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Buenos Aires, November 12, 1998 – "We fully expected the Clinton Administration to sign the Kyoto Protocol, but we are still outraged," commented James Sheehan, director of international environmental policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI). "President Clinton has turned his back on the working men and women of America and future generations as well – by signing a protocol that threatens the jobs, wages and economic wellbeing of every American family."
"We now call on President Clinton to submit the treaty to the United States Senate for ratification. If the treaty is good enough for the administration to sign, it is good enough to be submitted to the Senate," Sheehan continued.
The United States Senate told the president in a unanimous, 95-0 resolution it passed in the summer of 1997 that it will not approve any treaty that does not include developing country emissions reduction commitments. Despite this warning, the Clinton Administration signed the Protocol. None of the so-called "key" developing countries estimated to produce more carbon dioxide within the next decade have agreed to restrict their emissions, as the Byrd-Hagel resolution requires.
"The US delegation has achieved nothing in almost two weeks of talks," says CEI’s Sheehan, "yet the Clinton-Gore administration has made a huge un-reciprocated concession by signing the Kyoto accord."
"Clinton acts as if signing the Kyoto treaty is just a ‘symbolic’ act, with no real risks to the United States, but he knows better," Sheehan commented. As the Executive Secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change has pointed out, any nation signing the Protocol signifies that it "intends to complete the procedures for becoming legally bound by it, and is committed not to act against the treaty's objectives before being so bound." As a matter of international law, Clinton has now put the US government’s stamp of approval on the document.
"There is only one way Clinton can undo the damage he has done to our country," Sheehan explains, "He must submit the Protocol to the Senate so that it may exercise its constitutional prerogative of advice and consent. Only then can the people’s elected representatives be held accountable for a policy devised behind closed doors by obscure State Department bureaucrats."
The Competitive Enterprise Institute is a non-profit, non-partisan research and advocacy group based in Washington. For more information, please contact Emily McGee in Buenos Aires at (54-1) 312-4061 or Jonathan Adler in Washington at 1-202-331-1010.