Hysteria, meet reality
The Kyoto treaty was agreed upon in late 1997 and countries started signing and ratifying it in 1998. A list of countries and their carbon dioxide emissions due to consumption of fossil fuels is available from the U.S. government. If we look at that data and compare 2004 (latest year for which data is available) to 1997 (last year before the Kyoto treaty was signed), we find the following.
- Emissions worldwide increased 18.0%.
- Emissions from countries that signed the treaty increased 21.1%.
- Emissions from non-signers increased 10.0%.
- Emissions from the U.S. increased 6.6%.In fact, emissions from the U.S. grew slower than those of over 75% of the countries that signed Kyoto. Below are the growth rates of carbon dioxide emissions, from 1997 to 2004, for a few selected countries, all Kyoto signers. (Remember, the comparative number for the U.S. is 6.6%.)
- Maldives, 252%.
- Sudan, 142%.
- China, 55%.
- Luxembourg, 43%
- Iran, 39%.
- Iceland, 29%.
- Norway, 24%.
- Russia, 16%.
- Italy, 16%.
- Finland, 15%.
- Mexico, 11%.
- Japan, 11%.
- Canada, 8.8%.
Which ties in nicely with this editorial from Governor Pete du Pont in today’s Wall Street Journal:
In light of all this criticism, what is the status of global emissions over the past few decades? Compared with other countries, how has America done? We generate about 25% of the world’s global warming emissions, which is not surprising since we are about 27% of the global economy.
From 1990 to 1995, America’s emissions increased 3.9% compared with 3.4% for other developed nations.
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From 1995 to 2000, the emissions increased to 11.3%, compared with other developed nations’ decline of 1.4%.
From 2000 to 2005, our increase was 0.6% compared with other nations’ 2.7%.
So we are making progress. Comparing us with other nations over the 1990-2005, period we are doing better than Canada, Greece, Ireland, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain and Turkey, and not as well as Australia, France, Germany, Britain and the Scandinavian nations.
There is no question we must do the research to find ways to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, and that is going forward. As President Bush pointed out in last year’s State of the Union address: “Since 2001 we have spent nearly $10 billion to develop cleaner, cheaper and more reliable alternative energy sources.” If the Congress fully funds the President’s 2008 budget it will total $15 billion.
Governor du Pont also postulates that the real reason for the insistence of developing nations to get the U.S. to adhere to Kyoto and Bali is to slow the American economy to the levels of these developing nations. And when you consider that the liberals don’t blink an eye when China, home to 16 of the world’s most polluted cities, keeps building coal-fired electric plants to keep with their electric demand, that point seems rather strong.
What the fringe environmental alarmists fail to see is all of the progress that we have made in the United States. I have seen pictures of the 1960’s and 1970’s, all of the haze in the air. All of the pollution in the waterways. The Cuyahoga catching fire. Can people honestly look around at the air, at anti-pollution measures, at Green Space initiatives, and say that our air quality and our environment in these United States are worse now than it was thirty or forty years ago?
I am a conservationist, in the sense that it is not good politics or good policy for us to be trashing the natural resources that we have been blessed enough to receive here in this neck of the galaxy. But there is not a panacea or a magic wand that will be able to fix pollution without doing serious damage to the American economy. When you consider that it is currently countries that have lousy economies where a large chunk of the pollution is coming from, how is shrinking the American economy going to be able to save the environment when folks who are forced out of their jobs due to inflation and thehyperinflating cost of doing business? You think folks struggling to make ends meet are going to care at that point?