By Henry Lamb
November 15, 2004
Delegates to the 10th anniversary meeting of the Climate Change Treaty in
Buenos Aires are giddy in anticipation of the Kyoto Protocol entering
into force early next year. The meeting, which is scheduled for December
6-17, is the first meeting since Russia decided to ratify the agreement.
What does this mean for the United States? No one really knows, but
whatever it means, it is not likely to be good.
The international community was extremely disgusted with President Bush
when he withdrew the U.S. from participation in 2001. They were even more
disgusted when 59.4 million "dumb" Americans chose to re-elect
the president. Now, with the Protocol entering into force, it could well
become the instrument through which the international community seeks
A primary, behind-the-scenes condition for Russia's ratification was an
unwritten agreement that the European Union would support Russia's
admission to the World Trade Organization. The WTO is the only existing
mechanism that has any real power to enforce the Kyoto Protocol.
As early as 1997, even before the Protocol was adopted,
was a contentious issue that was discussed at U.N. meetings only in
the hallways, and rarely in a public session.
hallways, however, the WTO was widely recognized as the weapon of
choice to force slacker nations to meet the Protocol's ambitious
Even though the United States is not a party to the Kyoto Protocol, it is
a member of the WTO, and as such, is subject to, and bound by, the
decisions made by the WTO. The WTO consists of 150 member nations.
Ultimate decision-making authority rests with the Ministerial Conference.
Decisions are reached by consensus.
The United States and Australia are the largest nations that have not
ratified the Kyoto Protocol. Two nations, among the 150 members of the
WTO, cannot affect, nor prevent a consensus decision that penalizes the
U.S. or Australia.
Another tool is the Protocol itself. Once it enters into force, it can be
amended to create any kind of enforcement mechanism the parties wish.
Whether through the WTO, or an amended Protocol, one thing is clear: the
United States will be punished by the international community. One way or
the other, the cost of imported energy will increase.
Remember, the purpose of the Protocol is to redistribute wealth by
controlling access to, and the cost of energy. That's why the Protocol is
binding only upon developed nations, leaving China, India, and other
developing nations to use all the energy they want, without penalty.
President Bush will be under intense pressure to rejoin the Protocol, so
the U.S. will have a seat at the table to participate in amendment
discussion. Pressure will come from the international community, the
media, and individuals from mostly "blue" states.
People in the "red" states, and their elected officials, should
support the President's determination to stay out of this international
entanglement, as well as his plan to improve U.S. self-reliance by using
our own resources, while removing some of the regulatory web that has
blocked, for decades, growth in the development, processing, and
distribution of domestic energy.
It is now abundantly clear that the United Nations system is no friend of
the United States. It is equally clear that the U.N. has its own agenda,
and that it is corrupt and unaccountable. Ignored sex scandals among its
highest officials, outright bribery in the oil-for-food program,
behind-the-scenes influence peddling, and repeated failure to address
tragedies such as those in the Sudan and Rwanda, render the institution
useless as an instrument to advance peace and freedom in the world.
The United States must rely on itself to defeat terrorism, along with
help from nations such as the U.K., Australia, Japan, and the more than
thirty other nations that are currently participating in the coalition.
Abundant, affordable energy is essential to a successful war on terror,
and to fuel the economy that pays for the war. The first purpose of the
Kyoto Protocol is to place international control over America's energy
use. Despite the unfounded claims of blue-state liberals, the United
States must use its vast coal and oil resources, and it must expand its
use of nuclear energy as well. We should expand and accelerate
development of energy alternatives, but use of existing resources should
not be unnecessarily suppressed, by either the Kyoto Protocol, or the
baseless claims of environmental extremists.
The Clinton/Gore regime nurtured the Kyoto Protocol into existence; the
Bush regime recognized its horrible implications for the United States,
and said "no thank you." Any international institution that
seeks to limit or control the United States should be jettisoned, whether
the Kyoto Protocol, the WTO, or the U.N. itself.
© 2004 Henry Lamb - All
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