NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Poor Would Suffer From Kyoto's Suspect Science

October 31, 2000

The effects of today's high fuel prices most adversely affect the poor, minorities and those on fixed incomes. However, if the Kyoto Accord on climate change is implemented, the situation will grow far worse, according to experts.

A study for the National Center for Policy Analysis by Stephen Brown of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas discovered the following:

  • Under a best-case scenario, reducing CO2 emissions seven percent below 1990 levels, as required under the Kyoto Accord and signed by the Clinton administration, would cost American families between $3,684 and $6,400 per year for a family of four.
  • The poorest 20 percent of households spend almost nine percent of their income on energy compared to 6.9 percent for average American; thus the cost would fall more heavily on them.
  • A recent study by the National Black Chamber of Commerce and U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, "Refusing to Repeat Past Mistakes," estimated implementing the accord could cost up to 3.2 million jobs.
  • The report estimates blacks and Hispanics could lose as many as half of those jobs, or 1.6 million.

At the same time, scientists report little understanding of exactly what the causes and consequences of climate change are. A recent issue of Science reported researchers discovered a previously unknown greenhouse gas that absorbs 18,000 times more infrared radiation than CO2. In another recent report, urban air pollutants and greenhouse gases other than CO2 were called the main sources of human-caused warming.

The report was significant, because its author, NASA's James Hansen, brought the term "global warming" to public attention, and had maintained for 20 years that CO2 emissions from fossil fuels were the primary cause of global warming.

Source: H. Sterling Burnett (NCPA), "Most Likely to Suffer from Kyoto," Washington Times, October 29, 2000.


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