Monday, December 04, 2006

The solution to a collective action problem is to stop people from doing anything about it...

...according to the honorable Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. I had pointed out this excerpt from last Wednesday's Supreme Court hearing in an earlier post:
JUSTICE SCALIA: I presume the problem that they have in mind is that we have nothing to give in international negotiations. If we have done everything we can to reduce CO2, you know, what deal do we make with foreign nations? What incentive do they have to go along with us?
MR. GARRE: That's right, Your Honor. We've got a unique collective action problem, and yet, the reaction experience of the agency in dealing with the issue of stratospheric ozone depletion rate had precisely that situation, where the U.S. initially took steps. The stratospheric ozone depletion worsened, and it was only after international agreement was reached in the Montreal Protocol that a global solution to the problem was reached.
It's outrageous given the context, which I suspect Scalia knows nothing about. The United States has been a millstone around the neck of the Kyoto and post-Kyoto efforts to fight global warming. Not only has the Bush Administration done what it could to keep other countries from ratifying Kyoto, the US unwillingness to do anything about global warming has limited the political will in other nations to do something.

By this blighted standard, the rest of the developed world has acted immorally by adopting Kyoto without requiring binding reductions from Third World countries, and only the virtuous
American decision to pump unlimited amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere makes a global limit on CO2 still achievable.

Scalia is unbelievable. The only comparison is Tim Blair, who also thinks that not doing your part is the thing to do.

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