NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


January 19, 2006

The Kyoto environmental protocol committed nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. By this standard, the pact's biggest fans, the Europeans, are failing. And what about the United States, the global villain for withdrawing approval of the accord in 2001? It's doing very well, thank you, says the Wall Street Journal.

Consider the latest numbers from the European Environment Agency in Copenhagen:

  • Most European countries have seen an increase in greenhouse gas emissions since signing Kyoto with great fanfare in 1997.
  • No fewer than 13 out of the 15 original European Union (EU) signatories are on track to miss their 2010 emissions targets -- by as much as 33 percentage points, in the case of Spain.

Or consider Denmark, home of the EU's environmental watchdog:

  • Rather than reduce levels by 21 percent as the accord stipulates, Denmark has so far notched a 6.3 percent increase in emissions since 1990, the base year used in Kyoto.
  • The likely gap between its Kyoto commitment and its emissions levels projected for 2010 is 25.2 percentage points.

How is the United States doing? The Bush Administration has continued a longstanding U.S. policy of pushing states, municipalities and private industry to reduce those emissions that actually lower the quality of air and water.

  • The United States thus saw a modest decline in greenhouse emissions of 0.8 percent between 2000 and 2002, according to data from the U.S. Department of Energy.
  • Overall since 1990, American greenhouse emissions are up 15.8 percent, but this still puts the United States far ahead of many of its European and Asian critics.

And this despite U.S. economic growth (and increasing energy demand) that has far exceeded Europe's, says the Journal.

Source: Editorial, "Kyoto's Big Con," Wall Street Journal, January 19, 2006.

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