Thursday, August 25, 2005

States making Sense

It's a miracle. Governmental officials in the United States acknowledging that there's an environmental problem and it's called "greenhouse emissions"? Leaders in the United States agreeing to meet the Kyoto emissions reductions? Laws aimed at reducing those emissions by up to 30% by adopting greenhouse-gas standards for vehicles? Is Bush finally becoming a true environmentalist, rather than a cowboy riding roughshod over America?

Nah. The states are stepping up and stepping right over the Feds in the fight against global warming. In the Northeast, 9 states are joining together in a Kyoto-like plan to reduced emissions--a 10% reduction by 2020. Out west, apparently 5 more states are considering a plan to do likewise. Hell, Arizona is one of them. Not exactly a tree-huggers paradise.

Interestingly enough, these Northeastern renegade states are led by, gasp, Republicans. NY Gov George Pataki is described as playing a "leading role" in these plans. More positioning for the next election, or a true commitment to environmental issues? I dunno. Haven't done much research into Pataki. Posturing or not, this pact is moving the US in the right direction, even if we have to drag the Bush administration kicking and screaming along for the ride.

Grist had a great article last month about how states are leading the nation, environmentally speaking. It mentions the 170 mayors who have "pledged to adopt Kyoto targets for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions". Richie Daley got good press in this article (at a time when he really needed it around Chicago) for consistently implementing environmentally sound policies that financially sounds, too.

How can the Bush administration continue to reject Kyoto on the grounds that it's going to ruin the US economy in the face of places like Portland, Oregon? Portland has already meet the Kyoto greenhouse-gas standards by cutting its emissions to 1990 levels without ruining its economy.

Will what works in Portland work everywhere? Perhaps not. But seems like the rest of the world thinks it's worth a try. When will the administration stop being ruled by oil interests and big business interests? When Bush is gone? Do we really have to wait until 2008 to make some progress? Not if local and state governments continue to make this kind of progress.

Until tomorrow,


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