Sunday, May 20, 2007

Spin alert: intensity reduction

This AP story about Al Gore's criticism of the Canadian government's climate plan includes this quote:
[Gore] said "intensity reduction" - which allows industries to increase their greenhouse gas outputs as they raise production - was a poll-tested phrase developed by think tanks financed by Exxon Mobil and other large polluters.

Gore also called the plan a "Fraud". But lets look at this phrase "intensity reduction". It has "reduction" in it. That sounds good. That's what we want, right?

But intensity reduction means that the rate of CO2 emitted per unit of stuff made by a factory goes down. In other words, the factory somehow becomes more efficient at emitting carbon as it does its thing (make energy or make a car). That doesn't actually reduce the amount of CO2 emitted. If the factory increases production, its emissions will go up and that's ok with this plan.

Note that intensity reduction is the only thing the Bush administration will commit to.

Cheers to the AP for not letting "intensity reduction" get in to the story without qualification.

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