Thursday, January 24, 2008

Pessimists were wrong. It's worse.

"The climate crisis is significantly worse and unfolding more rapidly than those on the pessimistic side of the IPCC [International Panel on Climate Change] projections had warned us."

Former Vice President and oracle of inconvenient truths, Al Gore, says climate change is accelerating but adds that all candidates for U.S. president will back policies to address the issue. He argues that a global carbon trading system is critical, which seems fairly obvious when dealing with a global problem.

Gore's influence may be questionable, although his comments about Republicans, even evangelicals, could be read as a sign he's angling for a say regardless of who wins.

At the moment it would seem the U.S. would be a late arrival to climate change party and would have to dance to the music already playing. The nice advantage of always being the 800-pound gorilla is that even if you're last on the dance floor, you call the tune.

The Financial Times points to a way in which the U.S. could quickly force the world to adopt a global greenhouse gas policy: a carbon tax on imports. Of course this would require the U.S. to have its own tax first, but that day may be approaching, once the election is out of the way. The EU also suggested taxing the carbon content of imports in the climate proposals unveiled this week. It's a long way off and the FT lists the lengthy number of hurdles, but the first one -- raising the issue and debating it -- seems to have been cleared.

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