ADVICE FOR PRESIDENT CLINTON’S SUMMIT ON GLOBAL WARMING
September 29, 1997
Washington, D.C. - Experts at a Senate briefing on global warming say the international climate change treaty set for discussion at President Clinton's October 6th summit does not consider the economic impact on industrial countries and will exempt developing countries from any restrictions.
"This is not a debate about who is for or against the environment," Senator Chuck Hagel said during the briefing, "but the global climate treaty due to be signed this December in Kyoto is not the way to go. The current path to Kyoto should be abandoned until we can come up with a truly fair and equitable global solution based on sound science."
Senator Hagel co-sponsored the Hagel-Byrd Resolution, which passed in the Senate by a bipartisan vote of 95-0. The Resolution says the United States Senate will not ratify any treaty that exempts the 130 developing nations from legally binding mandates or that would cause serious economic harm to the United States.
According to Senator Hagel there are five reasons why the treaty is a bad idea.
The science is nowhere near conclusive and is often contradictory.
The treaty excludes 130 developing nations, including the world's biggest emitters of greenhouse gases...rendering the treaty's objectives meaningless.
The economic impact would be devastating for the United States.
The treaty cuts to the heart of our national sovereignty by setting up an international authority that would subject U.S. businesses to its authority and penalties.
It would have a devastating impact on our national security interests. One of the biggest users of fossil fuels is the U.S. military.
H. Sterling Burnett, environmental policy analyst for the National Center for Policy Analysis, said the treaty will decimate the American economy and make citizens poorer.
"Changes necessary for the United States to meet the proposed treaty's commitments could reduce the nation's output of goods and services by $200 billion annually, do away with 600,000 jobs and increase the prices of almost all industrial and consumer products," Burnett said.
Burnett also stated that the proposed treaty may actually harm the environment it intends to protect. "It will make the world's people poorer. That means they will have less money to spend on environmental cleanup and conservation measures."
The U.S. has made two seriously-flawed decisions in the on-going U.N. global climate talks, according to Senator Hagel. In 1995, U.N. negotiators agreed to Berlin Mandates that exclude most of the countries in the world from any new obligations. In 1996, the Clinton Administration insisted that the treaty be based on "legally-binding obligations" on the United States and other industrialized countries.
"These two errors are the reason why we are now facing the possibility of an inequitable treaty in Kyoto that would cause serious economic harm to America's industry and our people," Hagel said. "I remain hopeful the Administration will recognize these errors and advance a position that will appropriately defend our economic security interests."
"An even better approach," said Frank Gaffney with the Center for Security Policy, "would be to spare the nation as a whole the severe and unjustifiable costs associated with what can only be called a ‘scientifically challenged' scheme for global climate control."
The Senate briefing was hosted by the National Center for Policy Analysis and the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Panelists included Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, NCPA Environmental Analyst H. Sterling Burnett, CEI Director of Environmental Studies Jonathan Adler, NASA Senior Scientist Roy Spencer, Sallie Baliunas with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics/Marshall Institute, Professor Emeritus at Medical College of Wisconsin Sidney Shindell, National Consumer Coalition Environmental Consultant Glenn Schleede and Frank Gaffney with the Center for Security Policy.