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Jewish World Review
Dec. 18, 2007
/ 9 Teves 5768
Should Gore be out there creating the impression that the U.S. primarily is the cause of global problems?
I may be old fashioned, but I think it's wrong to publicly
attack and criticize your own country overseas. It is doubly wrong to
do so in the presence of those who hate the United States.
Al Gore, a former Senator from Tennessee, a former Vice
President of the United States and the 2000 Democratic candidate for
president, apparently believes that since, as he said, he is "not an
official of the United States," he is free to attack his native country
This month in Bali, Indonesia, the United Nations held a
conference on global warming for the purpose of extending the Kyoto
Protocols, which will formally end in 2012. The United States
concerned about Kyoto's effect on economic growth has refused to
ratify the Protocols. On July 25, 1997, the U.S. Senate rejected then
Vice President Gore's advice and voted 95-0 to reject the Kyoto
Last week Al Gore appeared at the Bali conference and said,
"I am not an official of the United States and I am not bound by the
diplomatic niceties. So I am going to speak an inconvenient truth. My
own country, the United States, is principally responsible for
obstructing progress here in Bali. We all know that."
Oh, really? And just how do we all know that? Is it true
that the U.S. is "principally responsible for obstructing progress" in
Bali? The New York Times, which applauds the former Vice President,
reported on December 14 that "[t]he emerging economic powers, most
notably China and India, also refuse to accept limits on their
emissions, despite projections that they will soon become the dominant
sources of the gases." The same Times article stated while the U.S.
opposes an agreement that would include numerical targets, so do "a few
other countries, including Russia."
On November 7, 2006, The Times reported, "China will surpass
the United States in 2009, nearly a decade ahead of previous
predictions, as the biggest emitter of the main gas linked to global
warming, the International Energy Agency has concluded in a report to be
released Tuesday." The article continued, "China's rise, fueled heavily
by coal, is particularly troubling to climate scientists because as a
developing country, China is exempt from the Kyoto Protocol's
requirements for reductions in emissions of global warming gases.
Unregulated emissions from China, India and other developing countries
are likely to account for most of the global increase in carbon dioxide
emissions over the next quarter-century. The agency's prediction
highlights the unexpected speed with which China is emerging as the
biggest contributor to global warming. Still, China has resisted limits
on its own emissions and those of other developing countries."
The argument offered by China, India and other developing
countries is clear and direct. Said Lu Xuedu, the deputy director
general of the Chinese Office of Global Environmental Affairs, "You
cannot tell people who are struggling to earn enough to eat that they
need to reduce their emissions." China's intent is to put the United
States and Europe in a difficult economic position where standards of
living will be reduced until developing countries rise to the standard
of the U.S. At that point the developing countries will be required to
reduce their emissions.
President Bush has been attacked by Al Gore and his
supporters for resisting a treaty that could inflict economic harm on
the American people. Does Al Gore seriously think that we should reduce
the U.S. standard of living until developing countries formerly
called Third World countries until that term was discarded as demeaning
catch up with us economically?
China is growing at a tremendous rate. So far this year,
China's gross domestic product has grown 11 percent, while U.S. growth
is two percent. According to The Times, India has a middle class of 250
million, while the entire U.S. population is 300 million. What's going
on here? These facts alone make clear it is not necessary to
effectively mandate a reduction in the U.S. standard of living in order
for other nations to grow.
I wonder if Al Gore knows what he's doing. Reducing and
sacrificing the U.S. standard of living as a way to bring others up the
ladder, rather than allowing the U.S. to maintain its living standard
while encouraging and helping others to reach our level, is a foolish
and dangerous plan. It is simply unacceptable. Al Gore and his
friends live in a Democratic society and have the absolute right to say
what they want. But those of us who do not want to see the U.S.
punished because of its success have rights, too. I believe it is our
duty to denounce Al Gore's unwise attacks on America and hold him
accountable for what he says.
Today, China has a hugely favorable balance of trade with
the U.S. In 2006, for example, China's net favorable balance was more
than $232 billion. The New York Times on December 14, 2007 reported
that "China's trade deficit with the United States is expected to soar
to nearly $300 billion this year, representing nearly half the overall
American trade deficit." Thanks to these enormous trade advantages,
China has now accumulated more than $1.4 trillion dollars which they can
use to buy up our industries cheaply, especially now when so many
American business leaders are prophesizing an American recession. The
Chinese have actually set aside $200 billion for the purpose of making
such purchases worldwide, as a start.
Should Al Gore be out there creating the impression that the
U.S. primarily is the cause of global problems? I say "no." It is
particularly galling when a recent Wall Street Journal article reported:
"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...[M]eanwhile 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."
In other words, when it comes to the emissions problem, the
U.S. is leading the way toward solving the problem without throwing
millions of people out of work.
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JWR contributor Edward I. Koch, the former mayor of New York, can be heard on Bloomberg Radio (WBBR 1130 AM) every Sunday from 9-10 am . Comment by clicking here.
© 2007, Ed Koch