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Pincas Jawetz's argument that the United States economy would benefit by following the path of the Kyoto Protocol's few adherents (Letters, Tuesday) is logically and factually unsound.
Consider his premise: 38 countries of the world—Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Iceland, the United States, etc.—agreed in principle to an energy suppression measure, the Kyoto Protocol.
The same measure was refused by 160 other countries: China, Mexico, India, Brazil, South Korea, and the like. Even among the mere 38, an insufficient number agreed to ratify the treaty to bring it into effect according to the agreement's own formula.
Only the United Kingdom and Sweden among the pre-May European Union-15 nations are actually in compliance. By remaining among the 160-plus countries with no desire to inflict Kyoto on themselves, by Mr. Jawetz's logic, the United States is going it alone.
What of those proud, supposedly economically vibrant few who soldier on "in exasperation" with our refusal to adhere?
Other than 10 percent unemployment and next-to-flat economic growth since they undertook this campaign, stubbornly clinging to Kyoto's prescriptions seems to be working out just fine.
Actually, this experience further dispels the notion that energy suppression paves the road to economic health.
Every major economic downturn in the past century was preceded by the increase in energy prices that is Kyoto's hallmark. In fact, just wait until the energy rationing really kicks in and the results match pro-Kyoto rhetoric.
Claiming that President George H.W. Bush "supported the Kyoto Protocol" is absurd, if consistently so.
The Kyoto Protocol is named for the conference at which it was drafted, in December 1997. Thematic talks did not even begin until 1995.
President George H.W. Bush was defeated in 1992. If anyone can show me evidence of George H.W. Bush supporting Kyoto, I will show you a Kinko's copy shop in Abilene, Tex.
As to President Clinton, he indeed signed this abominable treaty, but for the remaining three-plus years of his presidency refused to submit it to the Senate for ratification.
Mr. Jawetz concludes by menacingly intimating the collapse of the World Trade Organization over the Kyoto differences. In his hypothetical, he lays this at the feet of the United States.
This scenario presumes that the WTO—a body created to break down discriminatory trade barriers—is likely to accept the argument that if EU nations decide to do something remarkably silly to themselves, then the United States must either follow suit or be punished.
If any organization that could reach such a conclusion were to collapse, it would be no great loss. Fortunately, it remains as unlikely as the rest of this odd mishmash of Kyotonomics.