Wednesday, February 16, 2005

The ultimate freerider

That would be us. America. Really, I mean it. Today, the Kyoto Protocol goes into effect and America hasn't signed it.

The fact that we haven't signed the Protocol, however, is not the most important point in the Times article linked above. The important point, in my estimation, is that American companies are already starting to take steps to reduce their C02 emissions. What's important about that is that they are doing so voluntarily because they think they'll be forced to do it sooner or later anyway. They are NOT reducing emissions because of market forces. They are NOT reducing emissions out of the goodness in their hearts. They are NOT reducing emissions because the President asked them to. Nope. American firms are reducing emissisions because one day we, America, are going to sign onto a global warming treaty and American firms are going to have their asses handed to them in a hat by foreign corporations if they don't keep up on technological advancements.

President Bush and his myopic cronies can bitch and moan about the burdens of Kyoto, but, like most of what pours out of their mouths, it's all fucking bullshit. Kyoto applies to every other developed country and if it were going to add deadweight to our economy, it would have done so to theirs too. Moreover, I suspect that the "loss of 5 million jobs" assertion is pretty much bullshit as well. Here's an idea you corporute asshats, why not put in the stinking emissions controls, cut your profit margin by 1% and keep all those folks employed? Clearly, if folks can afford to do it voluntarily and with no adverse economic effects, then the risks of Kyoto were likely overblown.

Whatever the case, we're going to sign a protocol one day, and so will the Chinese and the Indians. Until that time, I guess we'll just have to enjoy the free ride.