Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Kyoto Was Never About the Environment
Blair is working behind friend Bush's back trying to turn him on Kyoto. Blair secretly has lobbied U.S. senators, and British officials are collaborating with American environmentalist advocates. Lord May of Oxford, president of the British Royal Society, was able to persuade science academies from 10 other countries (including the United States) to demand ''prompt action'' on global warming. Congress is closer than ever to enacting fossil fuel restrictions.

''In reality, Kyoto was never about environmental policy,'' a White House aide told me. ''It was designed as an elaborate, predatory trade strategy to level the American and European economies.'' The problem for Europeans has been that Bush refused to go along, ruining the desired leveling effect. The EU's industries have been devastated, while America has prospered.

Europeans' desire to bring U.S. prosperity down to their level is no conspiracy theory of American conservatives. Margot Wallstrom, the Swedish vice president of the European Commission, in 2001 (when she was commissioner for the environment) said the Kyoto Protocol was ''not a simple environmental issue ... this is about international relations, this is about economy -- about trying to create a level playing field.''

The reason for all this activity is the EU's plight in regard to Kyoto's emissions reduction targets of 5 percent below the 1990 level. According to credible private sources, the EU's 15 nations will be 3 percent above 1990 and 10 percent above in carbon dioxide. Several countries are substantially over the targets, led by Portugal (61 percent over target), Spain (61 percent) and Greece (51 percent).

While Blair mobilizes pressure on Bush at Gleaneagles, efforts will be made the next two weeks in the Senate to amend the energy bill to force reduced emissions. The global warming bill of Senators John McCain and Joseph Lieberman, estimated by the energy industry to cost more than 600,000 jobs and ruin U.S. coal production, was easily defeated in 2003. However, thanks to possible defections by several Republican senators, a mandatory climate change amendment by Democratic Sen. Jeff Bingaman might pass.

Bush is surrounded by hostile friends. Old bull Republican Sen. Pete Domenici, manager of the energy bill, may support the Bingaman amendment. Within Bush's own administration, the departed mole Rick Piltz has many allies. And in the lakes and glens of Scotland, he will find dear friend Tony Blair winning points with the Labor left and his fellow Europeans.

One of these days environmentalists are going to realize that regulations are not the ultimate answer to solving environmental problems. Producing technologies that are more environmentally friendly would be. Encouraging people to make better decisions would be.

Notice how the non-environmental aims of Kyoto is to bring down the American economy instead of bringing the European economy up? That, in a nutshell, sums up what is wrong with the socialist mindset. Zero-sum game. Tear down instead of build up. Regulate instead of finding solutions where everyone can benefit.

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