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John Wayne's Holster: Sayonara Kyoto
John Wayne's Holster
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Friday, September 16, 2005

Sayonara Kyoto

The first day of the Clinton Global Initiative is in the books. The initiative was established to “identify…solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems…to reduce poverty; use religion as a force for reconciliation and conflict resolution; implement new business strategies and technologies to combat climate change; and strengthen governance.

Although it has not received much attention, the first day was noteworthy for the simple fact that British Primer Minister Tony Blair essentially pronounced the Kyoto Treaty dead in the water.

Blair has apparently changed his thinking over the past several years. Just last year, the Prime Minister declared that Kyoto “provides a solid foundation for the next stage of climate diplomacy." Now it seems that Blair sees Kyoto with the same lenses as President Bush.

The United States rejected the Kyoto treaty because it felt that its regulations would be overly burdensome and harmful to the economy. Blair essentially echoed these sentiments yesterday when he acknowledged that “no country is going to cut its growth."

Currently, India and the growing Asian economies are not covered by Kyoto. And it is unlikely that they would sign-on to any such treaty when the current Kyoto treaty expires in 2012. If the United States or the UK were to accept the steep cuts mandated by Kyoto, they would not be able to remain competitive with those emerging economies on the global market.

The bottom line is that the Kyoto protocol was not cost effective. According to a recently released report by Lombard Street Research, “preventing global warming would cost the world economy…$18 trillion. The cost, equivalent to 45 per cent of world gross domestic product for a year, is much greater than any conceivable benefit…”

So Kyoto is DOA.

It should be made clear that Prime Minister Blair and President Bush are not ignoring the environment, as some have suggested. They recognize that the problems presented by global warming are real; however, they are both seeking a more realistic solution.

According to Blair, finding a solution to the problem of greenhouse emissions and global warming “can only be done by the major players coming together and pooling their resources… [to] develop the science and technology to do it...

Just what those "technologies" are and how long it will take to implement them is not clear. Until that time, it is expected that emissions of greenhouse gases will not only continue, but will in fact increase - primarily due to increased oil and coal production from the growing Asian and Indian economies.

And what about alternative energy strategies? If President Bush has his way, we will be going the way of France. That is, we will be going nuclear! Presently France genrated nearly 80% of its energy from nuclear sources. Although nuclear energy has its own inherent risks and problems, it is viewed as more friendly from the global warming perspective.


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