Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Why the U.S. should have signed onto Kyoto Treaty

It's not what you might think. Despite the ambitious goals of the treaty, I've long though it would be impossible to actually ratchet industrial development backward to the levels mandated by the Kyoto Protocol. I was not alone in my thinking -- President Bill Clinton reached the same conclusion, and thus never signed the accord. Thus far, America has decided to follow what you might call the "realist-pragmatic" school of global environmental policy.

In contrast, other countries have signed onto Kyoto, and then completely ignored actual implementation. Take, for example, our ice hockey, penguin loving neighbors to the north. According to an AP wire story released today:

Among the worst off is Canada, the current president of U.N. climate change talks, which this year became the first country to announce it would not meet its Kyoto target of a 6 percent emissions cut on average over the years 2008-2012. Canada’s emissions have ballooned by 29 percent instead.

This begs the question: given the tremendous amount of political ill-will the U.S. has suffered because of its refusal to live in Enviro-fantasyland, why don't we just sign the damn thing and do like the Canucks do, i.e., ignore it completely? True, there are the obvious detrimental affects to the environment -- but those can be no worse than what's happening already, given that the U.S. has no treaty obligations whatsoever. I don't really see any downside (neither, apparently, do the Canadians.)


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