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Does the US Need European Laws Protecting the Planet?

Europe has moved to the head of the environmental class by pledging to cut emissions by 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. It's the world’s most comprehensive carbon management system.

Europe is proposing to tighten the rules for allocating pollution allowances, and make polluters pay the government for allowances instead of getting them for free. It's a plan that will raise large sums of money to invest in new and cleaner ways of producing energy.

By contrast, America's efforts to halt global warming are stymied by governmental inaction. Sen. Joseph Lieberman is still hoping to get a veto-proof majority for a bill he is co-sponsoring with Sen. John Warner to start capping emissions across the entire economy.

Europe’s program is in business, whereas America’s best ideas are still on paper. Change is slow to come. New York City is battling to enact congestion-zapping tolls, and the biggest new environmental idea — Al Gore's huge eco-initiative comes from the private sector — and was launched partly out of frustration in the lack of government action.

Do we need policy or personal behavior and private sector know-how? Why is America so behind Europe?


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