Don’t Sign The Kyoto Protocol: Climate Treaty Is Dangerous to U.S., World

WASHINGTON, DC, March 16, 1998 — “The Kyoto Protocol is a dangerous treaty, and President Clinton should not sign it,” said Marlo Lewis, Jr., Vice President for Policy and Coalitions of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI).

The Kyoto Protocol comes open for signature by the world’s governments today. In his February 11, 1998 testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Under Secretary of State Stuart Eizenstat said President Clinton would sign the Kyoto accord, but did not specify when. “Clinton should not sign it, period. But if he does, he should immediately submit the Protocol for the Senate’s advice and consent,” Lewis said.

Unfortunately, the President probably will sign the agreement but won’t submit it this year. The Senate would overwhelmingly reject the Protocol if it were put to a vote today. On the other hand, the Greens will hammer Clinton if he doesn’t support the Protocol by signing it. “Therefore, he’ll sign but not submit the Protocol, and seek to implement Kyoto-style policies through a combination of regulatory coercion and greenhouse pork,” Lewis explained.

As for regulatory coercion, a recently leaked EPA document advises the Administration to insert carbon dioxide emissions caps into pending legislation to restructure the electricity industry. Under this strategy, the White House would make its support for electricity “deregulation” conditional on Congress and industry’s acceptance of new regulatory mandates. As for greenhouse pork, the President’s budget contains $6.3 billion in tax incentives and subsidies, which threatens to divide and conquer the business coalition opposing Kyoto.

Whether ratified or implemented without ratification, Kyoto will have serious destructive consequences. Energy rationing will devastate employment in the steel, chemical manufacture, petroleum refining, cement, and paper industries. Rising consumer energy prices will squeeze working families and the poor. New regulatory schemes will handicap small business, enrich corporate lobbyists, and expand bureaucracy. Slower growth in the world economy will imperil millions of desperately poor people in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. “Those are enormous costs to pay to combat an unproven problem,” said Lewis.

CEI is a non-profit, non-partisan public policy group dedicated to free markets and limited government. For more information call Emily McGee at (202) 331-1010.