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8.7.03

Morat has the inside scoop on the EPA and Bush's Clear Skies bill. What struck me in it was this sentence:

... there are industry groups who hate it [Clear Skies] because they know regulations on CO2 are coming eventually and they want regulatory certainty on it now instead so they can keep all the issues in mind when they're making renovations and upgrades.


This is an oft-overlooked success of the environmental movement: creating a sense of social progress that will inevitably lead to greater environmental protection -- both legislatively and in terms of consumer conduct. Here we see it getting polluting industries behind CO2 regulation, and I've read about (don't have the citation on me at the moment) oil companies becoming more environmentally friendly because of a sense that it will be necessary eventually due to consumer demand. I don't think it is inevtiable that we'll take better care of the environment, but it's surprising in a way to see how that idea has taken hold. Often what you hear from environmentalists is doomsday scenarios of an overpopulated, overpolluted earth -- seemingly just the opposite of the inevitable environmentalism meme. But this doomsaying may be contributing to the sense of progress, because it helps to fix environmental degradation as both a threat and an injustice (wrong both pragmatically and morally). This fits well into the progressive narrative of history, which tells of humanity gaining more and more control over the world (conquering pragmatic obstacles -- the advance of science and technology) as well as weeding out injustices (conquering moral obstacles -- first aristocracy, then slavery, then racism, and now my cause).

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