Tags: Bush | Ignores | Hot | Air | 'Global | Warming'

Bush Ignores Hot Air on 'Global Warming'

Friday, 08 February 2002 12:00 AM

Last June, the president made clear in a Rose Garden speech that the United States rejected the Kyoto approach, an arbitrary target requiring industrialized nations to cut their CO2 emissions by an average of 5.2 percent below their 1990 levels by 2012.

The administration then pulled out of a Marrakesh, Morocco, conference called to discuss further Kyoto details. The president made clear that too little was known about "global warming" to justify the proposed costs to the American economy that would be incurred fighting against it in the manner called for in Kyoto.

Scientists disagree about climate change, but you wouldn't know that from the treaty. It is based on a theory that man-made carbon dioxide, or CO2, gas emissions caused by industrial activities have created the so-called "global warming" effect.

Environmental activists - political types, not scientists - predict the Earth's surface temperature will increase to a level it cannot sustain and all sorts of catastrophes will occur: the polar ice caps will melt; sea levels will rise; coastal areas will be flooded; animal species will die off.

"If the administration tries to walk away from the Kyoto Protocol, it will not only be turning its back on wildlife threatened by global warming, but also turning its back on America's international allies who have worked for nine years to get to this vital point in environmental protection," says Jennifer Morgan, director of climate change for World Wildlife Fund.

Greens keep repeating these predictions because the media eat them up. Last month, after the National Academy of Sciences released a preliminary report on global climate fluctuations, the Dec. 12 New York Times headline declared "Drastic Shifts in Climate Are Likely, Experts Warn."

Buried in the story was the rest of the story, facts running counter to the slant of the headline:

Even if scientists knew how to stop climate change, the Kyoto treaty would still be a bad bargain.

The United States is the world's largest CO2 emitter, so mandatory caps would hurt it most - a sobering thought given the recent economic downturn. Eventually, the world economy would suffer tremendous collateral damage. The treaty requires the world's most industrialized countries to make 1990 the baseline when cutting their emission levels. If manufacturing has to decrease, prices will go up and trade will decline.

Kyoto is supposed to help developing countries such as India and Brazil by holding them to less strict standards. But by handcuffing international markets, what it really does is hurt emerging countries that depend on the world's largest and strongest economies to pull them along. And cutting energy use will only keep the world's poorest countries from building wealth.

Health officials and social scientists agree that wealth is the most important component in a country's standard of living. Wealth makes possible roads and clean water, high-quality health care and better nutrition.

Clearly, there must be more scientific research on climate change, but, until more is known, the Bush administration should continue to ignore World Wildlife Fund, Greenpeace and Sierra Club.

It should instead focus on generating support for Senate bill 1294, the Climate Change Risk Management Act, which supports more research to improve the way we measure CO2 emissions. It also provides $200 million to explore development of cost-effective technologies that could reduce emissions without harming the economy or jeopardizing our energy security.

America and the industrial world should pursue policies that will strengthen the economy and promote technology. Then we can adapt to whatever climate changes may occur. But we should not adopt a worldwide climate policy that will cripple the American economy for the sake of unproven theories.

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Last June, the president made clear in a Rose Garden speech that the United States rejected the Kyoto approach, an arbitrary target requiring industrialized nations to cut their CO2 emissions by an average of 5.2 percent below their 1990 levels by 2012. The administration...
Bush,Ignores,Hot,Air,'Global,Warming'
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2002-00-08
Friday, 08 February 2002 12:00 AM
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