Kyoto Media Advisory: December 1, 1997

Kyoto Media Advisory: December 1, 1997

Kyoto Climate Conference Opens: Science and Economics Ignored in Rush to Judgment
November 30, 1997

(Kyoto, December 1, 1997) Japan’s Foreign Minister opened the UN climate conference, known as "COP-3," by calling it "an event that could change the history of mankind." This statement is no exaggeration. Posing as the defenders of our planet, the world’s leaders seem eager to impose increased energy costs on a world economy already in crisis.

Fred Smith, president of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, noted that what happens at Kyoto will determine the future of the world economy. "The world will either continue to move toward greater economic liberalization or it will move toward increasing political control. The issue is in doubt."

The 8000 or so official delegates, business representatives, and NGOs (non-governmental organizations) seek agreement on some form of global carbon withdrawal program - some initial commitment to view energy use as a negative act that can and must be curbed. That decision would be the first global political endorsement of the Malthusian view that the problems of the world stem from too many people, too much consumption, and too much technology, in sharp contrast to the dominant western view of economic and technological change as positive forces. CEI’s Smith commented: "Malthus would be surprised at the extent to which his gloomy view of mankind’s future has come to dominate the global policy debate."

Moreover, Smith noted, the premise of the Kyoto conference is that the science of global warming is settled. Nothing could be further from the truth. Despite scientific, political and economic uncertainties, world leaders seem determined to impose energy restriction policies at any cost.

CEI, a free market research and advocacy organization, received UN credentials today as an official observer of the conference, or non-governmental organization (NGO). Thousands of NGOs are in attendance, with the category dominated by environmental groups. Very few NGOs are supportive of a free and open world energy market. The dominant view at Kyoto both among the NGOs and the politicians is that massive restrictions on global energy use are critical and overdue.

However, the policy debate is beginning to be a bit more balanced; joining CEI at COP-3 are other pro-liberty organizations such as Eagle Forum and Sovereignty International, who are representing social conservative and national interest concerns, respectively.

CEI is participating in the global warming conference for the next ten days as a voice of sobriety and reason in a forum that has lacked both in recent months. CEI represents the consumers and taxpayers of the world who stand first in line to pay for and suffer from the strident proposals on the climate negotiating table. The burdens of energy reduction policies being considered in this radical, fanatical forum will fall chiefly on the poorest and most vulnerable peoples of the world.

For more information, contact Fred Smith or James Sheehan of CEI at the Hotel Granvia Kyoto, (81 75) 344-8888, room 828. E-mail:fsmith@cei.org / sheehan@cei.org. In the United States, contact Emily McGee at (202) 331-1010 or (202) 270-2341 to schedule interviews or for more information.