Michael Portillo on idealism and Kyoto
Michael Portillo writes a good piece in the weekend edition of The Times about the lack of idealism amongst the public/political parties and the increased emphasis placed on pragmatism. The article later considers climate change and proposed Kyoto protocol. Michael Portillo defends the Bushís decision not to jump on board.
Our best hope of postponing climate change rests on two things. First, use more nuclear energy. Second, find new technologies. We need to re-inject carbon into the earth rather than releasing it to the atmosphere and we need to develop batteries that can power cars. The innovation for those advances is likely to be provided mainly by the United States…The USís key role in saving the planet will be disappointing to those who enjoy using poverty and global warming as sticks with which to beat the American Satan.
Read the full article here.
Over time, economic growth and increasing wealth, fuelled by relatively lax business regulation, have allowed countries to overcome great environmental and technological constraints. The Kyoto protocol and the anti-growth policies embodied within it may halt climate change, but will curb technological progress at the same time. The protocolís advocates often wrongly imply that reduction of emissions is costless; the only barrier being the greed of nations. Greed and self-interest no doubt play a role, but thereís also genuine thought behind decisions not to participate.