NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Will Kyoto Be Revived?

May 11, 2001

Opponents of the Kyoto Treaty on climate change and greenhouse gases fear President George W. Bush may be "going wobbly" on his decision two months ago to bury it. Giving in to the green fear-mongers, they say, would be neither good science, nor good politics.

It certainly wouldn't be good economics.

  • The Clinton administration's Energy Department estimated that reducing carbon-dioxide emissions to meet Kyoto's target would cut U.S. gross domestic product by 4.2 percent a year -- or more than $400 billion.
  • A separate study by WEFA Inc. found that Kyoto would "reduce the average annual household income by $2,700 (and) cost 2.4 million U.S. jobs."
  • The treaty sets national limits on emissions of greenhouse gases -- not net emissions after carbon storage is taken into account.
  • A 1998 article in Science magazine by a group of Princeton University scholars indicates that the U.S. is a net reducer of carbon dioxide because of our extensive forests and farmland.

While the CO2 produced by our cars and factories is sucked up by our extensive green acreage, paved-over Europe is, overwhelmingly, a net emitter of CO2.

Scientists skeptical of global warming theories, who exist in the thousands, say the main problem with Kyoto is that it is a drastic solution to a problem that may not even exist.

Source: James K. Glassman (American Enterprise Institute), "It's No Time to Go Wobbly on Kyoto," Wall Street Journal, May 11, 2001.

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