NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Numbers Stack Up Against Kyoto Accord

November 13, 1998

Thursday the Clinton administration signed the Kyoto Protocol, which it hopes will reduce the greenhouse gas emissions some think cause global warming. International talks about implementing the Protocol are stalled because many developing nations have refused to meet U.S. demands, including which countries would be governed by the accord.

Observers believe some businesses back the accord because they'll make money on it. The Clinton administration hopes signing it will give the U.S. leverage on how the treaty is enforced. But the majority of U.S. businesses still oppose it, and use the U.S. Energy Department's own estimates of the impact on the economy as evidence. The Energy Department says that by 2010:

  • Real gross domestic product (GDP) will be down 4.1 percent, or $397 billion.
  • The price of gas will be up 66 cents per gallon.
  • The price of electricity will be up 86 percent.

Other predictions come from the economic consulting firm, WEFA:

  • The price of home heating oil will be up 70 percent.
  • Manufacturing wages will be down 2.1 percent.
  • There will be 2.4 million fewer jobs.
  • Real GDP per household will be down $2,728.

In July, the Senate passed a resolution 95-0 opposing the treaty if it did not apply to developing countries or if it harmed the U.S. economy. And analysts note that even if the treaty is implemented, there won't be much effect on global temperatures. Without developing nation participation, warming will drop a mere 0.19 degree Celsius over 50 years, according to the National Center for Atmospheric Research -- indistinguishable from normal year-to-year fluctuations.

Source: Anna Bray Duff, "Kyoto Accords Divide Business," Investor's Business Daily, November 13, 1998.


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