Gail Collins has succinctly described a conundrum that I have been wondering since the President declared it in 2002 – How is reducing the rate of increase in greenhouse gases somehow reducing the quantity of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere? The whole piece is here, but here’s the part I liked:
Suppose that two years after taking office, George W. Bush discovered that because of the stress of his job, he had gained 40 pounds and was tipping the scales at 220.
The real-world Bush would immediately barricade himself in the White House gym, refusing all human contact or nourishment until the issue was resolved. But imagine that he regarded getting fat as seriously as he regards melting glaciers, rising oceans and drought and starvation around the planet. In that case, he would set a serious, management-type goal — of, say, an 18 percent reduction in the rate at which he was gaining weight, to be reached within the next decade.
Cut to the Rose Garden in 2008 where partial victory is declared. “Over the past seven years, my administration has taken a rational, balanced approach to these serious challenges,” the 332-pound chief executive announces. He delivers this good news sitting down.
2012: Bush hits his final goal and 400 pounds at approximately the same time.
To quote a Caltech computer scientist, “Those who fail to do the math are doomed to speak nonsense.”