John Kerry on global warming and clean energy

Senator John F. Kerry, questioned during his Secretary of State confirmation hearing, spoke of the need for action to avoid global climate change.  He spoke of the need for the United States to compete in the growing clean energy market, and the record heat waves in many parts of the world last summer.

I think his answers were good, but they indirectly illustrate why global warming is so hard to deal with.  Competing in the world market for windmills, solar panels and other clean energy equipment is one thing.  Regulating industry to prevent greenhouse gas emissions is another.

The Chinese are leaders in the manufacture of clean energy equipment.  They also have a lot industrial pollution and emission of greenhouse gasses from the burning of coal. The opposite situation also is possible.  A country can have a serious commitment to clean energy, and import all its equipment from abroad.

The problem with controls on greenhouse gas emissions is that they will not have an immediate effect.  They will only keep things from getting worse in the future.  In the short run, economic interests in states such as Wyoming will indeed suffer.

I expect the U.S. government will do a lot to promote domestic clean energy industries in the next decade.  Whether or not there will be action on greenhouse gasses is another question.

Hat tip for the video to Hal Bauer

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