Jonah Goldberg

And it's not just the nasty countries. Canada, the Dudley Do-Right of the international community, insists on exploiting its vast and dirty oil reserves in the so-called "tar sands" under Alberta. The intro to an article by British eco-scold George Monbiot declared: "Canada's image lies in tatters. It is now to climate what Japan is to whaling." If Canada, which has long been the U.N.'s Richie Cunningham, won't play ball, does anyone think the Chinese, Indians or Brazilians will?

Here's another inconvenient truth: The United States will not agree to draconian carbon caps either, for the simple reason it would be political suicide for all but a handful of politicians. Unless you represent hyper-wealthy liberal enclaves or the ethanol moonshine industry, it makes no sense to vote for anything like cap-and-trade.

That's why the Kyoto Protocol never made it out of the crib in the United States.

It was often said that President George W. Bush "refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol." This is technically true -- because Bush couldn't sign Kyoto. It was already signed during the Clinton presidency (Bush didn't sign the Treaty of Versailles either). The important point is that Clinton immediately shoved it in his desk drawer because he knew it would never be ratified by the Senate. Indeed, the Senate voted 95-0 to not even consider ratifying it so long as developing countries like China were left out of the scheme. (See inconvenient truth No. 1.)

Overlooked by the mobs who decried Bush's "treason against the planet" (to borrow a phrase from Paul Krugman) is the fact that Barack Obama has opted to stay out of the Kyoto system for the same reason. Making carbon fuels more expensive for us while not making them more expensive for China and Co. means that fossil-fuel users will move their businesses to the developing world even faster while costs and taxes for consumers will skyrocket.

While it's great fun -- and entirely worthwhile -- to make a big stink about Climategate, it would be a shame if people believed that Copenhagen's inevitable failure hinged on this one scandal. Even if the CRU researchers were the model of scientific dispassion, these schemes are pointless. Indeed, even if global warming is the threat the alarmists claim it is, it makes no sense to waste trillions of dollars on "fixes" that will do little to fix the alleged problem.

It's time to start over, beginning with the science.

Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
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