Emission impossible

While the Bush administration’s foot-dragging on global warming couldn’t be clearer, states across the nation are “remarkably — and increasingly — active” in fighting to save the world as we know it. Well, some states are. News Hits is embarrassed — but not surprised — to find that Michigan stands out as the antithesis of the movement.

Michigan’s motto: Don’t mess with our emissions.

No, siree, no stinkin’ commie New World Order is going to interfere with our sovereign right to belch toxins and vanquish those pesky ozone molecules.

Barry Rabe, a University of Michigan professor of natural resources and the environment, and the author of a recent report for the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, compiled the fascinating, if depressing, data.

Some 16 states passed resolutions in 1998 and 1999 opposing Senate ratification of the Kyoto Protocols, which would reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Among those states, Rabe says a handful went further, erecting roadblocks to state efforts to squelch emissions (which most scientists agree trap heat in the atmosphere, melt polar ice caps, raise sea levels and such). Michigan passed legislation barring state agencies from even “proposing or promulgating any rule to reduce greenhouse gases unless it had been requested by the Legislature” — which clearly signaled that such requests would be a waste of time.

Michigan’s legislative roadblocks are “by far … the toughest,” Rabe tells us. And as other, less brain-damaged states around the Great Lakes become more active in addressing the greenhouse issue — in hopes of saving tourism, for instance — officials in neighboring states wonder why Michigan is so slow to act and cooperate with them.

News Hits suggests that the incoming Granholm administration and the Legislature read the report, or have it read to them at bedtime. What they might discover is that conservatives can keep yapping anti-Kyoto rhetoric and work with environmentalists to fight greenhouse emissions. The secret is to save the world under the fig leaf of, say, energy independence or economic development. That’s how Texas pushed wind power in a big way and is set to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1.83 million tons a year. The 1999 legislation, Rabe notes, was signed by then-Gov. George W. Bush, who hasn’t lost any of his precious anti-environmental credentials in the process.

The full report is available at www.pewclimate.org.

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