- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 12, 2001

President Bush yesterday tried to pre-empt European criticism of his wait-and-see approach to global warming by blaming the rest of the world, including Europe, for creating most greenhouse gases.
Hours before embarking on his first presidential visit to Europe, the president delivered his most stinging indictment of the Kyoto Protocol, which would force the United States to dramatically reduce emissions while exempting many other countries. In place of Kyoto, he called for further study of global warming.
"The worlds second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases is China," Mr. Bush told reporters on the South Lawn of the White House. "Yet China was entirely exempted from the requirements of the Kyoto Protocol.
"India and Germany are among the top emitters," he added. "Yet India was also exempt from Kyoto."
Mr. Bush singled out Germany because German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder is a staunch supporter of Kyoto and has publicly voiced his opposition to the presidents stance.
While Mr. Bush acknowledged that the United States creates almost 20 percent of the worlds man-made greenhouse gases, he hastened to add that the country is also responsible for 25 percent of the worlds economic output.
"We recognize the responsibility to reduce our emissions," he said. "We also recognize the other part of the story — that the rest of the world emits 80 percent of all greenhouse gases."
Mr. Bush also took a swipe at the European Union (EU) as he prepared to hold a summit this week with EU leaders. Of all regions in the world, Europe has been the most critical of the presidents opposition to Kyoto.
"The United States has spent $18 billion on climate research since 1990 — three times as much as any other country, and more than Japan and all 15 nations of the EU combined," he said.
The president is particularly irked by the fact that Kyoto exempts developing nations from limits on emissions.
"Many of those emissions come from developing countries," the president said. "Our approach must be based on global participation, including that of developing countries whose net greenhouse gases emissions now exceed those in the developed countries."
The global warming treaty, which was hammered out in Kyoto, Japan, in 1997, would require the U.S. to reduce greenhouse emissions to below 1990 levels by 2012. Conservatives argue the treaty would severely curb the U.S. economy, throwing workers out of jobs and creating energy price spikes.
Although the Clinton administration signed the treaty, it never submitted it to the Senate for ratification. In 1998, the Senate voted 95-0 on a resolution of opposition to Kyoto.
"The Kyoto Protocol was fatally flawed in fundamental ways," Mr. Bush said yesterday. "Kyoto is, in many ways, unrealistic.
"Many countries cannot meet their Kyoto targets. The targets themselves were arbitrary and not based upon science.
"For America, complying with those mandates would have a negative economic impact, with layoffs of workers and price increases for consumers," he added. "And when you evaluate all these flaws, most reasonable people will understand that its not sound public policy."
The United States is not alone in balking at Kyoto. Of the more than 100 nations that have signed the accord, only Romania has actually ratified it.
Mr. Bushs criticism of Kyoto and its advocates was couched in more conciliatory language about alternative approaches to global warming. The president called for more research and study into the science of measuring changes in the earths climate.
"Americas unwillingness to embrace a flawed treaty should not be read by our friends and allies as any abdication of responsibility," the president said. "To the contrary, my administration is committed to a leadership role on the issue of climate change."
He announced the creation of two government programs to study global warming — the U.S. Climate Change Research Initiative and the National Climate Change Technology Initiative. He also said the United States will work more closely with the United Nations to learn more about the subject.
Although scientists 30 years ago were warning about global cooling, the president has endorsed the theory that the globes temperature is rising.
"We know the surface temperature of the earth is warming," Mr. Bush said. "It has risen by 0.6 degrees Celsius over the past 100 years.
"There was a warming trend from the 1890s to the 1940s, cooling from the 1940s to the 1970s, and then sharply rising temperatures from the 1970s to today," he added.
Some environmentalists dismissed yesterdays speech by Mr. political cover on the eve of his arrival in Europe.
But Mr. Bush was defended by Richard Lindzen, a member of the National Academy of Sciences panel on climate change. Mr. Lindzen was one of 11 scientists who prepared a report on the topic for the White House last week.
In an op-ed column for yesterdays Wall Street Journal, the MIT professor of meteorology said the report was erroneously "depicted in the press as an implicit endorsement of the Kyoto Protocol."
"There is still a vast amount of uncertainty — far more than advocates of Kyoto would like to acknowledge," Mr. Lindzen wrote. "The NAS report has hardly ended the debate. Nor was it meant to."

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide