Ignore the greens and innovate, and you will cut carbon. Pay a lot of attention to them, spend a lot of money — and you will keep carbon emissions unchanged.
As activists in Rio and around the world mourned the failure of yet another useless summit to do anything about climate change, good news on the CO2 front was coming from the country greens love to hate: the US.
While Europe has adopted a plethora of expensive laws without any significant effect on CO2 emissions, the US is substantially reducing its emissions even as air pollution levels drop. As a CNN report puts it:
Despite there being no real effort by Congress to addressglobal warming and America’s longstanding reputation as an energy hog, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions are falling.
The lackluster economy has something to do with it. But it doesn’t fully explain what’s happening. Consider that even factoring in a stronger economy, forecasters see greenhouse gas emissions continuing to fall.
It’s possible the country may meet its pledge to reduce emissions 17% by 2020.
The secret isn’t laws, green activism or regulations (although these do have roles to play). Innovation is the force that is enabling the cut in US carbon emissions. Specifically, the new ways of extracting natural gas that make have driven a natural gas boom in this country and dramatically cut the cost of the cleanest hydrocarbon energy source of them all.