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On Truthfulness and Kyoto
In the late 90's the Kyoto accords were signed by most all developed countries. Even the US under Clinton signed the accords, with the proviso that we wouldn't be actually agreeing to them unless the Senate ratified the treaty. It was never submitted to the senate for ratification. Virtually all European countries became a part of the accord that agreed to cut greenhouse emissions to 8% below 1990 levels.
Over that last 6 years or so the US has been treated to various European Commissars lecture the US on obligations to the world community. Why can't the US be more like civilized Europeans and agree to do something to save mankind?
So how are the Europeans doing on their quest to save the planet from the rapacious Yankees? Not very well it seems.
Here's a rundown of the progress to date by industry:
· Energy: +24 million tonnes (+2.1%) - increase mainly due to a surge in demand for electricity which was mainly met by coal-fired power plants
· Households and services: +18 million tonnes (+2.8%) - one of the main reasons was the cold conditions that prevailed during the winter
· Industry: +17 million tonnes (+2.1%) - Iron & steel and air conditioning & refrigeration are mentioned as being responsible for the rise
· Transport: +6 million tonnes (0.7%) - Germany is cited as an example with emissions reduction recorded for the fourth consecutive year.
There has been some reductions, but virtually all of those came by shuttering the old inefficient Soviet era industry in Eastern Europe. Capitalist competition did what the chattering class of Europe couldn't do. Western Europe (where the lectures originate) hasn't done well in reducing emissions: · United Kingdom: +10 million tonnes
· Finland: +7 million tonnes
· Germany: +6 million tonnes (almost)
Which brings into focus the idea of truthfulness. Most Europeans knew when they were lecturing the US on environmental policy that they weren't going to make the changes necessary to bring about the Kyoto mandated emission changes. However moral superiority on environmental issues plays well with the Greens back home and nobody would be able to confirm the shortfall for many years. Rather cynical ploy.
Bush, on the other hand, knew that the changes weren't going to be made and therefore decided to endure the lectures by various bureaucrats and morally superior cultural ministers rather than agree to do something that he knew wouldn't happen. Not a bad definition for integrity.
The Democrats in the US have taken a middle ground on the matter -- condemning Bush for not backing the treaty, while at the same time actually calling for ratification. It's a muddled and somewhat dishonest path designed to gather votes from the Environmentalist lobby while not impacting the economy. A temporarily expedient path, but one that's destined to fail in the long run as the Europeans are discovering.