Detroit — Agence France-Presse (by way of Drudge/Breitbart) puts the volcanic belch from Eyjafjallajökull in perspective. The Iceland volcano is “emitting between 150,000 and 300,000 tons of carbon dioxide per day, a figure placing it in the same emissions league as a small-to-medium European economy. . . . Extrapolated over a year, the emissions (55 million metric tons) would place the volcano 47th to 75th in the world table of emitters on a country-by-country basis.” That is, in the neighborhood of Austria, Portugal, and Denmark, according to the World Resources Institute (registration required).
That perspective is also relevant to the U.S., where spoiled, rich elites pretend CO2 is the greatest challenge that mankind faces.
My state of Michigan, for example, dwarfs these nations in annual CO2 emissions [PDF]: 183 million metric tons in 2007 (most recent EPA data available), making it the 11th most productive state in industrial output. Our per-capita income is double that of Portugal, which sports a similar population of 10 million.
And yet Michigan is on its back. National news publications have taken up residence here to report its misery. Federal dollars have poured in by the billions to dress its auto-industry wounds. Its per-capita income has fallen over the last decade from 2 percent above the national average to 11 percent below. Ranked 16th a decade ago, it is now 33rd and plummeting toward the bottom ten.
The good news? Well, if you believe that global warming is the “predominant moral threat of this century,” Michigan has cut its CO2 emissions 10 percent since its peak (197 MMT in 1996) thanks to its decade-long recession.
If you believe a volcanic eruption of poverty is a greater threat, you might have a different perspective.