While Kerry noted in his comments that more needs to be done on climate change, his inaccurate recounting of U.S. performance on the Kyoto emissions targets leaves the wrong impression. Low natural gas prices and the economic downtown — not specific policies — have been the prime factors in the emissions reductions, especially for carbon dioxide.There were supposed to be specific policies clamping down on the offenders, not a big recession that the government was (supposedly) trying to avoid/reverse.
Isn't it sad that in all of our suffering through economic malaise, we failed to rejoice and soothe ourselves with the knowledge that we were restricting the production of greenhouse gases? That was not the kind of suffering that the environmentalists had hoped for, and to proclaim the recession a good thing would not have played well in the political arena.
But how different would the environmentalists' specific policies have been? If we'd voluntarily submitted to specific policies, we could have prided ourselves in our virtue. To have inadvertently reached the same result doesn't feel the same.
But the climate change problem isn't about our virtue and our feelings. Is it?