Saturday, September 29, 2007

"take two aspirin and call me when i leave office"

So de facto President Bush has had his international climate change summit. What did he say? Not much. As always, Bush basically said that we can have our cake and eat it too - any changes to reduce emissions should be voluntary and can come about thru magic I mean technological changes alone, and should not be allowed to harm the economy.

I think Congressman Ed Markey, who chairs a new House panel on climate change, has it right - "The president says his goals are aspirational, but his goals are really procrastinational. The U.N. is saying the planet is urgently sick, and the Bush administration is saying, 'Take two aspirin and call me when I leave office.'"

Sure, technology must play a big role. But we need to take steps NOW to create the right conditions to help new technologies to emerge and become competitive. For starters, we could stop subsidizing our oil, coal, auto, and electricity industries. We should slap a big tax on greenhouse gas emissions (which will make alternative technologies more cost competitive) and use some of the tax revenues to support research. Because as Bill McKibben says, things are getting worse, quicker than expected. He is right - "Forget the Petraeus report -- what historians will note about September 2007 is that the Northwest Passage was free of ice for the first time since humans started keeping track."



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