WICKER: U.S. CORRECT TO REJECT KYOTO TREATY
By Congressman Roger F. Wicker
March 28, 2005
There are better ways to protect the environment, Congressman says
An international climate agreement aimed at reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants went into effect last month. The Kyoto Treaty was ratified by 141 countries-but the U.S was not among them. President Bush was correct to reject this ill-advised pact because of the devastating effect it could have on the U.S. economy.
The treaty, named for the Japanese city where it was created, would impose mandatory restrictions on automobile and manufacturing plant emissions that its proponents say are contributing to global warming. The list of treaty signatories includes 35 industrialized nations, which would be bound by strict limits. Other treaty participants-including countries with whom we compete for jobs such as India and China-are classified as developing countries and would be exempt from the same limitations.
COULD COST AMERICAN JOBS
The agreement would have forced the U.S. to reduce emissions to a point below levels recorded in 1990. The White House estimated that such action might result in a loss of almost five million American jobs and a $400 billion jolt to our economy. The Bush Administration also correctly points out that the treaty is ineffective and discriminatory because so many rapidly developing countries would not be bound by the same limits.
The President has noted that the U.S. is spending more than $5.8 billion this year on research, new technology, and tax incentives to reduce air pollutants. The measures are aimed at improving energy security without hurting economic growth and job creation opportunities.
DISAGREEMENT AMONG SCIENTISTS
There is still disagreement among many scientists about the harm these gases might produce in the atmosphere. White House spokesman Scott McClellan said, "We are still learning about the science of climate change. In the meantime, we have made an unprecedented commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in a way that continues to grow the economy."
The Wall Street Journal echoed questions about the science and added its criticism of the Kyoto Treaty in a recent editorial: "The world is being lobbied to place a huge economic bet - as much as $150 billion a year - on the notion that man-made global warming is real. Businesses are gearing up, at considerable cost, to deal with a new regulatory environment...Shouldn't everyone look very carefully, and honestly, at the science before we jump off this particular cliff."
From ratification to enactment, the treaty took more than seven years. It was the subject of much discussion during that time, but neither President Clinton or President Bush ever asked the U.S. Senate to consider ratification. The Senate took a non-binding vote in 1997 and sent a clear message of disapproval. The vote was 95-0.
U.S. REDUCING POLLUTION
Rejection of the Kyoto Treaty is not a signal of indifference from the U.S. government on the issue of improving the environment. Congress and the President are pressing ahead on initiatives to promote hydrogen-powered vehicles, boost renewable energy sources, and produce more efficient clean coal technology. President Bush reiterated that commitment on his recent trip to Europe. In meetings with European Union members, he pointed out that our focus on developing new technologies would fight pollution and improve living standards for people around the world.