- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 22, 2000

Preoccupied with the ongoing presidential election controversy, few Americans realize that a potentially much more significant decision is being made on their behalf in The Hague. Global bureaucrats meeting at the Dutch city are hammering out enforcement mechanisms for the Kyoto Protocol an environmental treaty negotiated in Japan three years ago that could cripple the U.S. economy and reduce the standard of living for average Americans in a profound and lasting way.

The Kyoto Protocol is designed, ostensibly, to combat the supposed problem of "global warming." Under the terms of the Kyoto Protocol, Americans would have to curtail their use of energy sufficiently that an overall reduction in carbon dioxide emissions of 5-7 percent below 1990 levels is achieved. The reduction in industrial/economic activity needed to get to this goal would entail massive new energy taxes or draconian rationing schemes; there is simply no other means by which a reduction in CO2 of the magnitude demanded by the Kyoto Protocol could be achieved. A reduction of economic/industrial activity of that massive can be described simply, in one word depression.

Now, perhaps the impoverishment of nearly 300 million Americans (and countless others) could be justified if, indeed, a man-made environmental apocalypse was imminent. It is not. The whole body of "global warming" evidence rests on skewed and politicized data fed into highly questionable computer models designed to spit out the most calamitous result, even when such a result is the least realistic scientifically.

The Kyoto Protocol has its origins in the so-called U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) a body suffused with political leftists working hand-in-glove with such groups as the Environmental Defense Fund. Mild and even-tempered language in various full reports about mankind's influence on global warming has been selectively edited and "summarized" in a way that was and is highly misleading courtesy of IPCC extremists. Terms such as "discernible human impact" and "stronger evidence" have been bandied about to the always receptive news media.

One problem is that almost all of the warming observed by scientists and upon which the theory of human-caused "global warming" rests occurred between 1900 and 1940 in other words, when industrial activity was far less (and less regulated) than it has been from 1940 onward. If "global warming" were, in fact, a man-made event, we should expect to see rapidly rising temperatures post-1940. But we do not. Environmental radicals have seized upon the handful of summers that were warmer than usual to frighten the public, but these are normal fluctuations, according to scientists.

It's true, however, that overall temperatures seem to be rising slightly by 2.5 to 4.5 degrees. But this may well be a natural process (we are actually at the tail-end of a "Little Ice Age") and far less than the almost 12-degrees predicted by the worst-case scenario IPCC computer models. Yet it is the most extreme and scientifically insupportable positions that are being accepted as fact and used as the basis for bullying the United States into accepting the terms of a treaty that could efface the economic gains of the past decade and then some.

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