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Jewish World Review
June 13, 2007
/ 27 Sivan, 5767
U.S. is being castigated by environmentalists and most world leaders even though it has done the most to reduce greenhouse gases
At the meeting of the Group of 8 held last week in Germany, a major issue was achieving the goals of the Kyoto treaty, which went into effect in 1997. The United States Senate has refused to ratify the treaty.
The position of President Bush has been that the U.S. would not agree to mandatory goals, nor would we agree to any regulation of greenhouse gases unless China and India were bound by the same agreement. China and India, which have rapidly growing economies, were exempted then from the treaty because they are considered developing nations. Both China and India have recently reiterated that they will not be bound by Kyoto.
The U.S. has been criticized sharply by the leaders of other nations and by advocacy groups for its position on Kyoto refusal to ratify and subject itself to mandatory reductions.
The New York Times summed up what happened at the G-8 meeting: "The United States agreed to 'consider seriously' a European plan to combat global warming by cutting in half worldwide greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, averting a trans-Atlantic deadlock at a meeting here of the world's richest industrial nations." The Times also reported, "If ways cannot be found to foster emission cuts in fast growing China and India, any progress in industrialized countries is likely to be swamped by rapidly increasing pollution, particularly in Asia"
China recently passed Japan to become the second largest consumer of fossil fuels oil and coal immediately following the U.S. The Times reported on June 5th, "China, with the world's fastest growing major economy, had been projected to surpass the United States by 2009 or 2010 as the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide, which scientists say cause global warming. But China's coal-based, high-polluting economy is growing so rapidly that the chief economist for the International Energy Agency is now predicting the country could become the global emissions leader as soon as this year."
This is prelude to the most interesting article I have read in years on the subject of Kyoto and greenhouse gases, which appeared on the op ed page of the Wall Street Journal, authored by Kimberley A. Strassel. To the best of my knowledge and surprisingly, the vital information has appeared nowhere else. Ms. Strassel reported: "There's been a capitulation on global warming, but it hasn't happened in the Oval Office. The Kyoto cheerleaders at the United Nations and the European Union are realizing their government-run experiment in climate control is a mess, one that's incidentally failed to reduce carbon emissions. They've also understood that if they want the biggest players on board the U.S., China, India they need an approach that balances economic growth with feel-good environmentalism...Yesterday's G-8 agreement acknowledged those realities and tolled Kyoto's death knell. Mr. Bush, 1; sanctimonious greens, 0...President Bush's approach is...[to] allow economies to grow, along the way inspiring new technologies and new forms of energy that lower CO2 emissions...Take your pick. Under the vaunted Kyoto, from 2000 to 2004, Europe managed to increase its emissions by 2.3 percentage points over 1995 to 2000. Only two countries are on track to meet targets...meanwhile in the U.S., under the president's oh-so-unserious plan, U.S. emissions from 2000 to 2004 were eight percentage points lower than in the prior period."
So here we have a ridiculous situation: the U.S. is being castigated by environmentalists and most world leaders even though it has done the most to reduce greenhouse gases. Isn't that almost always the case? When it comes to pulling our weight in global matters that are considered "good" it is the U.S. which usually far exceeds other countries, but it gets scant recognition for its good deeds. One case that comes to mind is that the U.S. provides, according to The New York Times, "more than half the food aid that feeds hungry people around the world..."
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