Emissions standards should be consistent
Guilt. It's probably the most-effective tool that have-not nations possess when they sit down at a negotiating table with their industrialized counterparts.
How else can you explain some of the ridiculous proposals that surface at meetings like the upcoming summit on global warming, scheduled for December in Japan.
Never mind the scientific dispute over whether global warming is even a serious problem, or whether humans or sea algae are more responsible for a recent increase in greenhouse gases.
Rather than focusing purely on reducing industrial output of greenhouse gases, some officials use these negotiations as a means of redistributing global wealth. They argue that industrial nations must roll back their output of greenhouse gases. But their developing brethren can continue to increase output, provided they manage how quickly they expand.
Politicians from industrialized nations readily accept guilt for their wealth, and they want to help others escape poverty. But the United States and Canada cannot thrive as post-industrial societies, with citizens cheerfully selling life insurance and annuities to each other.
If industrializing nations have a means of monitoring their domestic production of greenhouse gases, then certainly they have the ability to regulate emissions. Why, then, set different standards for resin and chemical production in different parts of the world? Shouldn't all suppliers use the best reasonable technology?
Or, as an alternative, use the power of the marketplace to control emissions with a global pollution trading system.
U.S. economy needs fast-track approval
Nearly all economists agree that, in the long run, free trade is good for the global economy. But trade, to a large degree, is a pocketbook issue: Where you stand probably has more to do with your personal finances than the ups and downs of the gross national product.
The White House expects U.S. business owners — including plastics processors — naturally to favor giving President Clinton the authority to negotiate and fast-track the approval of major trade pacts. But processors naturally worry about how these pacts would affect their business.
However, holding up fast-track approval now is like closing the proverbial barn door after the horse has escaped. Original equipment manufacturers seeking a low-cost haven now have Mexico — close to home, relatively stable, and itself a burgeoning market.
That combination caused some hardship to U.S. and Canadian processors in recent years, but nothing like the giant sucking sound that some predicted.
Fast-track makes sense for the country's overall well-being, and should be renewed.