Texas state climatologist disputes states anti-science petition: Greenhouse gases “clearly present a danger to the public welfare.”

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"Texas state climatologist disputes states anti-science petition: Greenhouse gases “clearly present a danger to the public welfare.”"

Texas’s own state climatologist can find no scientific basis in his state’s effort to roll back the EPA’s finding that greenhouse gases endanger the public, as Brad Johnson reports in this Wonkroom repost:

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (R-TX) filed paperwork to challenge the Environmental Protection Agency’s endangerment finding yesterday, with the approval of Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX). Dismissing threats like sea level rise, droughts, and floods that global warming poses to Texas, the petition calls for the finding to be reconsidered, based on the argument that the EPA relies primarily on the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), an institution guilty of “serious misconduct“:

Thus, in light of the serious misconduct the State has demonstrated””data manipulation, loss or destruction information, reliance on questionable source materials, abuse of the peer review process, suppression dissent, conflicts of interest, and failure to comply with freedom of information laws“”the EPA should grant this petition and reconsider the Endangerment Finding.

Abbott’s petition takes the “Climategate” conspiracy theories of climate deniers as fact, spinning a tale of “a cadre of activist scientists colluding and scheming to advance what they want the science to be.”

If there is such a conspiracy, it’s extended its tendrils deep into the heart of Texas. In an email interview, Texas State Climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon utterly dismissed the attacks on climate science in Attorney General Abbott’s petition. After explaining that natural concentrations of greenhouse gases are essential to life on this planet, Dr. Nielsen-Gammon continues:

However, it is also apparent that if atmospheric concentrations of the six greenhouse gases continue to rise due to human influence, the Earth would eventually reach a point where there would be massive disruptions of ecosystems, changes in sea level, decreases in air quality, and so forth that would, in particular, substantially harm the public welfare of those generations forced to experience them. So anthropogenic increases of greenhouse gas concentrations clearly present a danger to the public welfare, and I agree with the EPA’s findings in that sense.

Nielson-Gammon “” who notes at his blog Atmo.Sphere that he did not participate in preparing the petition “” also concludes that the IPCC, United States Global Change Research Program, and National Academy of Science reports on climate change are the “most comprehensive, balanced assessments of climate change science presently available”:

Do I think that the EPA based its assessment on sound science? I think, by basing its assessments on the IPCC, USGCRP, and NAS reports, it was basing its assessments on the best available science. I have the expertise to independently evaluate the quality of these reports, and on the whole they constitute in my opinion the most comprehensive, balanced assessments of climate change science presently available.

Although he expressed concerns with the potential cost of greenhouse gas emissions controls, and believes that climate science has “a tendency to focus on the risks and bad consequences of global warming” instead of “potential benefits,” he knows of no reason to doubt that the planet is warming, that greenhouse gases are involved, and that sea levels are rising.

Full text of email interview with Dr. Nielsen-Gammon:

WONK ROOM: I would like to know if your research and/or your understanding of the science of climate change gives you any reason to believe that the assessment that greenhouse gases are threatening public welfare (through such means, with varying degrees of certainty, as adverse impacts in the areas of water resources and sea level rise and coastal areas, increases in wildfires, changes in air quality, increases in temperatures, changes in extreme weather events, increases in food- and water-borne pathogens, changes in aeroallergens) is not based on sound science.

NIELSEN-GAMMON: There are two separate questions interwoven here. One might be phrased as follows: Based on your research and understanding of the science of climate change, do you believe that those six particular greenhouse gases endanger both the public health and public welfare of current and future generations in the United States? In other words, do you agree with the EPA’s finding?

Unfortunately, the EPA is compelled to give a “thumbs up” or a “thumbs down” to a statement that doesn’t really fit greenhouse gases very well. CO2, for example, contributes several degrees to the greenhouse effect, and without CO2’s contribution, we would still be in a glacial period, with much or most of the continental United States covered by an ice sheet. So these gases as a whole can be regarded as essential to the public welfare, even limiting consideration to their greenhouse properties and ignoring the other essential aspects of CO2 for life on this planet.

However, it is also apparent that if atmospheric concentrations of the six greenhouse gases continue to rise due to human influence, the Earth would eventually reach a point where there would be massive disruptions of ecosystems, changes in sea level, decreases in air quality, and so forth that would, in particular, substantially harm the public welfare of those generations forced to experience them. So anthropogenic increases of greenhouse gas concentrations clearly present a danger to the public welfare, and I agree with the EPA’s findings in that sense.

But an important question becomes the point at which the danger to the public welfare exceeds the cost to the United States of attempting to reduce the global concentrations of greenhouse gases, or at least check their rise. I’m not a legal expert, but it’s not clear to me that the Clean Air Act allows the EPA to do that sort of balancing. To the extent that there are win-win regulations (net immediate collateral benefit to the public welfare, net long-term benefit through reduction in greenhouse gases), they should be fair game for the EPA, but beyond that it’s quite a challenge to balance the short-term harm vs. long-term benefit of any EPA regulations.

I also assert that my own assessment of these issues is based on sound science.

The second question would be: Do I think that the EPA based its assessment on sound science? I think, by basing its assessments on the IPCC, USGCRP, and NAS reports, it was basing its assessments on the best available science. I have the expertise to independently evaluate the quality of these reports, and on the whole they constitute in my opinion the most comprehensive, balanced assessments of climate change science presently available. I also believe that the reports, as well as climate impact science in general, have a tendency to focus on the risks and bad consequences of global warming at the expense of discussing potential benefits.

WONK ROOM: Do you know of any particular reason to doubt that the planet is warming, that greenhouse gases are involved, and that sea levels are rising?

NIELSEN-GAMMON: No.

WONK ROOM: I’m also interested if there are any specific risks relevant to Texas.

NIELSEN-GAMMON: Potential Texas vulnerabilities include sea level rises, droughts, floods, estuarine ecosystems, and agricultural productivity. The possible adverse economic impact of future greenhouse gas emission control strategies on Texas industries also represents a risk associated with global warming.

Update:
Dr. Andrew Dessler, a climatologist at Texas A&M University and author of The Science and Politics of Global Climate Change, tells the Wonk Room in an email interview that the entire Department of Atmospheric Sciences agrees with the IPCC:

I, along with all of the other faculty in the department, agree with the main conclusions of the IPCC.”

In 2007, the Texas A&M Department of Atmospheric Sciences issued a statement that global warming from emissions of greenhouse gases risks “serious adverse impacts on our environment and society” — the key basis for the EPA’s endangerment finding:

1. It is virtually certain that the climate is warming, and that it has warmed by about 0.7 deg. C over the last 100 years.
2. It is very likely that humans are responsible for most of the recent warming.
3. If we do nothing to reduce our emissions of greenhouse gases, future warming will likely be at least two degrees Celsius over the next century.
4. Such a climate change brings with it a risk of serious adverse impacts on our environment and society.

When asked if the latest attacks on the IPCC affect their stance, Dr. Dessler responded that “the Department stands by its statement. You can quote me on that.”

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25 Responses to Texas state climatologist disputes states anti-science petition: Greenhouse gases “clearly present a danger to the public welfare.”

  1. mike roddy says:

    Texas politics is an ongoing comedy of the absurd, but their government and universities fortunately include some very capable people. It’s nice to see that they possess the admirable Texas quality of not being afraid to speak out.

  2. Chris Dudley says:

    GISS January anomaly is out now: tied for second highest with 2002, 2007 is highest: http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata/GLB.Ts+dSST.txt

  3. David says:

    Virginia has joined the same farce. The same day a university released a report on the catastrophic effects sea level rise will have on a major metropolitan area, our new AG joined the same effort to challenge the EPA finding. Because Republican Attorney Generals obviously know a lot more about climate change than some silly scientists.

  4. Robert Nagle says:

    As a Houston climate change activist, I am happy — no overjoyed– that Perry has introduced this petition. By doing so, he has virtually guaranteed that climate change will become a front burner issue in the 2010 governor race. It’s hard for nonTexans to realize how little Texans care about climate change. The issue is always framed as a how-will-it-affect-the-oil-industry issue; now the frame becomes: is Perry right to say that climate change is bogus?

    The great thing about the A&M statement is that Aggies are well-known for their conservative point of view. If their own science departments are saying Perry doesn’t know what he’s talking about, believe me, people will listen.

  5. toby says:

    It is great to see scientists rallying against lies and obscurantism.

  6. Sounds as if Texas is trying a repeat of the first term of George W. Bush. They probably view it as a crowd-pleaser — their crowd, that is.

    It constitutes playing their crowd for suckers. The GOP does this for many issues but,even when they get caught at it (see Rachel Maddow’s program Thursday), the news doesn’t filter back to the crowd because they get so much of their news from talk radio.

  7. George Ennis says:

    I wish I could say I am surprised at what is happening in Texas. But when one considers that many of these same people believe in creationism as science and that the earth is only 6,000 years old, what else could you expect?

    Keep up the fight I have to believe that ultimately science will win out over ignorance, if for no other reason that if science loses, than our children and grandchildren will face a hellish future.

  8. Dean says:

    Nielson-Gammon may not be afraid to speak out, I expect he will be looking for a new job soon. I also think it may be time for the NAS to reiterate – yet again – it’s support for both the process and the conclusions of the IPCC. It should point out that any errors in the reports or problems in process are minor and typical of the scientific process.

  9. Leif says:

    As much as I have fought against the Military and all it stands for over the years, I believe that I may have to re-evaluate my thoughts. The one and only branch of the Government that has the budget and perhaps even the ware-with-all to deal with the impending disruptions could well be the Defense Department. All that is necessary is for the Military to realize that National Security Of the United States in intimately tied into the survival of the whole of humanity in this case. Given the facts, this is not too big a leap in my view. It has been said, and to a degree I agree, that we need a WW II effort for a chance of long term survival. I would however call it a WW III effort fought with a Carbon Tax and environmental mitigation and focused on the well-being of humanity, NOT guns and bombs and humanities ultimate demise.

    I believe that it was Einstein who said: “I do not know the weapons of WW III but WW IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”

    Increasingly, it is looking as if the Military will need to weigh in if for no other reason than to get the “Tin-Hats” to come around and not throw sand in the gears of mitigation.

  10. Jeff Huggins says:

    Sue ExxonMobil

    ExxonMobil Corporation is headquartered in Texas and is incorporated in the Great State of New Jersey, as far as I can tell.

    It’s time for many — as many as possible — responsible citizens’ organizations, rights organizations, organizations that will suffer harm (from climate change), and so forth — to sue them, in my view.

    With all of the main international scientific organizations expressing deep concern about climate change, and the very strong and mounting scientific evidence, and the government’s finding, and key scientists in the State of Texas itself (Bravo to them), … it is quite clear that ExxonMobil’s actions are confusing the public (just look at their statements, who they’ve supported, and etc.), that their actions are sizably contributing to immense damage, that they are being immensely inconsistent when you compare some of their own statements with their own actions, and so forth and so on and etc.

    They are the One-Trillion-Pound-Plus Elephant sitting on the table. Their products, when used, generate more than one Trillion pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere EACH YEAR, as far as a simple calculation suggests. If you take their operations and everything else into account, the number is most likely far more.

    The amount generated, as far as calculations suggest, is greater than the entire weight of the human species living on Earth today. In other words, ExxonMobil and their products generate a mass of CO2 each year, into the atmosphere, that weighs more than the weight of all 6.8 Billion humans combined.

    To be fair and seek accuracy, let’s ask ExxonMobil directly: (By the way, I’ve tried before. In written correspondence, they ignored and dodged the question.)

    Dear ExxonMobil: How much CO2 is generated by the use and combustion of your products that you provide to the public and to other marketplaces each year? For example, take 2008 and 2009 as examples. How many pounds of CO2 were generated in those years by the combustion and use of your (ExxonMobil) products?

    A simple answer would be appreciated, and an honest one of course. After all, you call yourselves a scientific organization. It’s an easy number to calculate. Please let us know!

    And in addition, how much CO2 is generated by your own logistical activities and in your own processing facilities? Please let us know those numbers as well.

    Let’s figure this out: How much CO2 is ExxonMobil responsible for, based on CO2 generation in its own facilities and activities AND based on the CO2 generated when ExxonMobil products are used in their intended uses?

    Joe, let’s ask that question, and ask it again, and ask it again, until it is answered. If ExxonMobil won’t answer it, then let’s let people know BROADLY and LOUDLY, and let’s have a few relevant experts — chemical engineers and/or chemists, for example — make the estimates based on published ExxonMobil statistics. It’s a not-too-difficult calculation.

    Then, at least in my view, relevant organizations and groups should start suing ExxonMobil promptly. Not just for the damages being created, but also (and importantly) for confusing and misleading the public so much that I’d call it fraud, at least in essence and effect, in my view. I’m not a lawyer, but the point is that ExxonMobil is not behaving responsibly, and they should be held to account if that is indeed the case, as it seems clearly to be.

    To the degree possible, I would suggest also naming specific Board Members and corporate execs. They are the decision-makers and the ones permitting and devising the ongoing ExxonMobil actions.

    There is reason to be concerned, in my view. And I have some background that relates to these matters. I was a chemical engineer from Berkeley; graduated second in my class; worked in research for the oil industry; had job offers from Exxon, Shell, and Chevron (and still have the letters); have an MBA from Harvard as a Baker Scholar; have been a McKinsey consultant; and have been following, fairly closely, many of ExxonMobil’s actions, published statistics, and public statements. In my view, there is good reason to begin holding ExxonMobil accountable and to set the stage for doing that by bringing excellent, numerous, fact-based, and responsible lawsuits against them wherever the law allows.

    Bravo to the scientists in Texas who have come out in support of the findings of the major scientific organizations and, thus, in support of science, common sense, and human responsibility!

    If an ExxonMobil spokesperson comes here, onto CP, please come prepared to give us the simple numbers requested above. If you really want to have a genuine, accurate, transparent, and responsible discussion, then you can raise whatever other “points” you like, if you think you are prepared to defend them, but (you must admit) there is no doubt that those numbers are a key part of the story, and there is no good reason why you shouldn’t provide them and admit them. How much CO2 is generated by you directly, as a company, in your operations and facilities? And, how much CO2 is generated when ExxonMobil products are actually used in their normal uses as fuels and etc.? Each year. Let us know please.

    Thank you.

    Sigh,

    Jeff

  11. John N-G says:

    I appreciate the coverage, but want to note that Brad Johnson (Wonk Room) was kind enough to post my comment below as an update to his story. It is equally relevant here:

    “Just to be clear, I do not “utterly dismiss” the Texas petition. I have contributed to pointing out errors in the IPCC reports in my own blog, and it is appropriate for the State of Texas to inquire how much of the IPCC findings will ultimately be called into question. Nor would my considered scientific opinion constitute adequate independent grounds for an EPA finding.”

    Texas’s petition does not argue that greenhouse gases present no danger, it argues that the IPCC is not entitled to a blanket assumption of authority independent of the EPA director’s own judgment.

    – John Nielsen-Gammon
    Texas State Climatologist

  12. Leif says:

    Hi Jeff: I continue to enjoy and respect your posts and humbly make a small suggestion.

    Instead of a “sigh” how about a “Fist Held High”…

    Two Palms Up, Leif

  13. Dorothy says:

    This story might help explain the Texan mentality. Read “Meet the Flintstones” – http://www.texastribune.org/stories/2010/feb/17/meet-flintstones/, by Ross Ramsay, February 17.

    “Nearly a third of Texans believe humans and dinosaurs roamed the earth at the same time, and more than half disagree with the theory that humans developed from earlier species of animals, according to the University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.”

    Maybe there is something to that Lewis Black joke about so many Americans thinking “The Flintstones” is a documentary.

  14. Jeff Huggins says:

    And For The Record (relating to my comment number 10, titled “Sue ExxonMobil”)

    Just for the record and for the info of people here …

    I had written to ExxonMobil’s Adrienne Fleming regarding questions relating to the amount of CO2 generated by ExxonMobil products, back on September 2 of last year. At that time, I copied Joe, Andy Revkin, and William George on my message to Adrienne. (William George is a member of ExxonMobil’s Board of Directors and a Professor at Harvard Business School, and he and I have corresponded briefly in the past.) On September 4, I received a direct response, via e-mail, from ExxonMobil’s Alan T. Jeffers, which avoided the question and didn’t answer it.

    I am hopeful that either Adrienne Fleming, and/or Alan T. Jeffers, and/or someone else in an official capacity at ExxonMobil, will come here (to CP) and provide for us the two figures requested. That would seem to be the honest and transparent and credible thing to do, don’t you think?

    If they don’t, I would hope that Joe or Andrew Revkin, or anyone else reading here, would call and encourage Adrienne and/or Alan to visit here and to provide us with those simple numbers. ExxonMobil should have provided those simple numbers LONG AGO. After all, they tell us (in ads) how much CO2 YOU — yes YOU — can save if you inflate your tires better or if you would only purchase ExxonMobil’s brand of motor oil. So, why shouldn’t they be able to tell us how much CO2 the products they sell us generate in the first place?? Fair question, I should think!

    Where are you Adrienne, and where are you Alan? We remain here, calling for some simple answers.

    Please, Joe or Andrew or whoever, please call on Adrienne and Alan to provide those basic answers, and let us know if they continue to refuse to do so.

    And maybe Professor William George, of Harvard Business School, will help out on this one, if his role involves responsibility to the future of humankind in any way whatsoever. Professor George, can you please prompt someone at ExxonMobil to tell the public, honestly, how much CO2 ExxonMobil products generate each year, when used, as well as how much CO2 is generated in ExxonMobil’s worldwide activities?

    Thank you. It would be nice to see some honest answers.

    Be Well,

    Jeff

  15. J.A. Turner says:

    Actually, the lawsuits are a great opportunity to expose just how frivolous and self-serving the anti-science movement really is. It’s an opportunity to expose the financial, ideological and political motivations behind the disinformers. When the claims of the plaintiffs are found to be without merit, it might finally give the truth some traction in public opinion. The plaintiffs cannot offer any proof of their position–they can only call expert witnesses whose conflicts of interest can be exposed and whose fallacious arguments can be ripped to shreds.

  16. Leif says:

    How can we as concerned citizens, be expected to make informed decisions, within the democratic system allowed, designed by the framers of the constitution to minimize confrontation within our society, be denied the right to basic information needed to allow humanity to make informed decisions! Humanity NEEDS a seat at the table. Hell, I will even say “please can humanity have a seat at the table” if it will make you feel good, but demand that you admit that we are all in this together.

    (Subject to approver of my peers.)

    Gray Panther

  17. Leif says:

    After all: EXXON and ALL. You are one of us now, the Supreme Court says so!

  18. Robert Nagle says:

    I just wanted to wanted to respond to Jeff Huggins’ Exxon rants (which I generally agree with).

    I hope that it will become an established convention for corporate social responsibility (CSR) reports produced by corporations to spell out gross carbon footprint (before factoring in offsets, etc).

    I suspect the major O&G already have firm numbers (which they haven’t disclosed), but the smaller companies probably aren’t tracking that yet.

    Even if we could cajole Exxom to disclose these figures, I don’t think it would mean much in the abstract. More interesting would be how much does it raise the price of carbon credits for everybody else.

    The big question would be: how much would the typical car owner need to pay in offsets over a year for carbon offsets? Knowing that information helps individuals and cities plan better.

    Frankly though, in my city (Houston) there’s not much more I can do to reduce my oil consumption (other than offsets, which I’m currently doing).

  19. Where’s an honest Bush appointee when you really need one? Somebody get Judge John E. Jones III on the phone, right now.

    Then, with a little science & some rational legal judgment, by this time next year we might see headlines across frontpages across this nation & Britain, if not the Daily Mangle, WSJ, & Houston Chronicle, along the lines of:

    “JUDGMENT DAY: CLIMATE DENIAL ON TRIAL”
    that reports an historic Memorandum Opinion like Dover’s:

    The proper application of both the endorsement and [smell] tests to the facts of this case makes it abundantly clear that the [Texas Climate Change Denial] Policy violates the [Climate Science]. In making this determination, we have addressed the seminal question of whether [Climate Change Denial] is science. We have concluded that it is not, and moreover that [Climate Change Denial] cannot uncouple itself from its [Exxon Mobil money], and thus [Big Oil profits].


    Both Defendants and many of the leading proponents of [Climate Change Denial] make a bedrock assumption which is utterly false. Their presupposition is that the [Anthropogenic Global Warming] theory is antithetical to [Climate Science] and to [science] in general. Repeatedly in this trial, Plaintiffs’ scientific experts testified that the theory of [Anthropogenic Global Warming] represents good science, is overwhelmingly accepted by the scientific community, and that it in no way conflicts with, nor does it deny, the existence of [Climate Change].


    To be sure, the [Anthropogenic Global Warming] theory of [Climate Change] is imperfect. However, the fact that a scientific theory cannot yet render an explanation on every point should not be used as a pretext to thrust an untestable alternative hypothesis grounded in [Anti-science denial & Exxon Mobil money] into the [peer-reviewed] science or to misrepresent well-established scientific propositions.


    The citizens of [Texas] were poorly served by the members of the [Governor’s administration] who [promoted] the [Climate Change Denial] Policy. It is ironic that several of these individuals, who so staunchly and proudly touted their [Anti-science] convictions in public, would time and again lie to cover their tracks and disguise the real purpose behind the [Climate Change Denial].

    Now, that really would be Texico-American History!

  20. Doug Bostrom says:

    This business of finally tackling C02 as a pollutant is certainly increasing the urgency of fossil fuel PR efforts, and no wonder; this is where all the research findings on C02 and climate ultimately smash directly into public policy.

    Fossil fuel interests are staring directly into the abyss and they can see the craters on the bottom made by tetraethyl lead, chloroflourocarbons and the like.

    More, please.

  21. Jeff Huggins says:

    Dear Scientists and Engineers: Help Inform Your Fellow Humans: A Contest!

    SADLY, the nation’s most mammoth-like, profitable, and stubborn-minded company does not seem to want you, or the rest of the public, to know and understand certain basic figures about itself and its products.

    FORTUNATELY, however, they do proudly pronounce a figure that allows a very good approximation of what we should all know and should want to know.

    BUT, to get from the rather cryptic figure they provide to the basic figure the public should know requires a few calculations. Hence, the public NEEDS YOUR HELP!

    The question is this:

    When we use ExxonMobil products (in their normal use, as ExxonMobil wants us to do), how much CO2 is generated by those products in one year?

    THAT is something that the public should know and should want to know.

    But, alas, ExxonMobil doesn’t seem to want to say. I’ve tried! They tell us all sorts of other figures—for example, how much CO2 they say we can reduce if we inflate our tires correctly, use ExxonMobil motor oil, and so forth—but they don’t seem to want to say how much CO2 their own products generate when we use them normally.

    Odd and secretive, yes, but that seems to be the case with them.

    But here is a figure they DO provide: In their “2008 Financial & Operating Review” (the most recent one currently posted on their website), on page 3, under the heading “Superior 2008 Results”, they proudly pronounce the following:

    “Total liquids production and natural gas production available for sale of 3.9 million oil-equivalent barrels per day.”

    So, here is a real opportunity to help inform your fellow human beings, i.e., the “contest”: Starting with the figure that ExxonMobil provides, please make a decent estimate of the total CO2 generated when ExxonMobil products are actually used in their end uses (in this case, for the year 2008).

    For simplicity, consistency, and easy understandability, please provide the answer in terms of pounds of CO2 generated that year. We all know what a pound is, and we all know what a year is, so those units should be good for public consumption.

    Of course, most chemical engineers, chemists, and many other scientists, as well as many college students and many high school students, will be able to see that a roughly decent estimate is possible. What we’re looking for are estimates, not precision and perfection.

    For starters, and to help people along who don’t already know some of these things:

    A standard barrel of oil contains 42 gallons. Now, as people in the industry know, because of density changes, changes during refining, and so forth, the refined products of a barrel of oil, along with some additives, add to more than 42 gallons. So, for estimating purposes, use whatever figure you’d like: either the rough 42 gallons per barrel or a more accurate estimate, if you have access to one.

    There are, last I heard, 365 days in a year.

    One gallon of gasoline generates between 19 and 20 pounds of CO2 when used as fuel in a car. As most of you will know, gasoline is not the only product refined from a barrel of oil, and natural gas itself contains yet a different mixture of hydrocarbons. So, for example, there are gasoline, jet fuel, diesel fuel, and so forth, and there is natural gas (the latter from natural gas wells), and a number of other products. Most of the products are used as fuels, but a fairly small fraction (by volume) aren’t. And, of the fuels, each fuel generates a moderately different amount of CO2. But again, the point is not perfect precision. Use whatever estimates you have access to, and whatever expertise your background provides.

    For example, as the most rough estimate, one could simply take …

    3.9 x 365 x 42 x 1,000,000 x 19.5

    That would be a basic, very rough, unadjusted estimate. It’s a big number. Call it the Terrible Trillion.

    So, please, scientists and engineers, can you provide a slightly or moderately more informed number, incorporating an adjustment or two to any number you think needs adjusting?

    Anyone who provides an estimate before ExxonMobil is willing to share the actual number will have the honor of beating the nation’s most profitable company at telling the public a KEY piece of information that the public should know but that ExxonMobil seems to be very shy to tell. In other words, you can share the honor that ExxonMobil will probably never be able to reclaim and doesn’t deserve at this point. Shame on them.

    FYI, here is the link to ExxonMobil’s “2008 Financial & Operating Review”. If this link doesn’t work, you can get there easily via their website, through the section for investors.

    Link:

    http://www.exxonmobil.com/Corporate/Files/news_pub_fo_2008.pdf

    (By the way, for clarity’s sake, the above question and figure don’t consider the CO2 generated within ExxonMobil’s own operations, e.g., production and logistics and refining. That is another very large number. If anyone has a decent estimate of that number, please also let us know. But, please, let’s not confuse the two numbers. Thanks.)

    Ready, set, GO!

    (That said, this is not a race. The more estimates, the better!)

    Be Well,

    Jeff

  22. Passerby says:

    You will have to excuse Governor Perry, he spent too much time in the sun the past two summers — the two hottest ever known in Austin. (2008 is now tied with 1998 as the second hottest.) These dwarf even the epic summers of 2000, 1980 and others spanning two Dust Bowls (the 1930’s and 1950’s). The state is also still trying to hide data regarding the widespread extinction of native Texas vegetation in 1995-96, the period when Governor Perry says Global Warming ended.

    Besides, if pollution levels are so safe in Texas, then why are so many known polluters literally mixing the smell of baked cookies with their emissions?

  23. exxon mobil says:

    [snip]

    [JR: This commenter is not an authorized representative of the company. In general, people need to use their names in comments or otherwise provide evidence they are who they say they are.]

  24. Jeff Huggins says:

    Comment 23, “exxon mobil”

    What are you talking about? Do you follow their statements, advertorials, and actions closely, and evaluate their actual reports, and compare what they say with what they do, and consider all of that in the context of the climate change and energy problems that we face?

    Would you please let us know the answer to the question posed in my Comment 21?

    Thank you,

    Jeff

  25. Mobi Warren says:

    As a Texas public school teacher (I teach math and science to fifth graders), it is continually demoralizing (maddening) to have our political leaders and state education board members bash science. But please know that
    a good many of us (thank you, Texas A & M scientists!) are doing our best to educate the public about the science of climate change. Texas will be a very big loser as sea levels rise — farewell coastal wetlands, whoooping cranes, major cities…