Bjorn Lomborg On Obama’s Berlin Speech

Blog, Climate, Peter McCaffrey

Bjorn Lomborg reminds us, via his Facebook page, about the giant difference between Obama’s rhetoric and record on yet another issue.

Obama said in his recent speech in Berlin:

“In the United States, we have recently doubled our renewable energy from clean sources like wind and solar power. We’re doubling fuel efficiency on our cars. Our dangerous carbon emissions have come down. But we know we have to do more — and we will do more.”

Lomborg sums up the actual facts:

In Berlin, Obama proudly confirmed the US has reduced its CO₂ emissions, but entirely neglected to say why: because of US fracking.

The doubling of wind and solar may have reduced CO₂ by 27Mt/yr but the total US reduction is about 800Mt/year, with fracking responsible for 400-500Mt and the recession the rest.

It’s also not a real doubling of vehicle efficient, it’s a projected doubling by 2025:

The doubling of fuel efficiency has done almost nothing; it only reaches a doubling in 2025. Right now there has been just 11% increase in efficiency, which if *nothing* else changed would translate into a reduction of 121Mt/yr, but most of the efficiency is likely to be translated into longer trips and expenses on other carbon-emitting consumption.

A good reminder to check results, not just aspirations, when listening to politicians:

Everyone likes to talk about solar, wind and efficiency, but in reality, these only make up a very small fraction of what can be reduced through fracking. Only talking about ineffective levers means we’ll continue to only enact ineffective climate policies.

Obama would do better telling the straight story.