Deals on climate change face good old American girdlock

Some people think we humans should be doing something about climate change. Many nations are trying to live up to their promises under the Kyoto Protocol.
Written by Harry Fuller, Contributor

Some people think we humans should be doing something about climate change. Many nations are trying to live up to their promises under the Kyoto Protocol. The Earth's league leaders in greenhouse gas emission are China and the U.S. in that order. Neither signed the Kyoto agreement. Might cost somebody some money and that wouldn't be good, would it?

Still there are those who keep coming up with ideas, and deadlines. First there's the U.S. Congress. Those Democrats now in charge there think they'll pass a "a cap-and-trade system that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 60 percent to 80 percent below current levels. Under the system...the federal government would distribute greenhouse gas allowances that could be bought and sold, though the lawmakers left open the possibility of using taxes as well."

Sounds like another commodities market. Sorta like NYMEX is for oil, we'd have an exchange in Chicago for pollution permits. Second, this law is stillborn. President George W Bush ain't lettin' nobody on his ranch push his dog around, environmentally speaking. He made that clear, again, last week at his special summit on climate change. Secretary of State Rice made it equally clear at the UN climate change summit that the U.S. policy will continue to oppose any mandatory greenhouse gas controls.

Congressional Democrats have let fly with numbers 60% or 70% for the reduction in American greenhouse gas production over the next half-century. But with an already promised Presidential veto of this proposed law, there'll be at least a two-year delay in getting anything enacted. And one oil industry spokesman pointed out Congress is assuming well over 100 new nuclear plants. Huh? We just blogged that the first permit request in nearly three decades is in its earliest stages. Unless the feds outlaw lawsuits, nuclear plants are very high on the NIMBY, I'm-gonna-sue target list. I suspect there are states in the U.S. where there'll never be another nuc plant built. But you could just line the nucs plants along the highways in good ole Texas, could replace the dwindling oil revenue, I guess.

In addition to wishful thinking on Capital Hill, the U.N. is trying to help push for an international agreement that would curtail greenhouse emissions. Here's what Reuters reports: "There is a sense of urgency,' Yvo de Boer, head of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat, said of the mood among world leaders facing with mounting evidence of global warming. But he said not all were ready to sign up to a 2009 deadline."

Their self-imposed deadline for new international deal: 2009. Hah, say some experts, what about the policy gridlock during a U.S. Presidential election year? I say, what about the gridlock this year, and we have at least two more months before the campaign subsumes everything in Americans' conscoiousness except Britney Spears' next pathetic episode.

What's the hurry? Why 2009? Because Kyoto expires in 2012 and they wisely believe it may take 3 years to get many nations to read and then ratify or reject any new treaty. Of course, now everybody knows it needs both China and the U.S. to really matter much. Say, Earthlings, just chill, we Americans will get back to you after we vote next year, and after the 2008 Olympics. China has the great efficiency of never having elections, so they can ignore any proposed treaty almost immediately.

I think we may see the positive effects of male extinction long before our male leaders agree to do anything meaningful. You got flood insurance?

Here's the official White House caption for the photo above: "President George W. Bush leads wildlife conservation leaders on tour of his home, Prairie Chapel Ranch in Crawford, Texas, Thursday, April 8, 2004. When in Texas, President Bush often spends time working outdoors on his ranch." It shows what hard work it is being an environmentally alert President of the U.S.

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