- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 16, 2000

The ongoing presidential contest has brushed other news to the periphery but one item should be of particular interest, especially in view of what might happen in the unfortunate event of a Gore presidency. At this very moment, world bureaucrats are beavering away in the Dutch capital of The Hague working out the "implementation mechanisms" of the global warming treaty negotiated at Kyoto, Japan in 1997. The so-called Kyoto Protocol establishes "targets" for the reduction of so-called "greenhouse" gasses, principally carbon dioxide, that are thought to be warming up the planet. The question remains, however, as to whether the warming is a natural trend as many climate scientists believe it to be or whether man-made sources of carbon dioxide are a significant factor in relation to the much larger outpouring of natural sources of this otherwise harmless, inert gas.

Under the terms of the Kyoto Protocol and if approved by the Senate the United States would be required to reduce its total output of greenhouse gasses to below 1990 levels. To reach this draconian goal would almost certainly require a radical throttling-back of economic activity, with the concomitant diminishment of U.S. productivity. Energy taxes of one sort or another would be a likely given; the cost of living would rise significantly while the standard of living for the average American would fall. In effect, the Kyoto Protocol would compel the United States to negate the growth of the past decade.

This environmental sword of Damocles, which hovers over our national well-being, should be on every American's mind as Vice President Gore author of the apocalyptic jeremiad, "Earth in the Balance" grasps for the presidency. A Gore presidency would increase the odds of the Kyoto Protocol being ratified by the Senate (or imposed by fiat) and thus acquiring the force of law.

Nebraska Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel understands the stakes, whether Al Gore or George W. Bush is ultimately ensconced in the White House. Calling the treaty "outrageous," "unworkable" and "arbitrary," Mr. Hagel, who is attending the summit at The Hague as an observer, adds that "All economic analysis of the economic consequences of the protocol show that it would do very significant damage to the economy of this country across the board unemployment, GDP, cost of energy and any measurement you take."

Quite so. Rushing headlong to embrace a pact that could affect the well-being of millions of Americans on the basis of dubious computer simulations and politicized "science" is in no one's best interests except, perhaps, for a power-obsessed politician such as the current vice president.

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