Readers may remember Pat Michaels, who authored a paper one that “disproved” global warming by deliberately removing almost one-third of the satellite data from his analysis and co-operated with Ross McKitrick on another paper that managed to “prove” that global warming wasn’t happening by mixing up degrees with radians. Alan Anderson has responded to my criticism of his claim that Kyoto was a dastardly EU plot to cripple the US economy by offering up an article by … Pat Michaels.
I’m afraid that this article is up to Michael’s usual standards. He constructs a measure of carbon efficiency by dividing a country’s CO2 emissions per unit of GDP by the area of that country. His rationale for this is that larger countries have to consume more energy on transportation. But Michael’s measure makes absolutely no sense at all.
- While it is true that in a larger country you can travel further inside the country, that distance is not proportional to the area of the country. For instance, if country A is twice as far from North to South and twice as far from East to West as country B, then the area of country A is four times that of country B, but you can only travel twice as far in country A.
- Imagine dividing the US into two equal sized countries. By Michael’s measure the efficiency of each piece is half that of the US, even though nothing else has changed. The reason is that Michael’s measure does not include international travel at all.
If you wanted to do a competent job of estimating the effects of Kyoto on transport in different countries you would need to show that the fraction of energy consumed by transportation is significantly different in each country, and that transportation would be particularly affected by Kyoto. Michaels does none of this, instead presenting his bogus measure as if it meant something.
Michaels also falsely claims that Kyoto “would cost us about 3 percent of GDP per year”. In fact, an extensive comparison of several studies finds:
All the studies project irreducible losses to the economy that are small (less than 1 percent of GDP in 2010 and 2020) in absolute magnitude
Why did Michaels advance such a nonsensical measure? It couldn’t have anything to do with funding by coal and oil interests, could it?
Update: Anderson has another post where he offers an article by Christopher Horner in another attempt to support his position:
For any other ignorant types out there who prefer factual arguments to rhetoric, here is an interesting article about the next likely step in the EU’s campaign to undermine US economic competitive advantage under the aegis of fighting climate change.
Here are some of the alleged “factual arguments”:
Doubtless accompanied by specious claims of scientific certainty, its plea would claim that the U.S. refusal to follow the EU’s greenhouse gas (Kyoto) path constitutes impermissible protectionism and/or “eco-dumping.” Incredibly, the WTO has indicated a willingness to accept such an argument, also advocated by some as a path to “harmonize” the otherwise incompatible pro-trade and anti-energy pacts….
mindless carbon dioxide suppression….
Any treaty threatening the economic health of nations will ultimately collapse of its own potential harm, though not without first wreaking havoc…
one important step would be to abandon Kyoto once and for all, with its built-in appeasement of ideological extremists seeking to impede global prosperity…
Of course, these aren’t “factual arguments”. For example, Horner offers no evidence that Kyoto will wreak havoc, no evidence that Kyoto is intended to appease “ideological extremists”, no evidence that the people who designed Kyoto are “mindless” and no evidence that the plea to the WTO was accompanied by “specious claims of scientific certainty. Nor is there any reason to believe that these “factual arguments” are accurate—they are nothing more than empty rhetoric, deployed because the actual facts are not helpful to Horner.
And guess who employs Horner to write this rubbish? The Competitive Enterprise Institute. Readers may recall fellow CEI employee Paul Georgia, who told the world that average temperature had no physical meaning. And Iain Murray, another CEI employess, who tried to rewrite basic epidemilogical principles and insisted that the evidence for global warming was cooked up. The CEI warns people that using Linux is legally risky, attacked the FDA when it proposed regulating tobacco, and relentlessly attacks Kyoto. It is no doubt just a coincidence that the CEI receives extensive funding from Microsoft, Philip Morris and Exxon.