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Bush's Words On The Climate

Bush gave his speech on climate change yesterday, and the media yawned. There was nearly nothing written about it. Maybe that's because Bush's...




Bush gave his speech on climate change yesterday, and the media yawned. There was nearly nothing written about it. Maybe that's because Bush's words on the environment don't matter any more. Imagine Nero unveiling new plans to beef up the Roman fire department.

The heart of Bush's "ambitious" plan is to halt the growth of carbon emissions by 2025. In other words, carbon emissions would increase beyond their current sufficient-to-screw-the-earth levels for another 17 years. And then hold steady. At 2025 levels. Here are the details from the president, such as they were:

I believe part of any solution means reforming today's complicated mix of incentives to make the commercialization and use of new, lower emission technologies more competitive.

First, the incentive should be carbon-weighted to make lower emission power sources less expensive relative to higher emissions sources, and it should take into account our nation's energy security needs.

Second, the incentive should be technology-neutral because the government should not be picking winners and losers in this emerging market.

Third, the incentive should be long-lasting. It should provide a positive and reliable market signal not only for the investment in a technology, but also for the investments in domestic manufacturing capacity and infrastructure that will help lower costs and scale up availability.







Straining to find something newsworthy here, Andrew Leonard at Salon suggests that Bush's plan amounts to a cap-and-trade system. But the economic incentives outlined above don't come with a limit on the total volume of carbon dioxide emissions. We can't find that critical "cap" component in there anywhere.







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