The Kyoto Protocol, an agreement by several countries to limit the amount of greenhouse gasses their industry produces, went into effect today.
There’s serious flaws to the agreement that, in my opinion, prevent it from being anything more than a feel-good measure designed to mollify the Green Party. Developing nations, the largest growing pollution producers, are exempt from any controls. It also seems to be designed more as a way to cripple the US economy than as an effective tool against pollution.
Added to this is the fact that the science behind Kyoto is suspect. The data is so inconclusive and contradictory that some scientists actually warned that the world would be plunged into an ice age if we allowed global warming to continue.
The news coverage of this event (or non-event, if you prefer) strikes me as being very odd. The wire services are falling all over themselves to trumpet the start date of Kyoto and blame the Bush administration for it’s inevitable failure, but they seem to have forgotten (or are deliberately ignoring) the fact that Kyoto would be doomed even if the US signed on. Far too many pollution producing countries other than America have rejected the Protocol for it to work.
Another thing that puzzles me is why they’re heaping blame on the Bush admin. Wasn’t it the Byrd-Hagel Resolution which stated that the Senate would absolutely refuse to consider any such treaty unless it underwent significant revision? And wasn’t Byrd-Hagel passed in 1997, during the Clinton admin, by unanimous vote?
But let’s just put that aside for a moment. For the purposes of this discussion, let’s just make the incredible assumptions that global warming is going to happen, and that it’s bad, and that we have to take steps right now in order to save ourselves.
Even so, I think the whole idea of a global regulation on pollution emissions to be a very serious mistake. Looking at it as a very practical fellow, the first thing that jumps out at me is the problem with getting everyone on board. If it’s going to be done then everyone without exceptions has to do it, developing country or not. And every country will have to reduce their emissions by an equal percentage. Otherwise it’s just a waste of time.
The second problem is with enforcement. How could foreign countries be compelled to abide by the agreement, particularly when compliance would be sure to cause problems with their local economies? Economic sanctions wouldn’t work since the countries most affected would probably figure that they could live with sanctions as long as their entire banking system and currency doesn’t collapse, which might happen if they try to hobble their industry while going through a bad economic downturn.
The only way it could work would be for every government in the entire world to give up a portion of their sovereignty and allow an outside body to enforce the law. Not only can’t I see this happening, but I can’t figure out who would be qualified to wield such godlike, globe-spanning authority. The ICC? The United Nations?
It seems that proponents of Kyoto and similar measures think that this is too important a subject for anyone to even contemplate cheating. Any efforts to ensure compliance are unnecessary because every country and government in the world will do their part to reduce emissions as soon as they sign the paper.
Dream on, guys. Me, I’m going to wait until something other than wishful thinking comes to the fore.
9 thoughts on “This is Odd”
James, check this out:http://www.copenhagenconsensus.com/
and also Lomborg’s book The Skeptical Environmentalist is a good read.
Pelosi opened her mouth, amazing feat, I know, which can be found at Dailypundit.
So, I went to Reid’s bio and found this:
Since Nevadans elected him to the Senate in 1986, Harry Reid has developed a reputation as a consensus builder and a skillful legislator. Even his Republican colleagues praise his reasoned, balanced approach.
Was he one of the 95 or was he a 0?
As for me, I happen to like global warming. It’s bloody cold sometimes.
Spot on post James, especially the enforcement aspect of Kyoto, or any world wide regulation for that matter.
Even with Kyoto, who’s going to go to say, Cuba (not sure if they signed on or not) and say “well Fidel, you haven’t lowered enough of your emissions so we are going to um, well, er, ah….Hey Franz, what ARE we going to do to Cuba?”
No one ever talks about this. Which only further reinforces the point made by Lomborg in his studies as well as State of Fear by Chrichton that the motivating ideal behind Kyoto was to cripple America’s economy in hopes they could bring us down a peg or two.
Ignoring the fact that as far as economies of our size are concerned, we already have some of the strictest environmental regulations to begin with.
Ah, bully for Bush for holding the line. It took guts and fortitude. He faced the shrill catterwauling of a million Soros-funded eco-socialists, and he held his ground!
Now let those enthusiastic signatories to “Kyoto” wear the straight jacket they had intended to suffocate us with.
One fact that should be burned into everybody’s mind. The Kyoto treaty is time limited. It will expire in 2012. One more president that will hold the line on Kyoto and it ceases to be an issue for the one after that. The only question is whether there will be Kyoto II. From all I can see, nobody wants to create such a thing so, really, it’s just 7 years of brickbats and we all move on.
The Kyoto Protocol is nothing but a global attempt at worldwide Marxism. It’s a redistribution of wealth via the buying and selling of “pollution credits”. It’s not surprising to see the usual suspects cheering this hideous legislation on.
James, good post on Kyoto. ChicagoBoyz just keeps on doing some of the best thinking out there. Quick comments:
1) I don’t think the link to Brock Yates “SUV: Our Savior” is very useful to your arguments. It’s poorly reasoned, and it’s based upon a complete misreading of the Woods Hole research. What concerns Terrence Joyce, Raymond W. Schmitt, et al is that continued warming could trigger abrupt change, but in the inverse direction of the expected further warming. From the closing of what I would suggest as a better selection from the Woods Hole research Are We on the Brink of a New Little Ice Age?:
2) We need to clearly separate the science issues from the policy issues. Kyoto is bad policy. From that it doesn’t follow that the scientific questions regarding climate change are resolved (is it happening? why? what can we project about the future? what does the science indicate as policy options?,…).
3) I second Aaron’s recommendation – look into the Copenhagen Consensus. I wrote a slightly long-winded SeekerBlog post on the Economist/Lomborg Copenhagen Consensus project which will provide more background and resources for those interested (the book containing the entire conference work is now available). Continuing to pimp for visits, there are a number of other references on Lomborg in the SeekerBlog-Menu/Resources/Environment section, including interesting Economist articles defending Lomborg from the Scientific American attack.
4) Note that the Copenhagen Consensus project is not a refutation of the possibility of Climate Change, nor that it will at some point in the future become a subject of serious policy. Rather the panel conclusion was that Kyoto-style policy represents poor ROI based upon what we know now (which isn’t that much).
5) The much-pilloried Bush Administration may be promoting and funding serious work on this, such as the Strategic Plan for the Climate Change Science Program. I’ve not gotten far enough into this to have a conclusion.
6) See also National Assessment of the Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change. This latter effort isn’t looking at the core science, but rather the consequences and possible reaction/management options.
My bottom line is that investing in research on Climate Change is a Good Thing. As best as I can tell, the above-mentioned Woods Hole Ocean and Climate Change Institute folks are on the side of the angels in the research field – doing serious, careful work while refraining from hype.
Another global warming op-ed, with another interesting response to analysis.
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