WHITE HOUSE: EARTH MAY BE ROUND, FURTHER STUDY NEEDED. An administration-commissioned scientific study has concluded what everyone already knows: Global warming is real and human activity is an important factor. Is a change of heart on the White House's part in the offing? Of course not: "White House officials noted that this was just the first of 21 assessments planned by the federal Climate Change Science Program, which was created by the administration in 2002 to address what it called unresolved questions." Twenty-one assessments! We also learn that the administration remains committed to "using voluntary means to slow the growth in emissions of heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide." Obviously, using voluntary means to curb dangerous negative externalities of profit-making businesses isn't going to work.

But there's a kind of deeper dishonesty here as well, where the implication is that if you could use voluntary means to slow the growth of carbon emissions, this would be a useful means of combating global warming. In the real world, the actual level of emissions would have to go down, not slow its growth. Perhaps we'll get to see some focus on this come hurricane season.

--Matthew Yglesias

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