NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

N.Y. Congressman Argues That Kyoto Treaty Benefits World's Largest Polluters

January 9, 1998

When Vice President Al Gore instructed the U.S. delegation to Kyoto to "increase flexibility," critics say he effectively joined the rest of the world in ganging up on the U.S. in an environmental grab for economic and political power.

Many nations that approved and pushed for the Kyoto Climate Change Protocol are not themselves obligated to abide by its targets for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions because they are classified as "developing nations."

  • China is the No. 2 polluter in the world and is expected to become No. 1 in the next decade.
  • Led by China and Brazil, the 130 developing nations (known as the G-77) rejected any proposal that they abide by the treaty's greenhouse gas emission restrictions themselves.
  • China even threatened retaliation in the United Nations when Latin American countries proposed only voluntary adherence to the treaty's emission standards.

Russia also won big in Kyoto treaty.

  • Until its breakup, the Soviet Union was the world's greatest producer of greenhouse gases.
  • But industrial production slowed after the U.S.S.R.'s collapse, and today Russia is well below the treaty's emissions targets and could sell its "right" to emit 800 million metric tons of pollution to other countries.
  • U.S. electric utilities are the most likely purchasers of Russia's unused pollution credits.
  • At the State Department's estimate of $50 per ton (minimum) cost, the Kyoto treaty will cause the U.S. to transfer $40 billion to Russia in "pollution purchases" during the first five years of the treaty.

Moreover, these huge increases in foreign aid would not be subject to any restrictions in the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act regarding human rights and other humanitarian causes. The Clinton administration has ignored congressional calls to ban benefits under the treaty to countries with notorious human rights records, such as Iran and Libya.

Source: Rep. Benjamin A. Gilman (R-N.Y.) "A Climate Treaty Not Worth Signing," Washington Times, January 9, 1998.


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