of the Plans lay out what quantified effects their recommended emissions cuts will have on local, regional or global climate. The reason why not? None of the Climate Action Plans will have any meaningful effect on the climate – or any change in future temperatures or sea levels.
In 2007, global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) — the primary greenhouse gas emitted by human industrial activities — totaled 27,600 million metric tons (mmtCO2). The United States, as a whole, contributed 5,900 mmtCO2 to that total, or about 21.4%. Individual localities, states, etc., contributed much less (see columns 2 and 3 in the Table below for a state by state breakdown of total and percentage of global emissions).
Even more importantly, the percentage of global, manmade CO2 emissions from the U. S. (and each individual state) will decrease over the 21st century as the growing demand for power in developing countries such as China and India – and beginning in 2012, the Middle East – rapidly outpaces the growth of our CO2 emissions (EIA, 2007).
During the past 5 years, global emissions of CO2 from human activity have increased at an average rate of 3.5%/yr, with China alone contributing nearly 2/3rds of the new emissions (Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, 2008). This means that the...