|Kyoto’s Goal = Kick the U.S.
|When George W. Bush made his first trip to Europe as President in June, the anti-Bush U.S. media, the anti-U.S. European socialists, and the anti-growth green parties were all lying in wait to grab headlines at his expense. They zeroed in on Bush’s withdrawal from further negotiations on the Kyoto Protocol, also known as the Global Warming Treaty.
President Bush deserves an “A” from Americans for his five-nation European tour because he stood firm on his Kyoto decision despite daily hammering from big media in the United States to try to get him to change his mind. Let’s have a reality check about Kyoto.
The worldwide push for this fraudulent treaty got off the ground at the 1992 UN Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, which produced several international agreements including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. This called on countries to take “voluntary actions” to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (principally carbon dioxide, CO2) to their 1990 levels. This agreement was, unfortunately, signed by President George Bush I and ratified by the Senate in 1992.
The first lesson we should learn from this is the folly of signing UN treaties that are called voluntary. Any treaty called voluntary will surely morph into Other Countries’ Great Expectations, which in turn will morph into demands by foreigners abroad and globalists at home that we meet our alleged “obligations.”
Buried in the treaty’s verbiage was this sentence: “The developed country parties should take the lead in combating climate change and the adverse effects thereof.” Now the UN propagandists are asserting that this alleged “international law” binds the United States not only to actually do what was called “voluntary” (dramatically reduce our CO2 emissions), but to do it immediately regardless of when, if ever, other countries do anything to conform to the treaty’s goals.
UN bureaucrats and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) have been working for years to turn this voluntary Rio agreement into a legally binding agreement called the Global Warming Treaty. The new treaty was agreed to by Vice President Al Gore in Kyoto, Japan in 1997 and signed in New York in 1998. Ever since, it’s been called the Kyoto Protocol. Fortunately, treaties do not bind the United States unless ratified by two-thirds of the Senate.
The Kyoto Protocol would require the United States to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions to 7% below our 1990 levels, a tremendous reduction in our energy consumption (our use of electricity, gas, oil, and gasoline) and therefore in our standard of living. However, Kyoto would impose no limitations on 130 developing nations, including China (the world’s second largest emitter of greenhouse gases), India, Mexico and Brazil, and would allow Europeans to evade reductions by averaging among the European Union (EU) countries.
Kyoto is so manifestly unfair to the United States that the U.S. Senate went on record against it in 1997 by passing the Byrd-Hagel Resolution 95-0 to warn our President that the treaty would not be ratified. President Bush is obviously reflecting American views when he withdrew from negotiations.
The biggest poor country is Russia, whose economy is so devastated that it can’t afford industrial production to produce emissions anyway. The collapse of the Russian economy has produced a windfall of possible pollution “credits” that Russia can sell to countries unwilling to reduce emissions. That means U.S. taxpayers would pay tribute to Russia in order to be allowed to maintain our current standard of living.
Alternatively, if U.S. industries are forbidden to burn fossil fuels to keep their plants open, they will move them to China or Mexico where there are no such restrictions. The bottom line is, Kyoto would require U.S. industries either to give away massive amounts of U.S. cash by buying emission credits from foreign countries or to move their jobs abroad.
The Kyoto Protocol is based on the assumption that all countries have a community of interest in cutting CO2 emissions in order to reduce global warming. Any successful agreement for a global commission to regulate personal and industrial use of energy would have to be based on the common interests of the signers.
The Hague conference displayed the hopelessness of this venture and the passionate demands of countries with diametrically opposed interests. In some nations the climate is too hot and they don’t want it any hotter, while other nations hope global warming will make their crops more abundant.
Regulations are opposed by countries that are completely dependent on coal or oil and would be devastated by the new regulations. Regulations are favored by low-lying countries that worry about the rising of the seas that is predicted if the earth warms and polar ice melts.
Some countries have already subjected their industries to heavy socialistic regulations and taxes and want to impose the same on the rest of the world. Other countries value their freedom from regulations.
The United States could actually go half way toward meeting Kyoto’s emission-reduction goals because our large forests function as a “sink” to naturally absorb the main greenhouse gas, which is CO2 coming from our tailpipes and smokestacks. Our vast forests absorb up to 300 million tons a year of carbon dioxide. But other countries reject this as a “free ride” for the America they envy.
The poor nations are demanding that the U.S. build projects in their countries for climate protection, pollution cutting, “clean coal,” and forest protection, but are even unwilling to allow us any “credits” for these handouts in meeting our emissions goals. As an envious Nigerian declaimed, “They have caused the problems, they have made the whole world unsafe.”
Nuclear power, which produces energy without greenhouse emissions, is another sticking point. The environmentalists have prevented the construction of modern nuclear plants in the United States, but other countries have no such restrictions and France relies heavily on nuclear plants for its electricity.
It’s a fiction that the United States alone is blocking the Kyoto Protocol; it hasn’t been ratified by any industrialized country. Australia just announced that it is withdrawing from Kyoto negotiations because it would mean transferring Australian industries and jobs to undeveloped countries in Asia. Germany just announced that it is phasing out its nuclear power plants (which provide a third of its electricity), which must mean that Germany will use energy sources that produce greenhouse gas emissions.
Science has become political.
The rationale for the Kyoto Protocol is the fear of a monster called global warming: the earth is getting warmer, the ice will melt, the oceans will rise and flood our cities. Kyoto advocates use the new June report of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to sell this thesis and clobber George W. Bush.
But the Kyoto propagandists have maliciously misrepresented this report. The full report makes clear that there is no scientific consensus about long-term climate trends or what causes them.
Yes, climate is constantly changing and the earth is warmer than it used to be; we are grateful we don’t live in the Ice Age. But scientists do not agree that past climate change was caused by CO2 and they cannot forecast what the climate will be in the future. They don’t agree on how much change can be attributed to greenhouse gases and how much to water vapor, clouds and storms.
The NAS report absolutely does not prove the need for the Kyoto Protocol. It documents the lack of consensus on the whole issue. (See “Scientists’ Report Doesn’t Support the Kyoto Treaty” by Richard S. Lindzen [MIT professor who served on the National Academy of Sciences panel], Wall Street Journal, June 11, 2001. See also “The Kyoto Delusion” by Robert J. Samuelson, Washington Post, 6-20-01.)
More than 17,000 American scientists (two-thirds with advanced degrees) have signed a Petition that reads as follows:
“We urge the United States government to reject the global warming agreement that was written in Kyoto, Japan in December 1997, and any other similar proposals. The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind.
“There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the earth’s climate. More over, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the earth.” (The names of the signatories are posted at www.oism.org/pproject.)
Kyoto is part of a web of UN treaties that attack American sovereignty .
Most of the other representatives on these UN commissions come from countries where they don’t have single-family homes that are heated in the winter and cooled in the summer. They gang up on us and want to lock in the global authority to set the thermostats on our homes in order to reduce our standard of living to theirs.
A strong European Union (EU) is not in our U.S. national interest. The EU believes in free trade among the countries admitted to the EU, but is highly protectionist when it comes to dealing with the United States, and the EU has 15 votes to our one in the World Trade Organization.
The current EU president, Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson, is blunt about this: he openly says that a strong Europe is needed to balance U.S. world domination. EU’s antitrust authorities are already using their power to protect EU industries against competition from U.S. companies.
A strong EU is supported in the United States by ideologues who see it as a stepping stone to world government and by the multinational corporations that see it as a stepping stone to global free trade with totally open borders. For example, former Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott said, “A politically united Europe will be a stronger partner to advance our common goals.” But his stated goal is to terminate national sovereignty and “nationhood as we know it,” and replace it with “a single, global authority.” (Time, 7-20-92)
In Europe, the globalists have been peddling the idea that history is moving in an irreversible process toward unifying Europe. They draw the analogy that, as America grew and prospered by evolving from 13 colonies through the clumsy Confederation to a mighty United States, Europe will progress through the common market, the European Union (EU), the single currency called the euro, the Treaty of Nice to fill in the details of consolidation, and finally to a United States of Europe.
The trouble is that this process is fundamentally undemocratic. The plan was to have all these decisions made by officials in the European governments, most of which have moved very left in the last few years. Consulting European voters was never part of the plan.
But a funny thing happened on the way to European unity. Somehow, Denmark managed to hold a referendum on the euro, and Ireland managed to hold a referendum on the Treaty of Nice. And the voters shouted No!
Warning from Denmark.
The Danes were keen enough to recognize the euro as the stalking horse for a European superstate that would submerge national identity and sovereignty over each nation’s borders, defenses, and even domestic laws. A global or even a regional currency enables major political and economic decisions to be made outside of national elections, which clearly erodes democratic self-government.
The Danes realized that the sovereignty of their country was at stake, and they were unwilling to relinquish control to unaccountable foreign bureaucrats. As an anti-euro Danish leader said, “If we give up the krone, we won’t be masters in our own house any more.”
Nothing could be more anti-democratic than the global bureaucracies that purport to manage international monetary issues, such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Trade Organization (WTO). The top salary at the IMF is a tax-free $364,000, more than twice the U.S. President’s after-tax salary. Unlike elected officials, these global bureaucrats do not answer to the public no matter how disastrous their policies.
A global or even a regional currency, controlled by unaccountable bureaucrats in a foreign country, severely diminishes democratic self-government. It disfranchises voters from control not only over their currency but also over all related economic policies so that important decisions can be made outside of national elections.
It may be debatable whether the American economy is helped or hurt under the rule of NAFTA, GATT, WTO and PNTR (Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China), but it is undebatable that there are some winners and some losers and that American democracy is diminished.
After Denmark’s vote, the gulf between the euro advocates and the euroskeptics was called the “democratic deficit.” Half a year later, this deficit escalated to what is called the “democracy predicament.”
Warning from Ireland.
This surprise plunged the EU bureaucrats into sudden disarray. The politicians who prattle incessantly about democracy are not willing to accept the voters’ democratic decisions. The current president of the EU, Sweden’s Prime Minister Goran Persson, immediately telephoned Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern to suggest that he arrange a second vote on the Treaty.
The Treaty of Nice is designed to lock in the 15 members of the EU and restructure its governing authority to redistribute power more to the larger countries and less to the smaller ones. The treaty will then pave the way for the addition of 12 new members, mostly former Communist countries from Eastern Europe, thus doubling the size of what we call Europe.
The plan was always to have it railroaded to acceptance by the political establishment in each of the current EU countries, where unanimous passage was essential but was always considered a certainty. When one EU official casually suggested last year that Germany might want to consult its voters on acceptance of the Nice Treaty, German government officials were horrified at the thought of losing control over the process and vehemently denounced the idea. It’s not known what punishment was meted out to the tactless guy who dared to broach such a politically incorrect idea.
The entire Irish government and all three major political parties supported the Nice Treaty. So how could Irish voters not do as the establishment told them to vote? Ordinary voters have figured out what their leaders have been concealing, namely, that a common market leads inevitably to a common government to enforce it, and the means of achieving it are anti-democratic. Ratifying the Treaty of Nice means surrendering the right of self-government to foreigners with different and often antagonistic cultures, language, religion, values, forms of government, national security interests, and economic goals.
The Treaty of Nice would force Ireland’s participation in the EU Rapid Reaction Force. That means surrendering the right to decide when to go to war and when to stay out of other nation’s quarrels.
The Treaty of Nice would force Ireland to surrender control over its borders and admit a free flow of impoverished immigrants from former Communist countries. There is no way those immigrants can be culturally or economically assimilated.
The Treaty of Nice would force Ireland to conform its laws and customs to decisions of the EU courts. Ireland would lose its power, for example, to set its own abortion and liquor laws.
A common market among the several states of the United States has been a major factor in American growth and prosperity. But our own common market depends on the states relinquishing state sovereignty to Congress’s Article I power “to regulate commerce with foreign nations and among the several states.”
Americans are glad to do that, firm in the knowledge that all Congress’s regulations must be subject to the U.S. Constitution. Ireland and Denmark have given us a wake-up lesson that, whatever material benefits may result from a common market (a.k.a. the global economy), they are not worth surrendering national sovereignty to foreign bureaucrats, foreign military, or foreign judges.