Not Getting it as Fast as Anticipated

by William Yeatman on April 7, 2008

The Washington Post still can’t bring itself to openly address the reality of greenhouse gas emissions vs. the rhetoric. Instead, they obsess with serially nasty editorials complaining specifically about our lack of European-style promises, all of which pieces (and their news articles) have consistently ignored how the U.S. has led the world in growing the economy while reducing the rate of growth of emissions.

Sunday’s story went with the following: “Even developed countries are not cutting greenhouse gases as fast as they had anticipated.”

The obvious implication is that, unlike the U.S., these countries are cutting greenhouse gas emissions, if not as fast as they had anticipated. Actually, not one developed country is actually cutting emissions at all since making the Kyoto promise a decade ago. The U.S. approach – in practice – has shown far superior to Europe’s “cap” approach, Japan’s various efforts, Canada’s…well, Canada hasn’t done a whole lot policy-wise but they have increased emissions quite a bit, but without the economic downsides of a more interventionist policy.

But in typical Washington fashion, the Post reveals a dogma that “doing something” has nothing to do with what is actually done, by the wealth-creating private sector of the economy, but about how deeply the regulators insert themselves. This is why journalists should stick to things other than governance; getting back to the basics of journalism is a good place to start.

As if on cue, the New York Times also weighed in today with the editorial “It’s about laws, not light bulbs,” with the risible construction:

“As it has for years, America's inertia remains in sharp contrast to the work by Europe, which took an early lead in efforts to curb global warming by establishing the world's most comprehensive carbon management system. Recently, Europeans pledged to cut emissions by 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2020.”

Again, notice how they cleverly elide actual discussion about who is doing what in favor of obsessing about who is saying what. This would put “America’s inertia in sharp contrast to the work by Europe,” indeed, but in a more accurate light. And we can’t have that.


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