The area involved in Thursday's agreement runs from Ohio west to Kansas. If the region were its own country, the World Resources group estimates, it would be the globe's fifth-biggest producer of greenhouse gas emissions behind the United States as a whole, Russia, China and India.And it would be the sixth-biggest if a region running from Pennsylvania west to Kansas were its own country. Make up a region running from New York west to Colorado and then it drops to seventh. Now, let's say East Asia were a country . . .
Do you see how frickin' ridiculous this sort of thing is? Only slightly less spurious is the oft-repeated idea that California has "the world's fifth-largest economy." Oh, yeah? It's a bigger economy than that of, say, the Pacific states? The American West? The continental United States?
If you must humor the playground statisticians, at least run these claims through the non-crazy-talk reworder:
The group estimates that the region produces more greenhouse-gas emissions than all but four countries: the United States, Russia, China and India.
California's economy is larger than that of all but four countries.