SOTU: Economic Rationality 1, Alarmism 0
Well, President Bush has given his final State of the Union address and the news stories analyzing it are soon to be legion. Among the most anticipated topics was what he would say about global warming and what the U.S. government should do about it. A couple of weeks ago, the flagship of UK leftism, The Guardian, confidently predicted that Bush would reverse himself and “make a historic shift in his position on global warming.” Sorry, Guardian readers. I’m sure staff writers Gaby Hinsliff, Juliette Jowit and Paul Harris didn’t mean to get your hopes up.
For a late-night recap of what Bush actually did say, let’s turn to CEI’s very own global warming guru, Myron Ebell:
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. In my view, 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.
I would also note 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. I hope that 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.
So there you have it, OpenMarket readers. The dark, cold night of energy rationing is held at bay yet again. The same bargain still applies: you keep using the energy that keeps you warm, and we’ll keep defending it.