Global Warming Resolution Marks 10th Anniversary

Washington, D.C., July 25, 2007—Today marks the 10th anniversary of an important and prescient vote in the U.S. Senate. As global warming treaty negotiations in Kyoto, Japan were then about to begin, senators voted 95 to 0 in support of a resolution co-sponsored by Sens. Robert Byrd (D-WV) and Chuck Hagel (R-NE), calling on the U.S. government not to sign any treaty that did not extend emissions limits to developing countries or that incurred serious economic harm to the country. The Kyoto Protocol, which emerged from those negotiations, displays both such flaws. 

“What has happened since Byrd-Hagel has confirmed the Senate’s foresight and prudence,” said Competitive Enterprise Institute Director of Global Warming Policy Myron Ebell. “The European Union is proving that it is possible to incur high costs to cut emissions without actually cutting them. Since Kyoto was negotiated in 1997, emissions have actually been rising faster in percentage terms in the EU than in the U.S.”

Since that day ten years ago, neither the White House nor the Senate has made any meaningful attempt to secure U.S. ratification of the Kyoto Protocol. President Bill Clinton refused to submit the treaty for Senate approval in 1998, and continued to do so through the end of his presidency. President George W. Bush has also declined to present the treaty for ratification, explicitly citing many of the same objections that were contained in the Byrd-Hagel resolution.