[Boston Globe editorial]: Chris Walker of Swiss Reinsurance, the second-biggest reinsurer in the world, remarked on the seriousness with which his and other European insurers address climate change, especially in contrast with their US counterparts…. The Europeans have come to the conclusion that the costs to industry and transportation of complying with Kyoto are ”not that big a deal.”
If the United States ever seeks UN Security Council support for war on Iraq, that backing would be much easier to come by if foreign opinion on the subject were not so colored by the impression that the Bush administration wants to fight to ensure cheap fuel for SUVs. Bush needs to show far more interest in the global climate and in the world’s frustration with US policy. Both are heating up.

Meanwhile, the Bush administration is reportedly pursuing a “mandatory voluntary program” with US industry, “collecting written promises from industries to curb emissions of gases linked to global warming.” But the targets are modest, and aim at best at reducing the rate of increase of GHG emissions, rather than reducing emission levels themselves.
White House officials said the new effort was just the beginning of a protracted campaign for voluntary reductions. “We’re not declaring victory here and going home,” an administration official said. “It’ll be an ongoing thing from here.”
The news, as always, seems to be better outside the White House. As the Times reports
Many big companies, expecting that regulation of greenhouse gases is inevitable, have already moved independently to set up voluntary caps and trading schemes in which companies that aggressively cut their emissions acquire pollution credits they can sell to other companies…. The newest effort began on Thursday, with the start of the Chicago Climate Exchange, under which big manufacturers and energy companies agreed to cut emissions and trade credits with one another.
Once again, the markets may drive the policies, more than vice versa.

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