Skip to comments.USS Clueless - Kyoto (Global Warming etc.)
Posted on 06/02/2002 6:59:36 PM PDT by RippleFire
(On Screen): It seems like one of those classic Mad Magazine strips: what people say and what they're really thinking and how there's a significant disconnect between them. You can imagine it illustrated by Al Jaffee or someone like that.
There are people out there who hate everything that the industrial revolution has brought us. They think we're too rich; they think we're too comfortable. There are too many of us. They want to turn back the clock, make the human race smaller again, or if that can't be done at least make it so that the human race uses less. It takes different guises.
Think of it as the "snail darter" gambit. Someone planning to build a dam on your favorite river? Want to stop them? Find yourself some obscure fish living in that river and then get it declared an endangered species. Is the snail darter really all that important? Hell no. It was never about the snail darter. It was about opposing development.
Trying to force someone to stop logging? Wood is good; wood is useful; wood is consumed by this nation in immense quantities. It's not clear that the way it's being harvested now is the best there could be, but that's not what our friends really want. What they want is a complete stop to logging.
If they say "Stop the logging!" they'll get ignored. They've tried that for years. Then they discovered some magic words: "Spotted Owl." (And then a miracle occurred...)
These people want to force us to make do with less "for our own good". We're too greedy, and they don't believe in self-determination or, ultimately, in freedom. They know better than us how we should live, and since we won't do what they ask us to, they'll try to figure out how to force us to do it, via law or treaty or suit.
It's an application of a form of Parkinson's second law: delay is the deadliest form of denial. In this case, you don't signal your real agenda, which is to stop progress, but rather fight it in small pieces and hope to defeat in detail. Think people are using too much power? Trying to force them to use less? You won't get anywhere that way; so instead you don't say, "Stop building power plants." The way to do it is to fight each individual proposal for a power plant, and find some excuse for doing so. This power plant can't be built because it will endanger a fish; that one because it lowers property values; this other one over here because it will threaten stringent air quality standards; that one because it's near a minor earthquake fault. Oh, my, will you look at that! There isn't enough power being generated because not enough new plants are being built to cover increased demand. Shucky-darn; looks like everyone's gonna have to use less power. What an awful shame.
America is the big villain of this piece. It's just too damned successful. Its people work too hard; they produce too much. They make more and consume more than anyone else; it just isn't fair. And they refuse to slow down. So we'll just have to find a way to force them to slow down, one way or another.
And now we have the granddaddy of all ways to throttle back the US economy: the Kyoto accords on global warming. Let's start with the fact that the science on which this treaty is based is not even remotely complete or sufficiently detailed to actually justify the kind of investment and political commitment that the Kyoto accord involves. But that has nothing to do with anything, because the Kyoto accord isn't really about global warming.
The real issue goes under a code-phrase: "sustainable development", which means "The US is using too damned much of everything and won't stop."
It's somewhat more general than that, actually: the first world and especially the US is using too much; we (?) need to throttle back the First World and let the Third World catch up.
All of this is based on a fundamental assumption that it's a zero-sum game. If the industrialized nations are wealthy then the Third World cannot be. If we slow down the First World then we get more equality in the world. Well, we would. But not by helping those living in the Third World in any important way. We'd make everyone equally poor, not equally rich.
Energy is the key. Nothing happens without expenditure of energy. There's lots of rhetoric about "clean energy" but that's all it is; there are only two substantial alternate sources of energy which don't involve burning things. The others are all fantasies.
You got nuclear and you got hydro. That's it. It's possible to generate power intermittently with wind, but not very much. It's possible to generate power with tides. You can get some power from geothermal. You can get some from solar. But none of them can generate power in terawatt quantities, which is what we need for a modern industrial economy. The US overall generates about 4 terawatts of electricity, and a lot more energy is consumed in cars and trucks and trains and ships and other ways.
A really big wind plant might produce three hundred megawatts, but only when the wind is blowing. 4 terawatts is 13,000 three-hundred-megawatt power plants. Not gonna happen. There are nothing like that many sites, for one thing.
Ireland is going all out on this and is going to manage about half a gigawatt, but only by exhausting every appropriate site in the nation. The US uses 8000 times that much electricity.
Anyway, all those alternate energy sources have their own drawbacks. Wind power tends to be a major hazard to birds; they have to pick up and dispose of dead ones all the time. They're also major eyesores. Geothermal energy releases sulfate and sulfide in huge quantities, which contributes to acid rain, and the number of potential sites is very limited. Tide power and solar power are available less than half the time, and potential tide power sites are even more limited. So you got nuclear and you got hydro.
Nuclear is a dirty word. Just try proposing building new nuclear plants. Go ahead; just try.
As to hydro, all the worthwhile sites in the United States have already been developed. We could generate small amounts by damming the Snake River and turning Hell's Canyon into a lake, and by putting in more dams on the Colorado and turning large parts of the Grand Canyon into reservoirs, but it's not going to happen, and neither river actually runs enough water to generate significant amounts of power. For all the publicity that Hoover Dam gets, it doesn't even produce enough power to support Las Vegas.
The best place in the US for generation of hydro is Oregon and Washington, by damming the Columbia and its main tributaries. With the completion of the Ben Franklin dam, the last worthwhile site on any of the main rivers in that system was used.
So if we want to keep increasing the amount of power we'll generate, we'll have to burn coal or oil. It's as simple as that. And if we can't do so, then our economy will stop growing.
Yes, conservation. Yes, yes, yes; more rhetoric. But there are limits to that, and we've already wrung a lot of those savings out. Conservation isn't an infinitely deep well. Eventually you reach a point where restricted energy production puts the screws on everything else, and the kind of economic growth we've enjoyed ceases. Conservation reaches a point of diminishing returns. Thereafter, if the population grows and energy production doesn't, then everyone has to live on less. Not just less energy, less of everything, because everything else depends on energy consumption.
Which is the whole point. That is what those who've proposed this treaty are actually after. That is their real agenda. And the proof of that? Kyoto will force the industrialized nations to cut energy production, but permit developing countries to increase theirs.
And the cuts will fall disproportionately on the US. Not just because we're the largest consumer of energy, but also because the cuts are constant unrelated to expected population growth. France, whose population is falling, will have to cut energy production under the treaty the same amount as the US, whose population is rising rapidly. So the per-capita energy generation rate will fall much more rapidly in the US than in France, and the US economy will finally be reined in and cease to embarrass hell out of everyone else who can't keep up.
Only it won't. Kyoto has been recognized for what it really was in the US from the very beginning. In 1997, while the negotiations were continuing, the Senate of the US passed the Byrd-Hagel resolution.
Resolved, That it is the sense of the Senate that--
(1) the United States should not be a signatory to any protocol to, or other agreement regarding, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change of 1992, at negotiations in Kyoto in December 1997, or thereafter, which would--
(A) mandate new commitments to limit or reduce greenhouse gas emissions for the Annex I Parties, unless the protocol or other agreement also mandates new specific scheduled commitments to limit or reduce greenhouse gas emissions for Developing Country Parties within the same compliance period, or
(B) would result in serious harm to the economy of the United States; and
(2) any such protocol or other agreement which would require the advice and consent of the Senate to ratification should be accompanied by a detailed explanation of any legislation or regulatory actions that may be required to implement the protocol or other agreement and should also be accompanied by an analysis of the detailed financial costs and other impacts on the economy of the United States which would be incurred by the implementation of the protocol or other agreement.
The Byrd-Hagel Resolution passed the Senate unanimously. Because of this, Clinton never bothered submitting the treaty to the Senate for ratification; it was clear that there was no point. But it was more useful for him politically in terms of playing the Wilsonian multilateralist card to pretend that he was holding onto the treaty and hoped to introduce it into the Senate at a later time when it might have a better chance of passage. (Clinton never faced a tough issue if he could dodge it.)
He knew as well as anyone else that day was never going to come. But Clinton didn't want to take the international political heat for saying so, even though everyone in Washington knew a long time ago that there was no chance, none whatever, of this treaty being ratified as it was. Not then, not now, not ever. No government of the US and no elected official in that government was going to vote for a treaty which would have crippled the US economy, and it was blatantly obvious a long time ago that crippling the US economy was the whole purpose of the Kyoto accords.
By a year ago, after President Bush had taken office, it was still crystal clear that it wasn't going to happen. However, Bush isn't the liar that Clinton is, and was willing to use his honeymoon period to clean up old rubbish lying around from the Clinton administration. So he announced that Kyoto was dead and that he had no intention of submitting it to the Senate. Then the firestorm started. Fortunately, Bush didn't care.
In any case, under the Byrd-Hagel resolution, it really couldn't be submitted anyway. It wasn't possible to prove any of the things that Byrd-Hagel required: it wasn't going to be binding on developing nations, and it would definitely have harmed the US economy. And despite what some people in Europe might think, the President of the United States does not ignore unanimous sense-of-the-Senate resolutions.
The Kyoto accord was dead as soon as the Senate passed Byrd-Hagel. The only difference between Clinton and Bush is that Bush was willing to be honest about it.
So now the EU has decided to grand-stand. They know full well that Kyoto is dead, and perhaps they always knew it. But they've decided to make the US the bad guy. They've all passed it, now, collectively.
Unfortunately, the reporter who wrote this news article has swallowed somebody's propaganda hook-line-and-sinker:
The United States, the world's largest polluter, shunned the treaty shortly after President George W. Bush took office last year, arguing it would harm the U.S. economy.
That's complete revisionism. The US "shunned" the treaty in 1997 when the Senate passed Byrd-Hagel unanimously.
Of the 41 nations that have signed but not yet ratified, Japan has said it will ratify shortly and Russia is expected to do so by the end of the year, which would give the protocol the necessary 55 percent, Wallstrom said.
I don't believe it. I don't think it's going to reach 55%, and I don't think anyone out there in positions of power (especially in Europe) thinks that. In particular, I suspect that the Japanese won't ratify. Oh, the reason they'll give is that because the US didn't then they can't, either; it's the damned Americans' fault. (Everything is America's fault. It's in the rules.) But one way or another, someone is going to chicken out and make sure that they don't go over the threshold. This treaty will never go into effect.
It's all posturing. It's as simple as that. Anti-growth activists in the US, and political leaders of other nations who were being shown up by the robust American economy tried to con the US into destroying itself. The Senate of the US refused to commit economic suicide just in order to be liked.
But let's be clear about something: this treaty isn't really about global warming. It was never about global warming. Global warming is the biggest snail darter in history.
Says it all.
Rush has been criticizing Bush on his liberal policy "strategery" pretty regularly. Rush hasn't defended the substance of Bush's cave-ins at all; he stridently criticizes the "pork bloated" Farm Bill, he will never accept the unconstitutional CFR bill that Bush signed, and he was criticized by his own listeners for not backing Bush when he Bush failed to uphold his own doctrine against terrorism in the Middle East.
Rush speculates that Bush's caving on so many liberal issues is Bush's version of the Clinton Co-opt two step; take away the other party's issues, and somehow reverse the effects later on, when there is a friendly majority in the Senate. I won't stake my money on this guess, but it is an interesting surmise.
LOL! Sounds kinda' like the spin of optomistic structured procrastination.
To find all articles tagged or indexed using Global Warming Hoax
Click here: Global Warming Hoax
An overview of the status of plans for settlements on Mars from the agricultural viewpoint.
Try telling people in Ethiopia that they can cure the food shortage by EATING LESS.
Great article, ties it all up in a neat little bundle. Thanks for the ping.
By going to the farmers and making them
pay the money back, or going to the steel
unions and making them cough up the wages
paid, or going to the illegal-alien-new-citizens
and saying "You're not American anymore.
I have bookmarked it to use in the future.
That's the real game in town; the U.N. is a fraudulent hoax, a mere soapbox for demagogues and blatherers.
Freedom Is Worth Fighting For !!
Molon Labe !!
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