Pending U.N. Summit Endangers Health And Safety: Consumers Face Higher Energy Costs, Unsafe Cars Under Treaty

Pending U.N. Summit Endangers Health And Safety: Consumers Face Higher Energy Costs, Unsafe Cars Under Treaty

October 21, 1998

Washington, D.C., October 21, 1998 – The debate over a global warming treaty is intensifying as negotiations in Buenos Aires approach. On November 2, thousands of delegates will be joined by representatives of Green pressure groups in Argentina to discuss developing country participation in the Kyoto Protocol. This bureaucratic boondoggle has yet to be submitted to the United States Senate, much less ratified.

Of great concern is the requirement that the US will have to cut back on carbon dioxide emissions, most likely through severely curtailed use of energy. Until the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) ran a national ad campaign last month bringing to light some of the economic and social costs of a global warming treaty, there had been no attention paid to the average American and what it would mean to cut back on energy use. Proponents of the treaty readily admit that we will have to cut energy use by upwards of 30%; they fail to explain the impact this would have on ordinary Americans. One of CEI’s ads shows a working person explaining how energy use makes her life healthier and safer.

"It is very easy for professional environmental agitators to call for restrictions on energy use, thus raising the costs of using energy," commented James Sheehan, director of international environmental policy at CEI. "But when challenged with the real-life consequences of their policies and directives, they choose to put a bag over their head and resort to name-calling."

Federally-mandated Corporate Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards have led to an increase of 2,000 to 4,000 deaths per year, according to a 1989 Harvard-Brookings study. Global warming treaty proponents call for increasing this deadly mandate as the "number one way to combat global warming." New studies indicate that increasing CAFE standards will increase the death toll on the roads.

"Nonchalant calls for people to ‘use less energy’ fail to take into account the enormous health- and life-saving benefits of cheap and plentiful energy," Sheehan continued. "How many more people must perish in CAFE-compliant cars or non-air conditioned homes before the Environmental Elites realize that their mandates have consequences?"

CEI, a non-profit, non-partisan public policy group founded in 1984, is dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government. For more information, contact Emily McGee, director of public relations, at 202-331-1010.