Thursday, February 17, 2005

Volokhs off again on the environment

I give the Volokhs' latest post on the environment a C-minus, an improvement over their previous environmental posts, all of which are far worse than their non-environmental posts.

This latest post is on global warming. It suggests Bush should not be criticized for failing to support Kyoto, because Kyoto would never pass the Senate. Not pushing Kyoto in the Senate is far from the top of environmentalists concerns. His constant attempt to sabotage Kyoto by trying to keep Russia and other nations out ranks far higher. Higher still is his reneging on the sole meaningful environmental promise in 2000, saying he would regulate carbon dioxide pollution. Volokhs fail to mention these issues.

Volokhs point to Kyoto signatories who will likely fail to meet their obligations as indicating Kyoto is bad, but their failure will just put more pressure on them in the next treaty round. The sentence, "Even some who believe global warming is a pressing policy concern doubt Kyoto represents a responsible strategy to address climate change concerns" is misleading - any important doubters would want MORE action, not less.

Volokhs point to the Bush Methane to Markets program, but whether this voluntary program involving little money will accomplish its goal of stabilizing methane emissions is highly doubtful. With carbon dioxide constituting 84% of the human-caused greenhouse gas effects, saying the methane program "could do as much to reduce the threat of global warming as Kyoto" is ridiculous, and a claim that even the Bush administration doesn't make.

To provide additional backup to their points, they rely on an inaccurate article that fails to realize the Bush Clear Skies program significantly delays air pollution cuts that could be reached earlier under current law. They provide additional support with another blog post that just summarizes the first article.

I think there may be something to this idea of attacking methane emissions, hard, but whether the Bush program does anything effective is a very different question. A voluntary, low-effort program sounds less than impressive.

keywords: Volokh Correction

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