Kyoto Is Junk Policy

Jim Blasingame

Global warming is real. The basis for this conclusion is the overwhelming evidence that 12,000 years ago, the state of Kentucky was not covered in bluegrass, but rather a receding ice age glacier.

It turns out that 10 millennia before human ingenuity resulted in the invention and proliferation of devices that produce energy by burning fossil fuel, and expelling hydrocarbons as waste, the earth actually began warming itself without any help from humans.

Nevertheless, by 1998 the 20th century debate over whether humans are contributing to global warming culminated in an international conference in Kyoto, Japan. During this gathering of predisposed politicians and scientists, it was resolved that hydrocarbon emissions from internal combustion engines and industrial activity were causing irreparable damage to Earth’s atmosphere and environment.

The fruit of this confab was the Kyoto Accords, which, in a nutshell, imposes severe and retroactive restrictions on emissions by participating countries and their businesses.

But the devil is in the details which, you may not be surprised to learn, are not the same for all countries. In fact, compliance by a developed country like the U.S. would mean a reduction of current emissions to pre-1990 levels, while China and India, for example, with emerging economies, would have to make no adjustments in emission levels. The Clinton administration, led by Vice President Al Gore, subscribed to Kyoto, hook, line and sinker. But when the U.S. Senate considered it, much to the dismay of the Kyoto groupies, the tally came back 98-to-zip against adoption. And that’s pretty much where the United States is today on Kyoto. Bust President Bush is still receiving extreme pressure to subscribe to this treaty.

Reasonable people disagree on the economic impact of Kyoto compliance by the United States. But requiring America’s businesses to roll back emissions to pre- 1990 levels would be like telling a growing family of five to cut back their water usage to the levels when the parents were newlyweds.

Some experts have estimated that Kyoto compliance would raise gasoline prices by more than 50 percent. If you like what you’re spending for fuel now, small business owners, you’ll love it if the United States ever subscribes to Kyoto.

So why are the Euros and others so chagrined about America’s Kyoto balk? In my opinion, it’s not so much about clean air as it is about dirty competition.

Kyoto compliance would significantly diminish the ability of American companies – small and large – to compete globally. Plus the U.S. judicial system would permit any foreign competitor to sue an American company for full compliance. While the chances of a U.S. company having the same success in many other parts of the world would be about the same as a fight between bluegrass and a glacier.

Write this on a rock... Global warming is real. And while the incremental impact of humans on global warming may not be junk science, the Kyoto Accords is junk.

Jim Blasingame
Small Business Expert and host of The Small Business Advocate Show
©2008 All Rights Reserved

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