Sat, Oct 28, 2006 - Page 9 News List

Tackling global warming

Gentle regulation of the marketplace will simply not suffice for a problem this big, while individual actions are not enough. Governments must act swiftly and substantially

By Jonathan Freedland  /  THE GUARDIAN , LONDON

TIME RUNNING OUT

But a heretical thought nags. Governments are limited in what they can do because they no longer control the key economic levers: If they did, they could act swiftly. Instead, they are left hoping that market mechanisms will work their magic and that the polluters' behavior will change. But that can take time and time is the one commodity we don't have.

As Ashton said: "We don't set the deadlines, nature sets the deadlines. It's true that we cannot go back to the days of state ownership and the command economy.

Its true, too, that state-run industries polluted as badly as private ones, and were often achingly slow to change. Yet if ever there was a time when the sovereignty of the market posed a mortal danger, it is surely now.

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