‘The corporations are demanding regulation,’ George Monbiot reports, ‘and the government is refusing to give it to them.’
For the first time on record, the permafrost of western Siberia is melting. As it does so, it releases the methane stored in the peat. Methane has 20 times the greenhouse warming effect of carbon dioxide. The more gas the peat releases, the warmer the world becomes, and the more the permafrost melts….
So much for the perpetual demand of the think tanks to ‘get government off the backs of business’. Any firm which wants to develop the new technologies wants tough new rules. It is regulation that creates the market….
So why won‰t the government act? Because it is siding with the dirty companies against the clean ones. Deregulation has become the test of its manhood: the sign that it has put the bad old days of economic planning behind it… [I]t has now become clear to me that the obstacle is not the market but the government, waving a dog-eared treatise which proves some point in a debate the rest of the world has forgotten.
Unfortunately siding with the dirty companies against the clean ones will turn out to be lousy macroeconomic policy, as well as bad environmental policy.