NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


May 11, 2005

Contrary to the claims of America's critics, the United States did not kill the Kyoto Protocol -- the agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Rather, the seeds of Kyoto's demise were planted in its very heart when it was created in Japan eight years ago, says H. Sterling Burnett, a senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis.

According to Burnett:

  • If every country that signed the treaty met their greenhouse gas targets, the Earth would be a negligible 0.07 degrees Celsius and 0.19 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than absent Kyoto, according to scientists who accept the theory of human-caused global warming.
  • One reason is because swiftly developing powerhouses like China and India are not obligated to cut their emissions, even though they produce nearly half of all current greenhouse gas emissions and are predicted to produce as much as 85 percent of the future increase.
  • Thus, even if developed countries stopped all their greenhouse gas emissions, levels would still increase.

Kyoto wouldn't help the environment, but it would do immense harm to the economy, says Burnett:

  • According to Dallas Federal Reserve economist Stephen Brown, Kyoto's emission cuts would reduce U.S. gross domestic product between 3.6 percent and 5.1 percent by 2010.
  • The Department of Energy estimated that Kyoto would cause gasoline prices to rise 52 percent and electricity prices to rise 86 percent.

Neither the Kyoto Treaty, nor the Bush administration's efforts will prevent further human-caused global warming. But at least the administration's efforts have the virtue of promoting continued economic growth, which is necessary if the world is to adapt to the impacts of a warmer world -- regardless of the cause, says Burnett.

Source: H. Sterling Burnett, "Was the U.S. wise to reject the Kyoto Treaty on climate change? Yes." Provo Daily Herald, May 5, 2005.


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