Calculating Kyoto’s Costs

Your Sunday edition cites politicians on both sides of the Atlantic weighing in on the U.S. presidential election by complaining of President Bush's supposed withdrawal from negotiations over the Kyoto Protocol, the signed-but-never-ratified agreement to suppress energy use (“Labor Party leaders rallying to Kerry,” World).  Columnist Tom Bray accurately describes John Kerry's long- running argument, prominently featured in his initial foreign- policy and environment addresses, that he would “re-engage” in the Kyoto talks (“Platform backs off Kyoto,” Commentary).  Also, British Parliament member Martin Salter cites “what Bush has done … on <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />Kyoto” in justifying his efforts to support Mr. Kerry. Perpetuation of this rhetoric provides far more insight about a pair of lazy or too-clever politicians than it does about the United State's relationship with the regrettable Kyoto treaty.  If the U.S. has disengaged or otherwise withdrawn from Kyoto, what were those 28 officials from the State Department, Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies doing at June's Subsidiary Body negotiation in Bonn to prepare for December's Conference of the Parties (COP 10) gathering in Buenos Aires?  Clearly, the voters need and deserve –yet appear unlikely to receive—an open and honest debate about an agreement that even the Clinton administration estimated would cost our economy as much as $4 billion annually, or 4 percent of the gross domestic product, without detectably impacting climate even if the alarmists' claims are accepted.  The Washington Times can foster this debate with a full detailing of the actual state of play, the candidates' actions and positions, and what the agreement would mean to the average American. CHRISTOPHER C. HORNER Senior fellow Competitive Enterprise Institute Washington <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />