It seems awfully childish for the US not to have ratified the Kyoto Protocol simply because it provided exemptions to other polluters, like India and China. If India and China jump off the Brooklyn Bridge, do we follow? Bush II, Clinton, and the ’97 Senate said “yes.” Have things changed? Will we now have a saner climate change policy?
From the Huffington Post :
WASHINGTON — Former Vice President Al Gore urged lawmakers Wednesday not to let the economic crisis get in the way of addressing global warming.
Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the Nobel Peace Prize winner said Congress should pass President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus package as a first step to bringing greenhouse gases under control.
But Gore also pressed for “decisive action” on a bill to cap heat-trapping gases, saying that it is needed for the U.S. to take a leading role in negotiations on a new international climate treaty later this year.
The Bush administration pulled out of the last treaty, the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, because of the lack of participation by developing countries. Negotiations on a new agreement are scheduled for December in Copenhagen, Denmark.
I’m hopeful that this will accomplish something. But what would really help incentivize cutting carbon emissions is Peter Barnes’ cap-and-rebate plan: a “sky trust” with the money going directly into the bank accounts of the American people.
It makes sense, is easy to understand and explain, and stimulates the economy while cutting carbon emissions. Will Congress be crafting cap-and-rebate legislation any time soon? I’m not holding my breath. (Of course, if we don’t do something soon, we’ll all be holding our breath.)