Tuesday, August 01, 2006

A New Special Relationship

California Gov. Arnold Schwartzenegger and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair have just agreed to cooperate to reduce global warming.

This is more of a pairing of equals than it might seem at first. With 60 million citizens, the UK has almost double California's population (36m), but CA's purchasing-power-adjusted GDP of $1.6 trillion is not too far off the UK's $1.8 trillion. (California, by itself, has maybe the fifth-largest economy in the world.)

There are a lot of political and legal questions to work out. Can California enter an emissions-swapping plan with the UK? Will Bush or Congressional Republicans try to make Schwartzenegger pay for doing an end-run around the US's withdrawal from the Kyoto climate treaty?

But it raises interesting possibilities. A lot of US cities and states have been quietly implementing part or all of the Kyoto treaty on their own terms, and it would be fascinating to see if the green states (much the same as the blue states, I suspect), start banding together with one another and with partners abroad to behave responsibly despite their federal government.


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