OECD slaps down America for lack of action on climate

Concern about climate change is not the preserve of green extremists, but is fast becoming a concern of business. As noted, the CEO of BHP has called for a price on carbon.

Now it seems the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has called upon the US to lift its game:

The United States this week received a lesson in climate change policy 101 from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

As the American political class struggles with the issue of climate change and the need to act – none of the Republican Senate candidates support action, and most do not believe the science – the OECD, in its regular economic survey of the world’s largest economy, has called for the US to take action on the domestic front and take a pivotal role internationally.

“The cost-effective way to reduce these emissions is to price them and to support the development and deployment of emission-reducing technologies, which will reduce future abatement costs,” the OECD writes in the report released this week.

As the OECD notes, Congress may well have passed legislation along these lines in 2009, but the Senate has not. And so the task of reducing emissions – firstly in motor vehicles and then in other sectors – will fall to the US Environmental Protection Agency, at a greater cost to the economy, and probably to no great effect.

So the miners want a price on carbon and the pro-market OECD wants action. Who does this leave the anti-science zealots to attack?

The deniers are fast degenerating into mish-mash of conspiratorial fantasists angry at anyone who disagrees with them. Everyone else is on the conspiracy!

There’s a word for people like that: cranks.

Time to “act-act”?

Of course, as the world heads into the next round of negotiations for a binding agreement to reduce emissions at Cancun, the US is playing down expectations:

The top US climate negotiator warned Tuesday against expectations of any binding deals on cutting greenhouse gas emissions at the next UN conference on the issue in Mexico later this year.

Climate change special envoy Todd Stern also insisted the United States still had a major role to play in the battle against global warming, despite its failure to get a bill cutting greenhouse gas emissions through Congress.

Stern said after a high-level international meeting on climate change here that nations would seek progress on non-binding “decisions” at the talks in Cancun, Mexico, which some experts believe will produce another stalemate.

“No one is anticipating or expecting in any way a legal treaty to be done in Cancun this year,” he said.

“The focus at this point is on a set of decisions on the core issues,” Stern said after talks among 17 nations responsible for 80 percent of carbon emissions.

Churchill famously said it was better to “jaw-jaw” than to “war-war”, sentiments I agree with.

However on climate it would seem we’ve had enough “jaw-jaw”.

We need governments to “act-act”.

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7 thoughts on “OECD slaps down America for lack of action on climate

  1. adelady says:

    Thx sundance, it may not be much, but it is something.

    As the song goes “From little things, big things grow”.

  2. Sundance says:

    No doubt after all is said and done there will be allot said and nothing done as far as the USA is concerned. President Obama as a state Senator in Illinois took money from and was a big supporter of coal, nuclear and ethanol energy producers. He never supported cap and trade or a carbon tax and he certainly isn’t supportive of any binding agreement for a reduction of GHGs. Enviros are already looking for another candidate to sponsor in 2012 to run against Obama. Today the US Treasury made a political play to take control of the Department of Energy and Climate Change which would probably mean the end of government sponsored climate concern in the USA. Your article is correct that no meaningful agreements will be made in Cancun nor anytime soon for that matter. I did get a good laugh out of your article title though as I’m certain Americans feel that the OECD is as relevant to their lives as a fart in your Smart Car. Climate change action is the very last thing American’s are concerned about in recent surveys about what is important to them.

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      “I did get a good laugh out of your article title though as I’m certain Americans feel that the OECD is as relevant to their lives as a fart in your Smart Car…”

      I did laugh at your analogy, but sadly it is very true ;)

      • Sundance says:

        I hope all is well with my friends down under. I have extended family there and hope to visit some day. You might be interested to hear that a couple of Republicans crossed the aisle to back a renewable energy standard and it is alive again in the US Senate. I know this may not be ideal in your view (it certainly isn’t to many enviros here in the US) but the Democrats feel that a foot in the door will allow them to show the value of RES technologies and spur job growth which would launch support for increased efforts to achieve a meaningful GHG reduction. It’s Plan B but it’s still a plan. Cheers!

  3. Manuel Moe G says:

    Nobody that counts believes the cranks 100%. The US and Chinese military strategic planning are factoring in disputes from climate disruption into their long term planning, now.

    What we are seeing is cynical jockeying for maximal gross domestic product in the years before carbon taxation is “baked-in” to all global transactions. If my customer/enemy is not taxing carbon properly, I will simply add those taxes to the price of my exports to my customer, *plus* a cushion of extra taxes because cure is more expensive than prevention. If everyone conducts themselves like this (and they *must* to pay for the consequences of climate disruption), the self-imposed discipline of carbon taxes is the cheapest way to conduct business, all things considered.

    When citizens witness the buildup of their own troops in places where conflict from climate disruption might interfere with access to resources, all will know that climate disruption is a reality. Maybe then we can the discussion about the moral responsibilities of stewardship of the environment for future generations, *particularly* in reducing the risk of the very worst outcomes.

  4. [...] here: OECD slaps down America for lack of action on climate « Watching … This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged battle, bill-cutting, conspiracy, despite-its, [...]

  5. Adam says:

    Engineers have known for years that a controlled system requires a proper feedback mechanism. A carbon component is an obvious part of the cost structure of any business that serves to coexist in the real world and as such need to be included in any control system. A carbon tax is a simplistic, yet effective first attempt at including real world costs into the economy.

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