In an arrogant and counterproductive move, the E.P.A. denied California’s request for a permission to regulate vehicle greenhouse gas emission:
The Bush administration said Wednesday night that it would deny California’s bid to set stricter vehicle emissions standards than federal law required as part of the state’s efforts to fight climate change. Stephen L. Johnson, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, said he planned to deny the state’s application for a waiver from federal law that the state had sought more than two years ago. “The Bush administration is moving forward with a clear national solution — not a confusing patchwork of state rules,” Mr. Johnson told reporters on a conference call. “I believe this is a better approach than if individual states were to act alone.”
Y’know, Johnson may be right. A national solution might just be better than a state patchwork. But California stepped up, while Bush has stalled. In his campaign 8 years ago, he talked about regulating carbon emissions, and as soon as Al Gore was off his back, that talk melted away like the Arctic ice.
In the UN’s Bali climate change conference, the United States had to be guilt-tripped into joining the rest of the world in controlling our interference with global climate. The representative for Papua New Guinea told us:
We seek your leadership. But if for some reason you are not willing to lead, leave it to the rest of us. Please get out of the way.
Apparently Californians have to say the same thing. There is no doubt, of course, that California alone cannot change the trajectory of the world’s climate. Heck, the United States can’t do it alone. California has to work with the other states, and the United States has to work with other nations. But the problem is current, and will only get worse and harder to solve. Some climate scientists think we’ve already passed the point where feedback loops will cause irreversible climate change. Others think we aren’t there quite yet, but they all agree that we will reach such a point, and we will reach it soon.
If the President doesn’t want to act, he should get out of the way while the rest of the world goes about its business.