More hot air on global warming

Debra J. Saunders

11/2/2001 12:00:00 AM - Debra J. Saunders
As negotiators are confabbing in Marrakech to work out the details of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, the Kyoto-lovers are using the Sept. 11 attacks as a reason why President Bush should embrace global warming treaty after having walked away from it earlier this year. Bad idea. While enviros dutifully treat Kyoto as an inviolate document, Kyoto is a hoax. It is the emperor's new clothes of diplomacy that allows haughty Europeans and enviros to berate the tackiness of President Bush's attire. Credit Bush for seeing the nakedness as they brandish their worthless paper. Forget the hysterical claims about global warming causing floods, famine and insect-borne diseases. MIT's Richard S. Lindzen -- who is on the National Academy of Sciences panel that global warming alarmists love to cite -- has testified that global warming could be "beneficial" and that carbon dioxide increase will result in "minimum impacts." When negotiators met in Bonn in July, they happily patted themselves on the back for having cobbled together a deal on the pact -- which is supposed to cut global greenhouse gas emissions worldwide by 5.2 percent by 2012. As The Washington Post reported, "The final compromise was struck when Japan was satisfied that penalties against countries that fail to meet the Kyoto targets would not be legally binding." That is: Negotiators were uncorking Champagne for consensus on a toothless document. Now they're in Marrakech meeting to work out legal language to codify the Bonn agreement. Japan's environmental attache, Yutaka Nakao, noted that once again negotiators are discussing if, when and how treaty countries could make the pact legally binding, with enforceable penalties for countries that fail to meet the Kyoto targets. "If it doesn't meet our requests, we have to decide" whether to ratify it, he added. From Marrakesh, Jennifer Morgan, of the Kyoto-friendly Worldwide Fund for Nature, explained that the agreement now is not legally binding, but "politically binding." Politically binding? Hah! So, there you have it. If negotiators ever put teeth in the pact, industrial nations won't ratify it. (Japan would be crazy to ratify a legally binding pact. Kyoto would require Japan to reduce its emissions to 6 percent below 1990 levels. Sierra Club spokesman Alex Veitch notes that concessions made in Bonn effectively reduced the target to 2.1 percent of 1990 levels. That sounds like a big difference until you realize that in 1997 Japan was 9.7 percent above 1990 emissions.) Or they'll vote for a toothless treaty, and congratulate themselves for agreeing to nothing. Sort of like European countries that trash the United States for walking away from the treaty, even though they haven't ratified it. Or they can pass nothing and blame Bush for walking away from Kyoto. Sort of like the Senate Foreign Relations Committee did when it unanimously passed a resolution this year telling Bush to return to Kyoto negotiations -- with the fine print urging Bush not to agree to a treaty that exempts developing nations (which Kyoto does) or agree to something that would hurt the U.S. economy (which Kyoto would do). As Glenn Kelly of the anti-Kyoto Global Climate Coalition noted, "The U.S. could do exactly the same thing" -- as Japan in pushing for a toothless pact, while saying they want Kyoto to endure -- "if they wanted to play duplicitous politics with the climate issue." And the worst of it is, some enviros say that even a Kyoto with teeth is not enough. Greenpeace's Bill Hare told the Los Angeles Times, "Even the protocol's nominal target of 5 percent hardly started the process of making the 80 percent reductions needed to prevent dangerous levels of climate change. " Eighty percent reductions? All of these years and confabs and hot air and back slapping about greenhouse gases. And to some greenies, it's just foreplay.