21 July 2003

More on Montreal

Billmon has more on the Montreal Protocol

This may seem like a relatively minor issue. Methyl bromide, after all, only accounts for about 7% of all ozone layer depletion, according to the Times story. But, like most multilateral treaties, the Montreal Protocol is a delicate tissue of compromises and concessions. Bush's environmental Visigoths are not only trying to use that tissue to wipe their own rumps, they're actively encouraging other countries to do the same.

This conceivably could bring about the collapse of the entire agreement, as each country tries to avoid being stuck with the treaty's obligations while the others enjoy its benefits. The classic prisoners' dilemma.

The Montreal Protocol has probably been the most successful environmental treaty in history. It was that very success that encouraged the community of nations to try its collective hand at drafting a similar compact to deal with global warming. The administration, of course, has already deep-sixed that one. Now it's setting its torpedo sights on the original. Which leads one expert to ask a question:

Dr Joe Farman, the Cambridge scientist who discovered the Antarctic ozone hole, added: "This is madness. We do not need this chemical. We do need the ozone layer. How stupid can people be?"

I don't think anyone who's watched Shrub in action will find it too hard to provide the answer.

Note the restraint. I say nothing about Bush's environment policy consisting of the usual bromides.

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