Monday, October 25, 2010

Kyoto Protocol by any other name is Wirtschaftskampf

That's "economic struggle," or trade warfare.

Back in 2002, there was still a lot of talk about how the US should hurry up and ratify the Kyoto Protocol before New York sank beneath the waves, or something. I asked Megan McArdle* if it might have been "designed to be harmless to EU economies while handcuffing ours? So that the ratification really requires no changes on their parts?" She looked at the numbers, and agreed that

The European politicians who pushed it care less about absolute prosperity than relative prosperity. They're okay with hurting their economies if ours is hurt more.
But she was too kind to those European politicians.

Recently in the Weekly Standard, John Rosenthal has taken a look at "The Secret History of Climate Alarmism: A very German story of power politics disguised as environmentalism." He goes back to 1986:
The original impulse to take action had come from the German Physics Society, which in January 1986 published a “Warning of an Impending Climate Catastrophe.” Just over six months later, in August, the newsweekly Der Spiegel popularized the German physicists’ “warning” in a spectacular cover story headlined “The Climate Catastrophe.” The image on the cover of the magazine depicted Cologne’s historic cathedral surrounded by the waters of the Atlantic Ocean: a consequence of the melting of the polar ice caps, as was explained on the inside of the issue. Thus was the “global warming” scare born. In Germany, in 1986.
The whole protocol, or "framework convention," was carefully tailored to fit events in Europe. It's no coincidence that the base year for most countries in Kyoto was the year after the Berlin Wall fell.

Rosenthal raises a concern about the wisdom, and priorities, of our diplomats:
The real questions that Americans need to ask concern their own negotiators. How could they have permitted the United States to be boxed into such an obviously prejudicial corner, and why did neither they nor the Clinton administration as such do anything to expose the ruse?
The Senate at least saw through it, and refused to ratify, 95-0. Here's the actual Senate resolution (pdf). So the 95 "Yea" votes are votes against adopting the treaty.

The science has always been secondary to the politics.

The Kyoto Protocol is still out there, not dead yet. A few more Al Frankens in the Senate and it still might pass. Here's Franken in 2009:
We can start by ratifying the Kyoto Protocol. One of the dumbest things that President Bush said -- and that's a high bar -- is that Kyoto would cripple the U.S. economy. I think the opposite is true.
Funny, Al.
* I was using my real name on the Internet in those days. The Anglosphere Challenge was published in 2004, and it was shortly after that I grew tired of having to explain over and over again that I was not the author of that fine book, but someone else entirely.

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