Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Cities Respond to Global Warming Challenge

Yeah yeah. I've been busy.

In any event, some interesting GW news. Into the vacuum of leadership created by the absence of Bush Administration interest in what even Ron Burgundy would refer to as "a pretty big deal", steps others:

Tony Blair yesterday sidestepped the Bush administration's refusal to act on climate change by signing what was hailed as a ground-breaking agreement with California, the world's 12th largest carbon emitter, to fight global warming.

Downing Street made no attempt to disguise the fact that the deal is designed to get round Republican objections to states imposing mechanisms to cut carbon emissions. With other US states also interested or involved in carbon trading markets, the path is being opened to bring US business into international efforts to fight climate change, even though international progress has been stymied by the Bush administration's refusal to sign up to binding targets in the Kyoto protocol.

And while the LA Times editorial section may be mildly dubious, it still praises the efforts, and describes the importance of public/private partnerships:
FOR ALL THE FANFARE that preceded it, the agreement on global warming signed Monday by British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is more a promise than a plan. The nation and the nation-state, the two leaders agreed, will collaborate on new, clean-fuel technologies and research the costs and benefits of mandatory emissions trading programs such as those recently put in place in Britain and the rest of Europe.

In fact, business — the constituency so many politicians fear to ruffle by proposing energy regulations — has shown more leadership than many governments on climate change. Business leaders recognize that it is more than simply an environmental issue. It's an energy issue. It's an economic issue. It's a national security issue.

They also recognize the costs of doing nothing. Not only the costs of drought and hurricanes, which we're already paying, but the opportunity cost. They see not just a moral imperative but a market for cleaner energy. The United States, which has always risen to scientific and technological challenges, is in danger of sitting this one out.

But even business leaders acknowledge that they cannot solve this alone. As BP Chief Executive John Browne, who hosted the Blair-Schwarzenegger meeting at BP's Long Beach shipping terminal, said at a meeting Tuesday with The Times' editorial board, the role of governments can't be underestimated even in seeking a market-based solution. "The way government creates regulations determines markets," he said. "And markets determine behavior."
Ahhh leadership. Smells of rich mahogany...

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