The Real Target of Kyoto
I’ve long thought that the Kyoto treaty was created by the “watermelon” type of environmentalist, the type who is just as much anti-capitalism and anti-America as pro-environment. But something has always made me wonder about it, and I asked why Europe would be so quick to rip their own economies to shreds just to hurt ours more. I secretly thought that Europe might have been glad that America stood up and shot it down, because it saved the Europeans from their own treaty while turning the US into an easy scapegoat to blame for it not passing. I was far from the truth.
As Warren of Coyote Blog points out, they wouldn’t really have affected their own economies. They picked the date of “going back to 1990 levels” for a reason, and that was due to the fact that it was a localized high point for the rest of the world, and a localized low point for the US. It wouldn’t have hurt their economies much, but would have drastically affected ours.
The reason for the 1990 date was all about counting coup on the United States. The date was selected by the European negotiators who dominated the treaty process specifically to minimize the burden on Europe and maximize the burden on the US. Look at the numbers above. The negotiators had the 1990-1995 numbers in hand when they crafted the treaty and had a good sense of what the 1995-2000 numbers would look like. They knew that at that point in time, getting to 1990 levels for the EU was no work — they were already there — and that it would be a tremendous burden for the US. Many holier-than-thou folks in this country have criticized the US for not signing Kyoto. But look at what we were handed to sign – a document that at the point of signing put no burden on the EU, little burden on Japan, no burden on the developing world, and tremendous burden on the US. We were handed a loaded gun and asked to shoot ourselves with it. Long before Bush drew jeers for walking away from the treaty, the Senate voted 99-0 not to touch the thing until it was changed.
This is something that is typical of progressive Europeans and Americans alike. It’s really easy to do what’s politically correct when it’s someone else’s money that’s bankrolling it. And as with most leftist causes, it doesn’t really matter whether the proposed action will achieve its objectives, again because it’s paid for with someone else’s money.