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Outsourcing Emissions

Dave Roberts scoffs at a response from a Bush administration spokeswoman on the topic of climate change:

"He is opposed to any program which shifts jobs and emissions overseas," Hellmer said.

You'll pry our emissions from our cold, dead hands!


I certainly support taking anything this administration says about the environment with a whole shakerfull of salt, since they're constantly on the lookout for ways to stall while still looking slightly green. But regardless of whether she actually means it, Hellmer's comment about shifting emissions overseas is smart. We live in a globally integrated economy. That means that anything we do to our economy (including withdrawing from global trade) is going to have ramifications for the economies, and hence the emissions, of other nations. Nothing but self-righteousness would be gained by cleaning up American emissions in a way that caused increased emissions elsewhere in the world. (Simplistic applications by enviro-skeptics of the environmental Kuznets curve -- the tendency for environmental damage to peak then decline as a country gets richer -- tend to ignore the interconnectedness issue as well.)


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