The Theoretical US Climate Change Advantage

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

Interesting news comes from the Danish commentary weekly Information, best summarized by the lede from a recent article by Jørgen Steen Nielsen:

The EU punks the American government on climate questions, and the USA is behind due to the Bush administration. But when it comes to measures for the coming years, the EU has nothing for the Americans to hear, say experts.

(Yes, I have to assume that that Danish punker corresponds to “punks,” from “to punk,” as in “to rag on, to give someone a hard time about,” even though that meaning of “punk” is some rather obscure American street-slang – with which I myself am nonetheless familiar from the past, by the way. That’s simply the meaning called for by the context.)

The ultimate point here is a counterintuitive one. As Nielsen notes, the EU in particular loves to upbraid the American authorities for dragging their feet on anti-climate change measures, and it’s true that there was absolutely no progress on this during the George W. Bush years while the Europeans already succeeded in reducing their greenhouse-gas emissions somewhat compared to the 1990 baseline. But going forward, US “ambitions” for addressing climate change can actually be regarded as superior to those of Europe. (more…)

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