Earlier this year, Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius created the Kansas Energy and Environmental Policy Advisory Group, or KEEP. Its goal, as stated in the press release announcing its creation, is to “…explore opportunities in all sectors of our economy to accomplish the goal of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions…”
Nancy Jackson of the Climate and Energy Project echoed these marching orders in her recent Wichita Eagle opinion piece.
This predetermined goal, difficult as it will be to achieve, means nothing to the earth’s climate. What Kansas could do, even if we took the most drastic measure possible, is canceled by the action of others.
As reported in Science Daily, “The growth in China’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions is far outpacing previous estimates … Auffhammer [one of the study’s authors] said this paper should serve as an alarm challenging the widely held belief that actions taken by the wealthy, industrialized nations alone represent a viable strategy towards the goal of stabilizing atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide.”
The increase in China’s emissions is staggering and swamps any attempt at reductions by other countries, much less a small state like Kansas. From 2000 to 2010, it is estimated that China’s growth in emissions will be about five times larger than the reductions pledged in the Kyoto Protocol.
How does the growth in China’s emissions compare to Kansas’ emissions? According to the Energy Information Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Energy, in 2005 Kansas produced about 78 million metric tons of carbon emissions from all sources.
Then, according the source in Science Daily, China’s average annual growth in emissions in the current decade is about 60 million tons. So even if Kansas stopped producing all carbon emissions, the effect would be overcome in about 16 months of just the growth in China’s emissions. This doesn’t take into account the huge emissions China already produces, or the rapid growth in other countries.
The reality is that any reduction or even slowing of the growth of carbon emissions in Kansas is meaningless in the context of global emissions. We in Kansas need to ask why our governor and radical environmentalists like Nancy Jackson are willing to sacrifice the economy of Kansas for this ineffectual goal.