As bad luck would have it, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich announced his goals for reducing the state's greenhouse-gas emissions during a February blizzard. The goals themselves are ambitious: back to 1990 levels by 2020, and 60 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. By comparison, two years ago California's Governator proposed the same 2020 goal and 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. President Bush has proposed . . . nothing.
The governor's Climate Change Advisory Group has been digging deep into the issue. Its 40 members include representatives from the AFL-CIO, the Environmental Law and Policy Center, US Steel, Waste Management, and many more. Its meetings are wide open, alternating between Chicago and Springfield.
We're still in the pregame here. And so far the usual interest groups have shown little awareness of the nature of the game. One proposal being floated, for instance, would impose performance standards on power plants' CO2 emissions. The United Mine Workers commented that it opposes "extreme measures that would undermine economic growth, harm particular sectors, or [place] ourselves at a disadvantage to other nations." This of course is a recipe for doing nothing. Better the planet should fry than one coal miner go out of work!
Bear in mind that right now the Advisory Group is far from actually making proposals -- it's still discussing which proposals to consider for modeling, to see how they might actually work if implemented. The Advisory Group's proposals for action are due July 30. What will Blago then endorse? And how hard will he fight for it?