Emissions have fallen during the Bush years to 11.5 percent higher than 1990 levels. Still, some environmentalists privately agree that it is not practical to expect the United States to meet the Kyoto goals -- although they believe Washington could do more to curb greenhouse-gas emissions.
Kerry has been highly critical of President Bush's unapologetic rejection of Kyoto, which so incensed Our Betters in Europe.
In retrospect, I have to agree. Bush could have given the pact lip service only -- as Clinton did -- and Europe would have been mollified. Or Bush could have sent the pact to the Senate, and watched both Democrats and Republicans reject it and take the heat of the (all-bow) international community. By being blunt, Bush unnecessarily alienated allies.
That said, it would be interesting to see how Europe would react if a President Kerry rejected Kyoto. Kerry says that, unlike Bush, he would rush to the bargaining table to work out a new treaty. But after they have spent years demanding compliance with Kyoto itself, would that be enough to appease France, Germany and the United Kingdom?
Maybe it would.
Maybe it is because Kyoto is more about hot air -- bashing America's big cars and affluence -- than it is about greenhouse gases. Maybe, if a top U.S. pol says nice things about Kyoto, that's enough. So if Kerry could fool John Edwards about his support for Kyoto, maybe he can fool the rarified minds of Europe, too.