No Implementation Without Ratification

WASHINGTON, DC, March 30, 1998 — “Every high school civics student knows that two-thirds of the Senate must approve a treaty before it becomes law, yet the Clinton Administration is acting – and encouraging others to act – as if the non-ratified Kyoto Protocol were already a controlling legal authority. Senator Ashcroft’s legislation will help expose and stop such chicanery,” said Marlo Lewis, Jr., Vice President for Policy and Coalitions at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI).

Evidence abounds that the Administration is pursuing a strategy of implementation without ratification. During the Kyoto conference, Vice President Gore said: “Whether there is an agreement in Kyoto or not, the United States is prepared, under President Clinton’s leadership, to unilaterally take steps that we believe should be taken to deal with this problem.” If Mssrs. Clinton and Gore were prepared to take unilateral steps before there was a Kyoto Protocol, why should we suppose they are not willing to do so now?

The President’s proposed Climate Change Technology Initiative (CCTI) would provide $2.7 billion in new R&D spending and $3.6 billion in tax credits to promote products and technologies deemed to be climate friendly. “The CCTI is transparently intended to alter business and consumer behavior in accordance with the treaty’s emission reduction objectives,” said Lewis.

In January and again in April, the EPA bankrolled “Post Kyoto” conferences for State and local environmental agency heads and air quality regulators. “Through such networking exercises, the Administration is recruiting pro-Kyoto lobbyists in bureaucratic power centers immune to Senate oversight,” said Lewis, who attended both meetings. Nor is that all. “If enough States adopt EPA-approved ‘climate change action plans,’ Kyoto will become the de facto law of the land, regardless of how (or whether) the Senate votes on ratification.”

Whether ratified or implemented through the back door, 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. 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.