- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Canada has flat-out rejected the proposals pushed at the United Nations’ annual global-warming summit in South Africa. This could be the start of a trend of countries dumping environmentalist fashion statements and returning to rational energy policies. If only the United States would do the same.

As the U.N. conference heated up in Durban, Canada poured cold water on attempts to extend the Kyoto Protocol limiting carbon-dioxide emissions before the treaty’s Dec. 31, 2012, expiration date. “Kyoto is the past,” Canadian Environment Minister Peter Kent told reporters in Ottawa. On Monday, he clearly stated that his government had no interest in renewing the treaty.

Much has changed since Kyoto took effect in 1997. Escalating energy prices have made Canada’s vast oil reservoirs a valuable resource for a hungry U.S. market. The existing pact obligates countries to cut their carbon-dioxide emissions 5.2 percent below 1990 levels by the end of next year. Canada is 17 percent above this target, partially because of its growing oil industry. Failure to meet treaty requirements would force the country to purchase carbon-dioxide emissions offsets at the cost of billions of dollars. Rather than fill the pockets of the carbon charlatans peddling dubious greenhouse-gas credits, Canadians can save some loonies by opting out.

Devotees of global-warming dogma won’t be happy if that happens. At the Durban conclave, officials from 194 countries were preoccupied with devising a scheme for strong-arming industrialized lands into supplying a “green” climate fund with $100 billion annually by 2020. Underdeveloped places would, in theory, use the cash to counter the effects of purported global warming. The ploy refurbishes 19th-century socialism’s open call for wealth redistribution with 21st-century environmentalism’s slick facade of concern for the planet.

America never signed the Kyoto accord. Nevertheless, President Obama’s war on affordable conventional energy has earned him solid-gold green credentials. By blocking oil drilling, driving up the cost of coal power and subsidizing intermittent power sources such as solar and wind, he has sided with environmental extremists. The Climategate emails exposing scientific fraud and billions of dollars squandered on unprofitable green companies show that unsustainable energy policies aren’t worth pursuing.

Conservative members of Congress aren’t waiting around for the president’s views to undergo a fundamental transformation. On Nov. 30, Senate Republicans introduced legislation that would give Mr. Obama 60 days to approve the Keystone XL pipeline or explain his recent decision to block it. The pipeline would expand the energy partnership between Canada and America by transporting crude from Alberta’s oil sands to refineries on Texas’ Gulf coast.

By joining our northern neighbor in this affordable-energy enterprise, Mr. Obama could send a message to voters as an election year approaches that American power must take precedence over enviro-redistributionism.