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Kyoto's Futile Future By: E. Ralph Hostetter
FrontPageMagazine.com | Tuesday, March 13, 2007

A comment last week by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) perhaps did more to set the future of the Kyoto Protocol in perspective than all the hype of global warming to the present. In answer to an apparently hypothetical question with respect to the chance for United States Senate ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, a step necessary for U.S. adoption of the concept, Senator Feinstein said approval by the Senate "could be years to come, if ever."

No doubt Senator Feinstein was recalling a test vote taken during the Clinton Administration in the late 1990s on the Kyoto Treaty which resulted in a 98-0 defeat. Both President William J. (Bill) Clinton and Vice President Albert A. (Al) Gore signed the Kyoto Treaty in defiance of the Senate vote.

Support for Kyoto beyond the year 2006 is collapsing on nearly every front.

Canada, one of the signatories to the Kyoto Protocol in 2004, has reneged on its commitments. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has referred to the Kyoto Protocol as a "socialist scheme designed to suck money out of rich countries." Canada had been obligated to the draconian provisions of Kyoto by former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien’s socialist government.

Canadian Environmental Minister John Baird said meeting Kyoto's emissions - reduction targets in Canada would require an economic collapse similar to Russia's post-Communist fall.

Canadian climatologist Timothy Ball recently called fears of man-made global warming "the greatest deception in the history of science."

The European Union is experiencing dissension and dissatisfaction within the ranks.

The President of the Czech Republic stated openly his belief that the human-caused global warming issue is a "myth," adding it is "green ideology and environmentalism, which can be identified as the incarnation of leftism.”

Industry, particularly in Germany, is expressing concern. Lufthansa International Airlines CEO Wolfgang Mayrhuber reacted strongly to the imposition of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, threatening to move some airline hub operations to Switzerland, which is not an EU member.

Porsche AG development director Wolfgang Duerheimer told DIE WELT newspaper his company would be unable to meet carbon dioxide emissions standards set by the European Commission by the year 2012. Other German motor-vehicle manufacturers are expressing the same doubts. (One in seven manufacturing jobs in Germany is in automaking.)

French automaker Renault expects a collapse of new car sales in Europe.

The United Nations and the western industrialized world had relied heavily on U.S. participation in the Kyoto Protocol. America was the most productive nation on earth with the world's single largest economy, producing 25% of global wealth.

Without the United States Kyoto was left principally with Canada and the EU, a fraction of the anticipated combined wealth of all.

The Kyoto Protocol was the centerpiece of what former Vice President Gore called his "Marshall Plan" for cleaning up the world's environment.

Ironically, his "Marshall Plan" would receive its most serious setback to date on the 60th anniversary of the real Marshall Plan begun for Europe in 1947.

That setback was carried in an address delivered by Kurt Volker, Principal Deputy Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, at the German Marshall Fund meeting in Berlin on February 12, 2007.

He began: "I want to speak to you today about an issue where we are frequently misunderstood. I am talking about climate change, what the United States is doing about it and about what we and the European Union, and indeed the world, can do about it together..."

Speaking of the strong economic ties the United States has with Europe, Volker listed a number of areas where mutual cooperation could lead to new technologies that would greatly reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.

Not identifying the drastic measures that Kyoto would demand in reduction of energy use to meet its draconian standards, with the resulting loss of productivity in the industrialized world, Volker sets forth the following: This is the key. Kyoto provides a target actually to cut emissions. Whether one is a Kyoto country or not, one needs to put new, cleaner technology in place. And this is where the United States is leading the world. Our approach is providing concrete results, even as our economy expands.

"And this brings me to my point: cutting our economies — or even just holding them in place — with zero further growth, jobs or human development is not an option for any of us in the industrialized world. But in the still-developing world, new growth and human development is literally a matter of life and death."

Volker next outlined one of America's most important multilateral initiatives on global climate policy — the Asian Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate (APP), made up of the major emissions-producers of the world and the major new energy-consumers of the world.

This enormous cooperative effort involves 17 countries which account for about 50% of the global population, 50% of the economy and 50% of the energy use. And the converse — trying to craft a global climate policy without these countries — would be futile.

Sayonara, Kyoto!

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E. Ralph Hostetter, a prominent businessman and publisher, is an award-winning columnist and Vice Chairman of the Free Congress Foundation Board of Directors.

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