Retrospective Review

Brian Hicks

Written By Brian Hicks

Posted April 29, 2011

During the height of the recession in 2009 greenhouse gas emissions were down 5.6% in industrialized nations.

Forty nations decreased their emissions to 16.5 billion tones of carbon dioxide in 2009 from 17.4 billion in 2008.

Although there was a slight decline from 2000-2009 of 0.9% annually, the decline in 2009 was significant because emissions fell in every single industrialized nation by astronomical amounts.

The EIA reported the U.S. saw its largest absolute and percentage decrease in 60 years — reporting a 405 million metric ton, or 7%, decline.

The European Union also decreased emissions by 7.2% and Russia by 3.2%.

But as economies came back from the recession in 2010 it’s likely official data will show emissions increased again.

Some early official data for 2010 already show an increase in greenhouse gas emissions.

The 2009 decrease worries many energy analysts because the decline is misleading because it was caused by financial crisis not carbon emission reduction strategies.

Recession is not, nor do we want it to be, a long-term solution to our global pollution problem.

It is simply an explanation for the impressive decline reported by the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat.

Industrialized nations still have a long way to go before they can back off from finding long-term reduction strategies and non-polluting energies considering the United Nations says current pledges to curb global climate change fall short.

Industrial governments cannot triumph over the decline and let climate change take the back seat.

If anything, the 2009 recession-related decline proves our energy consumption does not need to be as a high.

Until next time,


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