I stumbled into a news item today about the Kyoto treaty and how various US States and cities were taking it upon themselves to put their own local emisions caps in. I think this is a good thing and it moves the decision making back where it belongs, at the local level. It’s an essential part of Federalism (which is basically a lite-version of a Confederation. A few basic rules are applied across all of the states including allowing free movement between states for the citizens of the federal entity. This creates a kind of competitive atmosphere for the state and local governments and gives more freedom in the choice of laws people live under. This has been undermined a bit in the last century or so though.)

I didn’t note the article because it was otherwise fairly negative towards US in tone. One line in particular jumped out at me when I read a different article with the same quote.

If the summit supported binding commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions like the curbs mandated by the Kyoto accord on climate change, said Mr Bush, "then the answer is no. (Kyoto) would have destroyed our economy." Oddly, none of the other big industrialized countries present at the G8 believes that Kyoto would destroy its economy, but they have all now accepted that the U.S. federal government will not be on board until 2009 at the earliest.

It’s obvious they were just looking for a quote to take out of context and try and prove their supposition that the US as a whole was doing nothing about greenhouse emissions. It became even more obvious when I found another site that showed the entire quote.

World peace herald

"If this looks like Kyoto, the answer is 'no.'," said Bush when asked if he would support a binding international agreement on climate change. "My hope is -- and I think the hope of Tony Blair is -- to move beyond the Kyoto debate and to collaborate on new technologies that will enable the United States and other countries to diversify away from fossil fuels so that the air will be cleaner and that we have the economic and national security that comes from less dependence on foreign sources of oil."

Spinning furiously, indeed.

The second article talks more about the Bush plans for reducing carbon vs. the Kyoto plan. I think they’re both off the ball a bit. A plan vaguely like kyoto where companies and countries who own things that are Carbon Sinks, like forests, grasslands, farmlands, etc credits against carbon production and where excess credits can be sold to companies and countries that need them. A side benefit of this type of system would be rainforest countries that have little in the way of other industries would then have a residual source of income from their rain forests and would leave more of them in their natural state rather than chopping them down and burning them, which decreases their carbon sinking and increases their carbon emissions. It also gets rid of the free money and corporate welfare that the carbon tax credits represent. It makes the carbon market into a free market problem and internalizes the external costs of emissions, and the external benefits of carbon sinking.