Apples and Crates of Apples

Fuck me I have to do math again. Another Republican state legislator complaining about how Washington’s pollution shouldn’t count when we talk about reducing Washington’s pollution. This time State Sen. Ann Rivers’ opinion piece in the Columbian. I’m not going to do metacommentary on the whole piece, but I will draw you to this paragraph.

Washington is already a low-carbon place — especially when compared to a carbon giant such as China, which produces around 8,000 million metric tons annually compared to Washington’s 96 million. And while China’s carbon emissions are on the rise, Washington continues to find ways to reduce our carbon footprint without layering on new costly and intrusive regulations.

Seems dishonest to say we’re a low carbon state because we pollute as one state less than the most populous and one of the most polluted countries in the world. First because China isn’t a benchmark in that anything below them is somehow inherently good. Also, comparing one state to an entire large country doesn’t seem like a useful metric. It’s like comparing a couple apples to a crate. Or to an orchard.

But again we can do some easy math* to see where we are per capita. When we last checked in with dishonest Republicans we discovered that there are 6,971,406 Washingtonians as of 2013 according to the Census. The above paragraph gives us a number we can use to divide! 96,000,000 tons divided by 6,971,406 humans gets that Washingtonians on average are responsible for about 13.77 tons of carbon per person yearly. China, according to Wikipedia, has a population of 1,363,950,000 humans. Divide that into the 8,000,000,000 tons of carbon in the above paragraph and you get about 5.86 tons of carbon per person.

Each Washingtonian makes more than twice as much carbon than a person in China. So we probably have twice the obligation to fix the problem. Maybe? I’m not sure it works that way. And again, the comparison was facile to begin with. You can’t really compare Boeing workers with a long commute in a single occupancy vehicle to Gobi nomads. But that was the comparison Senator Rivers made hoping to make Washington look like it wasn’t much of an emitter of carbon pollution.

It is also something the Columbian thought was fine having in its opinion pages. I don’t know what the process of getting into the paper is, and I suppose if a local legislator wants some room, you probably give it to them. But surely there must be an editorial process to weed out things like this that are so glaringly obviously obfuscation that even I can see it.

* As always with these feel free and encouraged to check my math. I’m not much of a math person, and haven’t taken a math class since college. I am sure I will eventually screw one of these up if the GOP keep making dishonest claims.


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    Roger Rabbit spews:

    “You can’t really compare Boeing workers with a long commute in a single occupancy vehicle to Gobi nomads.”

    How much methane is in a camel fart? I’ll bet the Gobi Desert is a stinky place. Also because no one there ever takes a bath.