Why the United States Should Remove Its Signature from the Kyoto Protocol

Murray/Horner Article from September Issue of CEI's Monthly Planet

Full Document Available in PDF

On March 29, 2001, just over two months into his new administration, President Bush announced that the United States would not comply with the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, which would have led to energy rationing due to its required cuts in carbon emissions, the inescapable byproduct of energy generation.  The President made clear his opposition to the unreasonable demands the Kyoto Protocol places on the United States. “We will not do anything that harms our economy,” he said then.


However, over three years later, the Clinton-era signature remains on this potentially very harmful document. The Bush Administration should move to unsign it.


The continued presence of America’s signature on the Kyoto treaty sends the wrong signal. Sensing ambiguity in the U.S. position, European officials continue to press Kyoto’s case, and are placing immense diplomatic pressure on Russia to ratify, which would bring the Protocol into legal effect, since it would push Kyoto over the necessary threshold of 55 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. This carries considerable risks.