Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Wall Street Journal Asks "Where's the CO2?"

Have you ever wondered where all that CO2 humanity is pumping out year after year is coming from? Well leave it to the folks at the Wall Street Journal to come up with a lovely interactive graphic that shows exactly where the CO2 comes from. Unfortunately the WSJ hasn't discovered the miracle of embedding applets yet, so you can check it out here.

A few interesting tidbits:
  1. The ratio of CO2 output to worldwide GDP has actually dropped by a third in the last 40 years, meaning that it is absolutely possible to grow the economy without pumping out more CO2.
  2. The #1 anthropogenic source of CO2 is - you guessed it - coal. The WSJ does not, however, include things like CO2 from deforestation, which may be an even bigger net effect since you have both the loss of a carbon sink and a carbon source.
  3. The fastest growing source of energy in the last decade is - you guessed it again - coal. Unfortunately it's cheap, easy, and dirty.


  1. Nick, those are some really interesting tidbits.

    I think that's what the name of the game should be: find ways to cut CO2 where the economy can still grow and expand at least as fast as if they weren't cut.

  2. I don't see how (1) follows logically. Although maybe we're equivocating over the meaning of economy. The real issue is of course the per capita GDP.

    I do agree we have to do something about coal. I note that Obama is starting to be more favorable about nuclear. Unfortunately environmentalists are really blocking a lot of the changes that need to take place for us to resolve global warming. (i.e. power line creation to improve the grid so solar in eastern California, Nevada, Arizona and Utah can be brought into more play)


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