The Energy Information Administration has reported the carbon dioxide emissions in the United States actually dropped by 1.3 percent in 2006 compared to the previous year. That's the first actual decline since 2001 and the first time since 1990 that it has dropped during a year of economic growth. Emissions dropped in 2001 largely due to a shrinking economy that resulted from recession.

As expected, the president took the opportunity to brag about how his policies and regulations have started to have an impact on climate change. He claimed that among other factors that contributed to the drop of 78 million tons were whether weather conditions that allowed for reduced use of heating and air conditioning and higher gas prices that caused customers to conserve more. More likely, any reduction in heating and cooling use was due to rising prices causing people to adjust their thermostats.

Any reduction in gasoline use was probably a combination of some older cars wearing out and reduced consumption due to high gas prices. Although a one year reduction is a good first step if it is indeed real, we need sustained reductions in fossil fuel use across the board to address both environmental and national security concerns. Given this administration's history with manipulating data it remains to be seen if these numbers are accurate and whether it is the start of a real trend or just a statistical blip.

[Source: Washington Post]

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