Friday, June 26, 2009

Historic US bill on climate change good, but nowhere near good enough

Today, the House of Representatives passed a bill on climate-change, sponsored by President Obama. This is the first significant piece of climate change action by government in American history. However, symbolic as it is, it is by no means a cause for self-congratulations.

The standards set forth in the proposed legislation is 17% reductions by 2020, over 2005 levels. That is significantly lower than Kyoto standards of 6% or so, below 1990 levels. Even more astonishing is that President Obama supported only 14% reductions.

Proponents of this bill will point to reductions of 80% by mid-century. This is much too late. It is symptomatic of government reaction to climate change, putting off significant change for latter, much latter.

In these two ways, although this is a piece of landmark legislation, it is by no means a final solution to the problem. In addition, the most concrete measures mentioned in the legislation are increasing energy costs. This is all well and good, but what about the cap and trade system that Obama has been touting?

One must hope that the Obama administration is not about to stall here in its work against climate change. One most hope that a bill of this nature is the result of compromise. After all, the vote was still narrow (219-214), and has yet to be voted on in the Senate. If not, then the Obama administration needs a wake up call on the environment.
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1 comment:

  1. I dont understand why some bloggers keep saying that the bill is unAmerican. Does waste and contamination defines America? I rather hope not. As you're saying, the standards of this bill cannot compete with bills being employed in other countries, but I think its more important that this bill, whatever it is, passed at all. It shows the ability of the current US government to do something about it.

    Take care,


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