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Jewish World Review April 2, 2001 / 9 Nissan, 5761

Jay Ambrose

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Consumer Reports

So long and good riddance to Kyoto treaty -- The Bush administration is going to abandon the Kyoto treaty, and even though the Senate had made it clear it was never going to ratify the pact anyway, some are horrified that we are not at one with Europe on the issue and make it sound as if, the next thing you know, global warming will be frying us all in our tracks.

Not to worry. The treaty, if put into effect, would have been economically ruinous to little or no environmental good. It could have created a horrific energy crisis in this country through reductions it required in greenhouse-gas emissions, while it would have allowed India, China and other less developed countries to emit the same gases to their hearts' delight. And it seems unlikely to some who have written on the subject that the consequent lessening of atmospheric carbon dioxide would have been enough to have much impact on global warming - if there is such a thing or if it is dangerous.

The theory about human-induced warming has support among many scientists, of course. But there are countless variables that make predictions next to impossible, there have been all kinds of political hanky-panky involved in various U.N. reports on the question, and there are some scientists - for instance, Fed Singer, once director of the U.S. Satellite Service - who disagree with the thesis.

Singer has written and been much quoted to the effect that tests in the atmosphere show virtually no warming occurring. He also says careful analysis of ground temperature-readings shows no evidence of warming since 1940. Still other experts on warming think it could actually be beneficial if it is happening.

The main reason for the treaty, it seems, is that some environmentalists see it as a beginning that could lead to still more carbon dioxide reductions in the future, and also want a model for international cooperation on which they can build. Putting together a model of some sort may be a legitimate objective, for there could come a time when the nations of this world will need to work together on an environmental project crucial for earthly survival. But this treaty could turn people against such projects if there were serious efforts to implement it. Our European allies are upset that we are not going along with them on this, but where is it written that we must be stupid for their sake?

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