Saturday, July 14, 2007

Lies, darn lies, and statistics

I came across this website discussing how much carbon dioxide various states put out, and their CO2 emissions per capita are.

According to this, we Iowans put out 27 tons of carbon dioxide per year. We are the 15th highest carbon dioxide producing state per capita.

I don't exactly know how they came up with these numbers, but as Mark Twain once put it, "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics."

I guess the authors of this website failed to mention that because of the great amount of corn and soybeans we produce here, all of which take in CO2 and expel oxygen. Corn and soy love CO2, and can convert this gas into carbon building blocks for plant growth.

However, if these figures are true, then I am doing my part to reduce my "carbon footprint." With the 700 acres I have signed up in the Chicago Climate Exchange to keep in no-till for 5 years, I am sequestering 350 tons of CO2. So, that pretty much covers my family and 9 others.

Of course, if you are no-tilling, but have not signed up with the CCX, then you are continuing to pollute the atmosphere with deadly CO2. Only by signing up your acres will you actually start saving the planet. Jumping through bureaucratic hoops is the only way to save the planet, you know. I'm sure watching "An Inconvenient Truth" will also reduce your carbon footprint, too.

Or something.

OK, I'm being a bit facetious here. I will not disagree with anyone who thinks the CCX is simply trading paper (or electrons) for profit by others. But hey, if they're offering $$$ for me to do something I'm already doing, why not?

Anyway, in this big debate about carbon dioxide pollution and carbon neutral footprints, there are going to be claims thrown out there, usually with numbers, in an attempt to convince you one way or another. Statistics are just another way to get you to believe a certain way.

Of course, a recent statistic said that 90% of all statistics are skewed or used to pursuade and influence decisions.


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