Focus Point - Clinton's Kyoto ProblemsCommentary by Pete du Pont
January 07, 2000
I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis. With his domestic policies stalled and his personal reputation tarnished by Zippergate, Bill Clinton's last hope for a legacy lies in foreign you should pardon the expression -- affairs.
But his self-declared most important efforts, the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and the WTO negotiations, went down to defeat. But obscured by the WTO protests (where I actually found myself on Clintons side) was an even worse loss.
Clinton tried to persuade developing countries to voluntarily sign the Kyoto Protocol to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. He failed. This was serious, because the treaty imposes high economic costs, theatens U.S. sovereignty, and does little for the environment. Worse, developing countries, who aren't bound it, can force us to reduce emissions more.
Clinton knows he can't pass the treaty in the senate, so he never submitted it. But because we signed the protocol on his watch, if it ever does lose a senate vote, it'll go on his list of foreign policy failures. It's just that this failure would be America's success.
Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont, and I'll see you next time.