Wednesday, February 01, 2006

And on Kyoto

In America, the Kyoto Protocol is a non-partisan issue. It was dead in the water under a democratic majority under Clinton, and it's dead in the water under a republican majority under Bush. The only person who was ever for it in our government was Gore.
There were a couple issues with it:
It's a huge money grab by developing nations. Basically, it placed penalties on existing businesses operating in the US, while exempting China and India because they are technically defined by the protocol as 'developing nations', regardless of their actual pollution output. So it doesn't actually stop pollution at all, it just takes money from already built-out industrial nations, and gives it to developing nations (which are uncapped), making the businesses in the US and other developed nations compete at a large disadvantage.
The second major reason why we never ratified the treaty (Gore did actually sign it), is that America is about the only country in the world that is actually *legally* obligated to honor ratified treaties. The US constitution grants ratified treaties the status of law, as though congress itself passed it as a law. Most other countries can ratify a treaty and choose when and where, if ever, they want to honor it. China has ratified several human rights treaties which the US has not. It's not because China is even close to the US in terms of preserving the rights of its people, but because they can go ahead and ratify anything, and it doesn't really affect them internally. The US however, would be bound by the sometimes asinine terms of such treaties, and thus must be much more cautious when ratifying such a treaty. The same goes for landmine treaties and nuclear test ban treaties. If we ratify something here, our gov't is in a fuckton of trouble if they don't abide by it.... from our own people.
Those are the basic tenants by which the US senate under both republican and democratic domination has never even considered ratifying the Kyoto treaty. Beyond that, under Clinton, the democrat controlled senate passed a nearly unanimous resolution rejecting Kyoto. So this really is not a partisan issue at all, it's about whether the US wants to commit economic suicide and have a voter revolt as jobs move overseas in numbers that make the current outflow look quite paltry.
They really should call it what it is... global socialism. Take from those who have built something, and give to those who haven't. They're trying to wrap it as an environmental package, yet all it would do is shift pollution from developedd countries to undeveloped countries. This is explicitly endorsed in the protocol in the way they allow an international *market* for pollution credits.

That said, we really do have to do something about many types of pollution. As for global warming, I consider myself a scientist, and I have done the calculations by which they predict certain pollutants will cause global warming. Unfortunately those calculations, as far as I have seen, are based upon a lot of conjecture about the absorbtivity and reflectivity of our atmosphere under certain pollutant stresses. It's extremely difficult to make the case for it, so it's not a surprise that the case is currently not particularly convincing. If it were, the circumstances and approach would be quite clear. No one in our gov't *wants* to destroy the planet our children are inheriting. People are just more or less hesitant to be convinced by the currently presented case.

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