Cheat-Seeking Missles

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Bush Defies Warming Autocrats At G8

There was a choice of articles to read this a.m. about the apparent U.S. rejection of the G8 global warming agenda (thanks to memeorandum). There's NYT and WaPo, but I thought I'd go for a bit more stridency, so I went with the Guardian -- after all, it's headline said we'd rejected "all" climate proposals.

The G8 Summit doesn't get underway until June 6, so the story is a result of a leak by Greenpeace. That's easy enough to figure; a Green in the German environmental agency leaked it to a Green outside the environmental agency.
... a note attached to a draft [global warming] document circulated by Germany says the US is "fundamentally opposed" to the proposals.

The note, written in red ink, says the deal "runs counter to our overall position and crosses multiple 'red lines' in terms of what we simply cannot agree to".

"This document is called FINAL but we never agreed to any of the climate language present in the document ... We have tried to 'tread lightly' but there is only so far we can go given our fundamental opposition to the German position," it says.

The tone is blunt, with whole pages of the draft crossed out and even the mildest statements about confirming previous agreements rejected. "The proposals within the sections titled 'Fighting Climate Change' and 'Carbon Markets' are fundamentally incompatible with the President's approach to climate change," says another red-ink comment.

Is there hope the red-lining can survive even the two weeks until the meetings start? It seems to me to be a defiant staking of a tough negotiating position. Still, the Bush administration just might have the gumption to stick to the position because the model to look at here for guidance isn't the multiple issues the administration has waffled on; it's immigration.

Despite howls of protest from the GOP faithful, Bush has stuck to a more liberal approach to immigration designed to ensure an ongoing flow of labor to ag and biz. Call it what you will (and I'm sure there are a lot of choice descriptors out there), it is a free market approach to the borders ... not my favorite application of a free market philosophy, mind you.

And if you're looking for a two-word descriptor of all that red ink on the draft G8 document, it is "free market," one of the three approaches to global warming that we're limited to:
  1. Ignore it and pursue business as usual. You're free to pursue this on an individual basis if you wish, but it isn't going to happen on a large scale because government is hankering to impose its will, as are the people, who are pushing industry for greener products.
  2. Legislate and mandate a change to business as usual. The favored G8 and Schwarzenegger approach, it would set limits and force compliance. The draft G8 document seeks to cut global emissions, curb the rise in average temperatures this century to 2C and raise energy efficiency in power and transportation by 20% by 2020. Should governments commit to such bold standards in the face of what probably is not be human-caused global warming, the regulators are guaranteed jobs for life with lots of meddling in our lives.
  3. Let the free markets play it out.
We don't hear much of the third alternative in the global debate discussion of global warming, but it is the only place we should be focused.

Because there are irritating questions about what's causing global warming, questions that would, in a normal debate discussion, give rise to a certain degree of caution and lead to a desire to test the water before we jump in, weighted down with thousand-page books of regulatory mandates. The free market allows such testing.

If global warming is indeed anthropomorphic, it will presumably become more evident as the "crisis" continues and we anthropoids will then respond accordingly, demanding greener products and greener policies. We'll vote with our pocketbooks and in our polling booths, and the world will become a greener place without bureaucratic head-butting.

All this is quite foreign to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the hostess of G8 and, apparently, 7 of the other G's. In Merkel's preview comments about the upcoming summit, it says:
In the field of climate protection, Merkel is convinced that the industrialised countries must act as trailblazers. Only then will the less developed economies follow. "Otherwise we have no chance of combating climate change," declared the Chancellor.

With respect to energy efficiency, in particular, technological cooperation with emerging economies must be stepped up.

Interestingly, the comments immediately follow her section on the importance of open markets -- not exactly the same as free markets, but philosophical brothers nonetheless. There's nothing in her global warming language that implies a draconian Warmie bureaucracy, and nothing that states that certain markets should close and others should become regulated in order to deal with the "crisis."

Yet, according to the draft, that is the G8 approach, and mandated limits are no different than price controls. They will be no more successful. The only approach to Warmie hysteria that will work is to let the free market settle the issue -- and that's what all the red ink on the Bush mark-up of the draft document stands for.

Let's pray the ink is indelible.

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