Views and debates on climate change policy
Home | Panelists | Staff Blog | RSS

Post Carbon

Osama's global warming plan

By Juliet Eilperin

Does Osama bin Laden have a point when he blames the U.S. and other industrialized nations for global warming? Post Carbon decided to look at the facts.

In an audiotape aired Friday on the Arab TV network al-Jazeera, the al-Qaeda leader said the world's citizens should bankrupt the American economy, boycotting its goods and the dollar, in order to punish the U.S. for its historic contribution to carbon in the atmosphere.

The tape's authenticity could not be immediately confirmed, and al-Jazeera did not disclose how it had gotten the audiotape. But according to the network's English-language website, bin Laden declared, "All of the industrialized countries, especially the big ones, bear responsibility for the global warming crisis."

"The effects of global warming have touched every continent," bin Laden said in the audiotape. "Speaking about climate change is not a matter of intellectual luxury - the phenomenon is an actual fact."

Bin Laden brought up the fact that the U.S. opted out of the Kyoto Protocol, the global warming pact forged in 1997, and accused the American government of being controlled by corporations that "are the true criminals against the global climate."

From a historical perspective, bin Laden's charge holds water. According to the World Resources Institute's Climate Analysis Indicators Tool, the U.S. accounts for 26.3 percent of the world's cumulative energy-related carbon-dioxide emissions from 1950-2006, more than any other nation. The 27 countries that now make up the European Union account for 22.1 percent of those emissions, and China clocks in at 10.4 percent. For a look at the full historical chart, click here.

But looking ahead, the terrorist leader is way off base. China, which already has surpassed the U.S. as the world's biggest greenhouse gas emitter, will account for 26 percent of the world's cumulative energy-related carbon-dioxide emissions between 2007 and 2030, while the U.S. will put out just 17 percent. China alone will account for 50 percent of the growth of greenhouse gas emissions over the next two decades.

"If you're just looking at the numbers, it's fairly clear the developed countries have been the largest source of emissions, and bear historic responsibility," said Tom Damassa, an associate at WRI's climate and energy program. "But that context is rapidly changing, especially in the last few years, with the growth of emissions in China and to a lesser extent, India."

So perhaps bin Laden would like to boycott Chinese goods and the yen, just to be fair and balanced?

By

Juliet Eilperin

 |  January 29, 2010; 4:20 PM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: U.S. signs up for Copenhagen Accord | Next: Massachusetts boosts energy efficiency

Comments

Please report offensive comments below.



David Letterman might be right. He said that Osama bin Laden got a shave and a haircut and is running around the U. S. telling people that he is Alex Trebek.
If he is still in Afghanistan he could have tough luck in an earthquake. Or, he could foul up playing with firecrackers. And, there is a tariff on his head. He could get plugged up on goat cheese and have to go visit Roto Rooter. It wouldn't be hard for bat nasty or rat treasure to get into his grub and then he would have to head for a sawbones. When he steps out of his cave he could smile for a drone.

Posted by: hurleyvision | February 3, 2010 1:44 AM
Report Offensive Comment

Ms. Eilperin has made it clear that she does not intend to engage with the correspondents to this page. I believe that it demonstrates that she feels competent only to quote the specious claims of her favorite six sigma activist groups, i.e. Union of Concerned Scientists, World Resources Institute (WRI), Greenpeace et al., but is unable to venture beyond the bounds of those statements to defend them against legitimate criticism.

For example, WRI reports with horror that the US emits 25% of anthropogenic carbon dioxide. They never mention that the US is the most carbon efficient economy (CO2 per unit GDP) on earth. Nor do they tell us that the US economy is about 25% of the worldwide economy. They also fail to mention that the US emissions represent about 1% of the total carbon dioxide emissions (96% natural and 4% anthropogenic).

When I look on the World Resources Institute website for information about the three authors of the CAIT of which Ms. Eilperin is so proud, I can find biographical information about only one of the three listed authors, Kevin A. Baumert, Tim Herzog and Matthew Markoff. Mr. Herzog has a Master’s degree in public policy from the Georgetown Public Policy Institute and a bachelor’s degree in communications from Bethel University in Minnesota. Does that sound like a solid scientific education to anyone?

Ms. Eilperin either does not know those things or lacks the technical capacity to discuss them cogently. In either case, she reveals herself as a reporter who lacks the ability or will to consider and evaluate the accuracy of the activists that she quotes liberally. What has happened to objectivity in the mainstream media? Where are the reporters who seek confirmation and balance in their reporting? When did most of the mainstream media abandon objectivity and sink into activism?

Posted by: snorbertzangox | February 1, 2010 12:51 PM
Report Offensive Comment

Welcome to insanity, Ms. Eilperin. You have done exactly what the terrorists expected you to do when they released the tape - blame America. Congratulations, you must be very proud.

Posted by: BernardL | February 1, 2010 8:56 AM
Report Offensive Comment

He's overlooked all those carbon emissions on 9/11.

Posted by: DGSPAMMAIL | February 1, 2010 6:41 AM
Report Offensive Comment

Pretty soon, there are those who will have to stop blaming the "right wing" for this firestorm of free information that is circulating worldwide, in spite of the best efforts to suppress it.

It is looking as though the Marxists who continue to post have two final points to make:

We must, under global governance, adopt a vegan lifestyle and make our own caves and clothes.

We must convince every living inhabitant on the planet that it is criminal to reproduce.

Posted by: ManBearPig1 | January 31, 2010 3:05 PM
Report Offensive Comment

@TheLaw1 -

I don't see liberals arguing that 97% of climate scientists are mistaken, and that Glenn Beck knows more about the earth's complex climate. Republicans are doing that all on their own.

Time to take responsibility for your actions, and beliefs.

Posted by: B2O2 | January 31, 2010 2:31 PM
Report Offensive Comment

What climate science; I see no climate science? All I see are socialists who publish compendiums of opinions masquerading as science.

Posted by: edfo | January 31, 2010 2:15 PM
Report Offensive Comment

I am hoping India will counterbalance the "free" world's media blackout of the UN IPCC fraud.

From India: Pachauri’s homeland writes this excellent piece:
http://www.openthemagazine.com/article/international/the-hottest-hoax-in-the-world

Posted by: ManBearPig1 | January 31, 2010 11:47 AM
Report Offensive Comment

Hey Juliet, keep up your fringe reports. Ignore the glacier scandal, the email scandals, the IPCC scandals, etc. But hey, if it all works out, your husband makes millions, right?

Posted by: silencedogoodreturns | January 31, 2010 8:33 AM
Report Offensive Comment

Democrats and Bin laden have been in step on many things. They both wanted Bush to fail, they both used the same rhetoric, now Bin Laden is in lock step again with regard to climate change.

We even have posters giving bin Laden more credibility than Republicans. That just goes to show you how insane liberals actually are.

Posted by: thelaw1 | January 31, 2010 8:00 AM
Report Offensive Comment

I feel that our President could solve the global warming problem all by himself if he were to stop producing so much hot air by closing his mouth for a while.

Posted by: beowulf39565 | January 30, 2010 11:30 PM
Report Offensive Comment

How could the right wing get so lucky? Now Bin Laden has put the kiss of death on doing anything to rectify climate change simply because his remarks will be used thusly: "If you support " Which is, of course, completely crazy. But the right wing will use it, regardless.

Posted by: jeangerard1 | January 30, 2010 10:32 PM
Report Offensive Comment

Any president contemplating enforcing a cap and trade tax on a country with an economy such as our is incompetent.

Posted by: prossers7 | January 30, 2010 2:28 PM
Report Offensive Comment

He's correct on this issue.

Posted by: Junglejim1 | January 30, 2010 12:53 PM
Report Offensive Comment

There is a cave in Afghanistan with an inhabitant whining about global warming. The group that fried a Hamas murderer in Dubai, needs to show bin laden how hot it can really get.

Posted by: shewholives | January 30, 2010 7:51 AM
Report Offensive Comment

It's sad when even the likes of Osama bin Laden has more credibility on this subject than the American right wing does, but that is exactly the situation we have here.

Actually, though Eilperin makes a brave attempt to quibble with bin Laden's villification of the US here, she is mistaken:

"China, which already has surpassed the U.S. as the world's biggest greenhouse gas emitter, will account for 26 percent of the world's cumulative energy-related carbon-dioxide emissions between 2007 and 2030, while the U.S. will put out just 17 percent."

If we are still putting out 65% (17/26) as much GHG as China in absolute terms during the period of 2007 to 2030, but doing it with roughly a quarter to a third as many people, that means that each American (ie, per capita) will still be by FAR the most destructive human beings on the planet.

I HATE that bin Laden has more credibility than our right wing on this. As an American, that is just flat-out embarrassing.

Posted by: B2O2 | January 30, 2010 1:27 AM
Report Offensive Comment

Post a Comment


 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company