Planet Gore

U.S. Gets Poor Green Marks–Not!

“U.S. Given Poor Marks on the Environment” reads Felicity Barringer’s New York Times article today about Dan Esty’s latest rankings in his Environmental Performance Index.  I’m a fan of Esty’s, and a fan of his ranking project, but his national-scale methodology doesn’t get this right.  In fact, as I shall prove in the next edition of my Index of Leading Environmental Indicators (coming on Earth Day/Lenin’s Birthday, April 22), when you hold constant certain factors (climate, household size, travel distances) we do just as well as Europe if not better.  When all the figures are in, it is likely that the U.S. will be the only major industrialized nation that actually lowered its greenhouse gas emissions in 2006.  But because we didn’t “sign” Kyoto (we did, of course), we’re bad bad bad.
For example, Canada actually high significantly higher per capita greenhouse gas emissions than the U.S. (and have risen much more than the U.S.).  But as common sense will suggest, this is so because Canada is COLD.  Hello!
Stay tuned for details in April.  In the meantime, my partner in crime Joel Schwartz will have something useful to say about this in this space.

Steven F. Hayward — Stephen F. Hayward is a senior resident scholar at the Institute of Governmental Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and the author of a two-volume political history, The Age of Reagan.

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