Is there actually good news on carbon emissions?

From a recent issue of Nature, from Robert B. Jackson,

Rapid growth in global CO2 emissions from fossil fuels and industry ceased in the past two years, despite continued economic growth. Decreased coal use in China was largely responsible, coupled with slower global growth in petroleum and faster growth in renewables.

I would call that speculative, most of all because we don’t know how much of China’s current economic and thus coal-burning slowdown is cyclical rather than structural.  Still, it might be true.

How much news has this received, relative to the Paris meetings?  Less than a hundredth, I suspect.  Typical readers and viewers are far more interested in the deliberate actions of high-status political leaders than they are interested in underlying structural developments, even when the latter are probably of more import.  We need dramatic stories with prestigious protagonists, leading the way.  Even if some hate those individuals and their status, at least they then have someone to rail against, as indeed you will find in the comments section of this blog, among many other places.

This is just one way in which I feel the world I live in is a delusion and shadow play, relative to the truth.

The original pointer was from Marc Andreessen, with later re-emphasis from Noah Smith.


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