From a reader:
Hi, Mr. Goldberg:
Nice Corner counter-punch to Ezra Klein’s snippiness. In particular, your counter-point about how “The fact is we (the U.S.) are vastly more efficient users of fossil fuels than most of the world” can’t be over-stated enough.
I’m an urban economist with a rather famous B-school (as my e-mail address attests), and on my office wall is a satellite image of the Earth at night. I use this map to show how agglomeration of cities spreads out spatially, and often along transportation networks. (The major cities of the world are visible by the lights they throw off at night, as a major transportation arteries).
However, the map also shows something else rather interesting: large red “splotches” are visible in central Russia, along the coast of west Africa, and around the Persian Gulf. This is burn-off from natural gas refining, which is done with such low-tech methods in these countries that the fires are actually visible from outer space at night!
No such images are observed along the U.S. Gulf Coast—where we do a lot of our refining—because our refining methods are so much cleaner than in these other regions.
I love pointing this out to the earnest environmental finger-waggers when they visit my office.
You can actually see this map for yourself here:
(Zoom in and navigate around to see what I mean).