Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Here's the text of an email I just sent to Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) on seeing him quoted as saying he is "cynical" about global warming science (I'm sure he meant to say "skeptical"...)

On his Senate website he posted concerns about Kerry-Boxer (full text available
here ) that ss. 705 and 707 would empower the President to direct the Federal government to use all existing powers to try to cut U.S. GHG emissions if global CO2-eq concentration reaches 450ppm. He claims this 'trigger' would go off "within months" of enactment. That didn't sound right to me, so I dug around a bit for forecasts. Here's what I came up with:


Dear Sen. Vitter,

On your website you state that the 450 ppm CO2-eq "trigger" would be reached "within months" of enactment. I don't agree. Current CO2-eq is 400 ppm, rising around 2.5 ppm / year. In projections that factor in emission reductions that countries have already committed to, the world should not reach 450ppm CO2-eq before 2037. Even projecting Business As Usual (ignoring all existing reduction commitments, as if everyone quit trying entirely) the world would not reach 450ppm CO2-eq until 2032. So while the trigger could indeed come into effect in some *decades*, I think "within months" greatly overstates the matter.
Data source (very detailed projections for several possible policy outcomes):
http://www.climateinteractive.com/state-of-the-global-deal/data-and-references/data-and-references

Yours Truly,
Jim Prall
U.S. citizen