Bill Clinton’s Shifting Policy on Climate Change


Marlo Lewis, 202.669.6693 (Montréal)

Myron Ebell, 202.320.6685 (<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />Washington, D.C.)

Richard Morrison, 202.441.9652 (Montréal)

Jody Clarke, 202.331.2252 (Washington, D.C.)<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />


Montréal, Quebec, December 9, 2005—Former U.S. President Bill Clinton will address the United Nations climate conference in Montréal this afternoon, and is expected to urge the United States to change course and adopt the energy-use restrictions of  the Kyoto Protocol. Clinton’s current enthusiasm for the treaty is in sharp contrast to his position while President and the conditions he demanded be met prior to U.S. approval.


“Clinton repeatedly called Kyoto a ‘work in progress,’ and not ready to submit for Senate consideration until it included ‘meaningful participation by key developing countries,’ notably China and India, but also South Korea, Brazil, and Mexico,” said Competitive Enterprise Institute Senior Fellow Marlo Lewis. “Those countries still reject mandatory energy use restrictions, so the treaty still remains unworthy of submission to the Senate, according to Clinton's own criteria. That rejection, of course, is an admirable move by the developing nations which have chosen not to subject their citizens to a future of poverty and stagnation.”


The Clinton administration played a role in the negotiation of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, but the former President refused to submit the treaty for approval by the Senate. The policy of the Bush Administration — to continue to participate in negotiations under the UN’s Framework Convention, but not to submit the Kyoto Protocol to the Senate — is consistent with the Clinton record on climate change policy.


“It is inappropriate and hyprocritical for Clinton to now imply that President Bush’s policy is irresponsible or blameworthy,” continued Lewis. “He can't have it both ways — either the lack of meaningful participation by key developing countries justified his no-ratification policy or not. If it did, then Bush's identical policy of not seeking ratification is equally justified. If it did not, then he should apologize today to his fellow Kyoto supporters for not submitting the treaty while it was in his power to do so.”