Kyoto Earth Summit Information Center:
Senator Sees Chinese Plot at Kyoto Meeting
Kyoto, Japan - "This is an economic meeting disguised as an environmental meeting," said Senator Michael Enzi (R-WY).
Enzi made the remarks on December 2 in Kyoto, Japan while addressing an event sponsored by the Global Climate Coalition. Also addressing the group were Senators Chuck Hagel (NE) and John Chafee (RI), two key Republicans in the global climate debate.
Senator Hagel kicked off the meeting by stressing that the proposed global warming treaty must apply to developing nations as well as industrial nations. He made a specific reference to China. Senator Hagel reportedly had a private meeting with members of the Chinese delegation and was told diplomatically but firmly that China would have no part in any treaty that requires China to make further commitments to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.
"This is an economic meeting disguised as an environmental meeting which is part of a Chinese plot," responded Senator Enzi.
He further suggested that the Chinese were salivating at the prospect of the United States being shut out of all major global activity.
Senator Hagel then accused the administration of not paying attention to the issue of national sovereignty. The Administration, he argued, has been far too willing to turn the future of the US economy over to international bureaucrats.
At this point, Senator Chafee spoke up.
"If the science is bad, then we should not be here," said Chafee. "But I believe the science is there and we should be here."
He then suggested that the cost of doing nothing would be higher than the costs the proposed treaty would impose. He also stressed his support for the Clinton Administration's position in the talks, saying he has great faith in the Administration's negotiations. The comment was greeted by snickers by many of those in attendance.
Item: There are new indications that Clinton Administration negotiators are closer to brokering a deal in Kyoto than press reports indicate. For one thing, even though such senior Clinton Administration officials as Council on Environmental Quality Chair Kathleen McGinty and Undersecretary of State Stuart Eizenstat are in Kyoto for the meeting, they are nowhere to be found. Speculation is high at the conference that Eizenstat and McGinty are working behind the scenes, cutting deals and doing the real negotiating, while more junior officials such as Assistant Secretary of State Melinda Kimble take public roles.
Item: There are also signs that the highly-publicized rift between US and European Union negotiators is overblown and that the Administration is preparing to sign a treaty. For one thing, Administration officials have repeatedly stated that they are willing to walk away from a "bad" treaty. This could be a prelude to it signing onto a "bad" treaty and marketing it as a "good" one. With the help of strong rhetoric from European Union negotiators, the Clinton Administration also appears to be positioning itself to argue, once a treaty is signed, that it firmly rejected the radical European proposal in favor of a more moderate and reasonable one during the process. Any flack the Administration receives from die-hard, difficult to please environmentalists, will add greater credibility to this argument.
-EPA Watch Editor Dr. Bonner Cohen, on-site in Kyoto, provided the information for this report