State of the Union

by William Yeatman on January 29, 2008

President Bush made it clear in his State of the Union speech that he has not changed his mind that the best policies to address global warming are based on developing new technologies rather than enacting mandatory targets and timetables to reduce emissions. He also said that any new international agreement to succeed the Kyoto Protocol must include commitments from the major developing nations. Since China, India, and other major developing countries have adamantly opposed agreeing to mandatory emissions cuts for themselves, this means that no new treaty will be agreed that includes Kyoto-style mandatory targets and timetables–that is, as long as the next administration continues President Bush's policies.


President Bush is correct to prefer new technologies to mandatory emissions cuts and the governments of China, India, and other developing countries are right to oppose any new international agreement that would consign their people to perpetual energy poverty because the blessings of abundant energy far outweigh any potential negative impacts of potential global warming.


It is also noteworthy that President Bush did not comment on cap-and-trade bills in Congress, on whether the EPA would make an endangerment finding for CO2, or on whether the polar bear would be listed. Hopefully, these are signals that the president does not support cap-and-trade and is having second thoughts about endangerment and the polar bear listing. Even if one thinks, as I do not, that a Kyoto second round is desirable, it would be utterly foolish to enter into mandatory domestic programs to reduce emissions before an international treaty is agreed.

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