The Kyoto protocol is better known as a mechanism to bash Bush than as a tool to combat the worrying scourge of Global Warming.
Here is a tasty bit of information about the deeply flawed climate control protocol, from the book "Anti Americanism" by Jean-Francois Revel. (Thanks to Vaz who recommended this fine book to the Blogosphere.)
In 1997, under the countenance of the UN, delegates from 168 nations gathered in Kyoto to sign a protocol that intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Famously, Gerorge W. Bush withdrew American adherence to Kyoto in January 2001.
This is the story as most of us know it, a story of a greedy capitalist who refused to help protect the environment against the wishes of the world in general and the Americans in particular.
Unfortunately, the authors of this story are guilty of voluntary blindness when it comes to reporting all the facts.
- In 1997 with Bill Clinton as President, the US senate rejected the Kyoto protocol by a vote of 95-0.
Even Hillary Clinton, the most liberal of senators voted against the protocol.Bush had nothing to do with this - rightly or wrongly it was rejected by the US senate. At the end of his term Clinton signed an executive order reaffirming America's adherence of Kyoto. The executive order became a hotcake for Bush - accept Clinton's unilateral executive order (knowing it would never get through the Senate) or reject it and abide by the protocol's 95-0 defeat in the US senate.
- By mid-2001, four years after the Kyoto conference, not one of the 167 other signatories had ratified the protocol.
- We are often told that America, with just 5% of the worlds population, produces 25% of the worlds pollution. But did you know that they also produce 25% of the world's goods and services.
- Only one May 31 2002 did the EU ratify the protocol, but we will have to wait and see if there is any serious attempt regarding implementation.
No US senate will ever implement a protocol that so unfairly forces the US to dial back on production and energy consumption whilst allowing polluters like Brazil, India, and particularly China to carry on relatively unaffected.
There appears to be conflicting evidence regarding whether or not carbon dioxide emissions effect climate. That said, doing nothing carries an unacceptable risk and so something needs to be done to save our environment. Kyoto does not appear to be the answer. Instead of leveraging on the failed protocol as a political tool against Bush, the powers that be should work on a new solution. The current US plan, of allowing polluters to trade polluting permits appears to create an incentive to pollute effectively so that you use up less of your credits, allowing you to earn money by trading these credits away. (Restrictions do apply, and the number of credits are reduced with each trade so that overall pollution is reduced). The tax incentives to reduce Greenhouse gas emissions should also be noted. Read all about the US Climate Change Policy here.