Politics

Professor Wrong on Emissions During Global Warming Debate

| by The Heartland Institute

By James Taylor

Global warming alarmist Andy Dessler, a professor at Texas A&M University, was caught misrepresenting U.S. carbon dioxide data during a November 9 Public Radio International debate with Heartland Institute Senior Fellow James M. Taylor.

After Taylor stated that U.S. carbon dioxide emissions have declined since the year 2000, Dessler aggressively criticized Taylor, asserting that Taylor was either deliberately spreading misinformation or had absolutely no knowledge of the facts. Dessler claimed, instead, that U.S. carbon dioxide emissions are "rapidly going up."

Given a chance to respond, Taylor pointed to EPA data showing a decline in U.S. carbon dioxide emissions since the year 2000, and invited listeners to look up the data for themselves. Dessler again aggressively criticized Taylor, doubling down on his assertion that U.S. carbon dioxide emissions are rising rapidly.

According to EPA data, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions totaled 5,977 teragrams in 2000. As of 2008, emissions had fallen to 5,921 teragrams, according to EPA figures. Emissions fell by another 7 percent in 2009, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (official EPA data for the year 2009 have yet to be released). According to EIA, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions have fallen an average of roughly 1 percent per year since the year 2000.

As Reuters reported on May 5, 2010, "From 2000 to 2009 the U.S. annual emissions decline averaged 0.9 percent, the EIA said."

“It was not surprising, given his prior misrepresentations about global warming, that Andy Dessler would cavalierly assert that U.S. carbon dioxide emissions are skyrocketing when in fact they are declining. Activists such as Dessler frequently lie about the facts when they think nobody will call them on it. What was surprising was that Dessler would publicly and aggressively accuse me of lying about the data when he either knew that I was right or was himself ignorant of these critically important facts,” Taylor explained.

“When I said U.S. carbon dioxide emissions have declined since the year 2000, I spoke the truth, whether Dessler liked the truth or not,” said Taylor. “Dessler owes me an apology after falsely and repeatedly accusing me, in front of a national audience, of lying about the data.”

“Dessler had already lost all credibility among knowledgeable listeners when he asserted that only about 10 climate scientists in the world disagreed with his alarmist global warming assertions. On that count, however, we can give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he simply lacks the diligence to read the scientific literature,” said Taylor.