TSRTopS.jpg

 

Bush Points Way to "Post-Kyoto Era"

 

DATE: July 8, 2005

BACKGROUND: In a setback for advocates of the Kyoto Treaty, leaders of the world's eight leading industrial nations have refused to endorse mandatory emissions limits on greenhouse gases from fossil fuels.

TEN SECOND RESPONSE: The countries gathered at the G-8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland moved a big step in the direction of the "post-Kyoto era" in the manner favored by President Bush: Letting science and technology -- rather than bureaucracy -- deal with the vexing issue of climate change.

THIRTY SECOND RESPONSE: Not only have advocates completely misjudged the political and economic realities of their scheme to avert global warming, they have grossly oversimplified the task at hand.  Only hubris, supported by ignorance, could make someone believe that politicians, bureaucrats, and environmental activists could somehow join forces to change the Earth's climate. 

DISCUSSION:

In a stunning setback for advocates of the beleaguered Kyoto Protocol, leaders of the world's eight leading industrial nations have refused to endorse mandatory emissions limits on greenhouse gases from fossil fuels, said by some to be responsible for global warming.

Instead, the countries gathered at the G-8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland moved a big step in the direction of the "post-Kyoto era"1 favored by President Bush.  It would let science and technology -- rather than bureaucracy -- deal with the vexing issue of climate change.  Even before the G-8 summit was interrupted by the terrorist attacks in London, it had become clear that Bush was not going to be led down the primrose path of energy rationing, which would be the inevitable result of the restrictions on the use of fossil fuels -- oil, coal and natural gas.  "I don't see how you can be president of the United States and sign and agree to an agreement that would have you put a lot of people out of work," he said.2

Unlike the other participants in the summit (Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Russia, and Canada), the U.S. has steadfastly refused to ratify the global warming pact.  But far from being the "odd man out" in Gleneagles, Bush emerged as a trail blazer leading the way away from the dead end that is the Kyoto Protocol.  Kyoto's fixation on greenhouse gases, primarily carbon dioxide (CO2), has doomed it to failure.  The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that CO2 emissions growth in China between now and 2030 "will equal the growth of the United States, Canada, all of Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Korea combined."3  India also will see a rapid rise in CO2 emissions, and the EIA predicts global energy demand and greenhouse gases will increase by roughly 60 percent by 2030.4

Yet China and India, along with scores of other developing countries, are exempt from the emissions-reduction mandates of the Kyoto Protocol.  Having to choose between meeting the real energy needs of their economies and addressing the hypothetical threat of human-induced global warming, these countries have opted for the former.  Even those countries like France, Italy, Spain, Greece, and the Netherlands that are bound to Kyoto's emissions limits are nowhere near meeting their targets.5  Kyoto has become a farce.      
    
On climate change, Bush clearly has the wind to his back.  A few days before he departed for Scotland, the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly rejected -- by a vote of 60 to 38 -- a bill sponsored by Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) that would have imposed mandatory greenhouse-gas emissions caps on the United States, similar to those contained in the Kyoto Protocol.  McCain/Lieberman would have done to American consumers what other nations are increasingly refusing to do to their own their own people, and the Senate will have none of it.       

Not only have advocates completely misjudged the political and economic realities of their scheme to avert global warming, they have grossly oversimplified the task at hand.  "Climate is always changing, and on every spatial and temporal scale," notes Philip Slott, professor of biogeography at the University of London.  "Climate is governed by millions of factors, from the lightest waft of a monarch butterfly's wing, through erupting volcanoes, altering land surfaces, ocean currents, ocean salinity and atmospheric gases, to shifts in the geometry of Earth, solar cycles, meteors and meteorites.  Even our most advanced computers can tell us little about this incredible and unpredictable complexity."6

Only hubris, supported by ignorance (they are frequent companions) could make someone believe that politicians, bureaucrats, and environmental activists could somehow join forces to change the Earth's climate.  "The idea of global warming is dangerous precisely because it gives the false impression that we might be able to halt climate change by fiddling about with just one or two of the millions of factors involved," Professor Slott explains  "It is a serious lie.  Even if we achieved all the cuts in emissions proposed, the effect on temperature change would probably be less than 0.07 degrees Celsius, and, because of the millions of other factors, it might not happen anyway."7

By recognizing that the science of climate change is far from settled, and by emphasizing the role that science and technology can play in helping people adapt to changing circumstances, Bush is leading the world away from the "serious lie" that is global warming.




by Bonner Cohen

Contact the author at: 202-543-4110

The National Center for Public Policy Research
501 Capitol Court, N.E.
Washington, D.C. 20002




Footnotes:

1. James G. Lakely, "Bush Stands Firm on Kyoto Pact," Washington Times 7 July 2005: 1.

2. Lakely: 1.

3. Robert J. Samuelson, "Greenhouse Hypocracy," Washington Post 29 June 2005: A21.

4. Samuuelson: A21.

5. Samuuelson: A21.

6. Philip Slott, "Global Climate Change Has Always Occurred," Savannah Morning News 8 Jan. 2008: 9A

7. Slott: 9A.

 


Donate
| Subscribe | Search | About Us | What's New | Read Our Blog | Home



The National Center for Public Policy Research
501 Capitol Court, N.E.
Washington, D.C. 20002
(202) 543-4110
Fax (202) 543-5975
E-Mail: [email protected]
Web: www.nationalcenter.org
Site Meter