Weatherdem's Weblog

Bridging climate science, citizens, and policy

Putting Cash For Clunkers Environmental “Savings” in Further Context

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I wrote last week that one of the excuses benefits that Cash for Clunkers advocates are pushing is the environmental argument, which I debunked.  To put my debunking in further context, read the following from the original article I linked to:

Calculations by The Associated Press, using Department of Transportation figures, show that replacing those fuel hogs will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by just under 700,000 tons a year. While that may sound impressive, it’s nothing compared to what the U.S. spewed last year: nearly 6.4 billion tons.

Like I said, nothing to get excited about.  Now, read about something mostly unrelated:

China has taken advantage of a drop in electricity demand due to the global financial crisis to speed up a campaign to close small coal-fired power plants.

The latest closures will reduce sulfur dioxide emissions that cause acid rain by an estimated 1.1 million tons and carbon dioxide output by 124 million tons per year.

So Cash for Clunkers is reducing CO2 emissions by 0.5% of what the Chinese are accomplishing by permanently shuttering coal plants.  And we’re supposed to be impressed by that?!


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