- The Washington Times - Monday, June 18, 2001

Conservative college students from around the nation will travel to Washington this summer to train in preparation for protests they will hold in Bonn, Germany, against the Kyoto climate treaty.

Following the cue of their classmates on the left, who have protested at other high-profile world events, the students plan to demonstrate peacefully outside of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, a conference of the parties to the treaty, distributing literature to passers-by.

They also hope to meet with members of the U.S. delegation to the July 16-17 conference as well as European political leaders and media.

"The bottom line is that we think that all voices should be represented at this conference," said Daniel LaBert, national field director with the campus leadership program at the Arlington-based Leadership Institute.

The nonprofit training organization will host and house about 50 students for a summer workshop on July 11-13 in advance of their trip to Germany.

"We´re just going to give them training on how to get their message out," Mr. LaBert said.

The trip is being sponsored by the institute along with the Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP) and Collegians for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT).

In March, President Bush announced that the United States was abandoning the 1992 Kyoto treaty because it is too restrictive and would severely damage the U.S. economy.

The treaty calls on industrialized nations to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and other heat-trapping "greenhouse gases," which many scientists believe are partly to blame for global warming. Mr. Bush has organized a Cabinet-level group to develop new U.S. policy on the issue.

CFACT Executive Director Craig Rucker calls the student trip an educational experience to teach students more about the United Nations and how the Kyoto treaty works.

"We will plan some events that will draw attention to the fact that there are some young people in America who do not agree with the Kyoto treaty," he said. "We´re going to give these students some more ammunition to understand the problems with the treaty."

At a previous U.N. conference at The Hague, college students showed up to support the agreement, he said, "stating their opinion that all youth were for the treaty and we need to act now. We felt it did not encompass the whole viewpoint of youth in the United States and around the world."

While some student protests in the past have been marred by violence, Philip Kroll, who is among the students in the U.S. delegation, says the protest in Bonn will be respectful.

Mr. Kroll, a junior studying political science at the University of Minnesota, says he will pay for the trip out of his own pocket because it is an educational experience he can´t pass up.

"I´m going to show other people that there are people who believe in George W. Bush and what he´s doing," said Mr. Kroll, who has been active in Minnesota politics since he was in high school.

The student protest has little to do with political affiliation, he said, but is a stance on a single issue. The ideas behind the Kyoto protocol are good, but the accord is "too extreme," he added.

"There´s not a single person on this planet that is going to tell you that harming the environment is good. The problem I have is that this particular protocol aggressively pushes itself to make other countries try to conform to it and kind of follow it on a short term," Mr. Kroll said.

"What a lot of people don´t realize is the indirect consequences that would come from following such a protocol. You can´t automatically switch CO2 emissions overnight," he said. "Trying to implement something such as this on a grand scale in a short period of time is, I believe, detrimental to other things we have in society."

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