Portland, emissions cuts, and the economy
I’ve had words with Nicholas Kristof before, but I suppose it’s to his credit that he’s finally discovered — and publicized, in a way a lil’ rag like Grist never could — the fact that reducing greenhouse emissions is a profitable enterprise (via Gil Friend). It does not hurt the economy. It helps. Cities that do it save money and make themselves more desirable places to live and work. See: Portland.
"Portland’s efforts refute the thesis that you can’t make progress without huge economic harm," says Erik Sten, a city commissioner. "It actually goes all the other way – to the extent Portland has been successful, the things that we were doing that happened to reduce emissions were the things that made our city livable and hence desirable."
Putting caps on CO2 emissions would help the overall economy and the public, but it would hurt a few select industries. That’s what Bush means when he says Kyoto would "destroy the economy" — he means, "hurt my campaign contributors." Serving favored business interests is the driving principle of this administration, and Bush is willing to do anything — even publicly snub Tony Blair, his closest and staunchest ally — to serve that principle.
See also Matt Yglesias on the same subject.