Hudson Institute’s Dennis Avery: ‘I Stand Corrected’ On My Lie That Carbon Dioxide Levels Are Declining

Conservative economist Dennis Avery, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and one of Marc Morano’s climate denial jokers, claimed today on a right-wing website that the “atmospheric CO2 levels at Hawaii’s Mauna Loa observatory have declined since 2004”:

How can this be when humans keep emitting more greenhouse gases? Could declining atmospheric CO2 levels mean that the whole Greenhouse Warming theory is collapsing?

In fact, carbon dioxide levels measured since 1958 at the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s Mauna Loa Observatory have continued their inexorable rise, going from an average of 376 to 385 parts per million from 2004 to 2009:

CO2 trend

Avery’s claim was based on a post on Morano climate denial joker Anthony Watts‘ blog, which implied that carbon dioxide growth rates have been going down. As Joe Romm noted at Climate Progress, “Dennis Avery doesn’t know the difference between growth and growth rate.”

In a telephone interview with the Wonk Room, Avery admitted his error:

I stand corrected . . . I apparently misstated the case.

Furthermore, the post Avery misinterpreted was nonsensical as well. Craig Loehle, principal scientist with the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement, the forest products industry’s “research institute,” drew an “eyeball trend line for the peaks” of a chart of monthly carbon dioxide growth rates by Morano joker Alan Siddons. Despite Loehle’s ability to draw lines on charts, carbon dioxide is piling up in the atmosphere faster than ever:

CO2 Growth Rate chart

To reiterate, carbon dioxide levels are continuing to increase. And the increase is getting faster. In the 1960s, carbon dioxide levels were going up an average rate of less than one part per million each year. Since 2000, carbon dioxide levels have been rising at an average annual rate of two parts per million. Avery and Loehle weren’t just wrong — they’re dead wrong.

The Wonk Room appreciates Avery’s willingness to admit one mistake. But we doubt this marks the beginning of a trend.

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