You are here

So what's stopping them?

The incoming leadership of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee are keen to use global warming as a stick to beat the Administration with - here's an example. So what's stopping them from bringing forward the Kyoto Protocol for ratification? The treaty was indeed signed by President Clinton - as even the New York Times has to admit. There is no constitutional requirement for the President formally to transmit a signed treaty to the Senate. Two thirds of the Senate simply has to "concur" and the Treaty is ratified. if the Senators are so concerned about White House obstructionism, why don't they just perform this end-around run? Well, one reason could be that all these Senators are actually opposed to Kyoto. Senators Boxer, Domenici and Lieberman all voted in favor of S.98 in the 105th Congress, which opposed the US signing a Kyoto Treaty that was unfair to US interests. That's exactly what President Clinton signed. So perhaps they're too embarrassed to admit this. Another reason might be that, bearing in mind that the Kyoto-lite McCain-Lieberman Climate Stewardship Act has gone down to defeat twice, losing votes the last time it was offered, there is little appetite for energy-supressing, tax-raising schemes in the Senate, even the new one. Yet another reason might be that the global warming issue is so useful to certain interests, it would be useful politically to have the issue still around in 2008. Why else, after years of claiming that the time for debate is past, would Sen. Boxer now be announcing a long and exhaustive series of hearings on the subject? Or could it be all of the above? A principled EPW committee would ignore these considerations, put its beliefs where its mouth is, and introduce Kyoto for ratification. Somehow, I think that's very unlikely.