December 1997

The Washington Post Comes Clean

Commenting on the climate change agreement penned in Kyoto, the Washington Post (December 12, 1997) warns that the U.S. could see significant cost increases. The Clinton administration is counting on “modest tools, including fuel-efficient technology, such as hybrid gas and electric cars, and business incentives, such as tax breaks, to do the job [of cutting greenhouse gases].” But, argues the Post, significant cuts in emissions “may require a wide array of tools designed to reduce emissions caused by houses, factories, cars and consumption.”

Robert Stavins, an economist of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, claims that the “lowest-cost method” of reducing carbon emissions would be a carbon tax. “It would probably take a tax of $150 per ton of carbon content on fossil fuels,” Stavins said. “That would mean an increase in coal prices of about 350 percent, and about 100 percent on petroleum and natural gas.” For consumers this translates into an average increase in gasoline and residential electricity prices of about 40 percent nationwide, or 3 percent of GDP. “That’s approximately the cost of complying with all other environmental regulations combined,” says Stavins.

This contrasts significantly from statements by President Clinton who said, “I see already the papers are full of people saying, ‘The sky is falling, the sky is falling, it’s a terrible thing.'” The treaty skeptics are not to be believed, according to the President, since the economy remains healthy despite past environmental initiatives. This statement, however, hides the fact that the economy, though growing at a normal rate, is on a lower trajectory than it otherwise would be. Environmental regulations probably do not affect long-term growth rates but they do irrevocably affect long-term wealth. The massive increase in environmental compliance costs that will result from the climate change agreement will have immediate affects on GDP growth and a permanent loss of wealth.

Big Business Looks Out for Themselves

In November, five leaders of major U.S. companies met, at the behest of Fortune magazine (December 8, 1997) to discuss the “corporate, national, and international implications of global warming.” The result was somewhat discouraging. Typical of many corporate CEOs, they were not averse to regulation as long as it doesn’t hurt them relative to others. This attitude was expressed by Paul O’Neill of Alcoa: “The cost implications for Alcoa are enormous. But there’s comfort in the fact that we’re not greatly different from the others in the industry. To maintain a good position in the world, we need to stay ahead of the competition, which I am sure we can do. We’ll be all right.”

Michael Bonsignore who runs Honeywell called for a compromise at least to establish objectives, “including a mechanism to transfer technology from the developed world to the developing world.” Of course, taxpayers would pay for the transfers and Honeywell would reap all the benefits of corporate welfare.

Though the discussion as a whole was disappointing there were a couple of encouraging remarks. Alex Trotman, CEO of Ford Motor, seems to understand the reality of the situation. “One of the things we fear most is that we would have to address stringent targets with today’s technology. We’re a long-lead-time, capital-intensive industry. If we were to change over a number of engine lines, for example, [it would cost] billions of dollars using today’s technology. By the time we’re just about to start making those engines, we will have discovered, I guarantee you, some major leap that we will have negated by investing early.”

Bill Ruckelshaus, former head of the Environmental Protection Agency under Nixon and Reagan, and current chairman of Browning-Ferris Industries said, “What I think the Vice President really needs to do . . . is don’t take science at face value, as though there is no debate. A scientist often will make political pronouncements in the name of science, when what he’s really talking about are policy choices that a cabdriver has the credentials to make as much as him.”

New Carbon Emission Forecast

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) has revised its projections for United States carbon emissions, making it more difficult to reduce emissions than previously thought. Faster economic growth and lower energy prices have prompted the EIA to raise its projections by 5 percent, claiming that carbon emissions in the U.S. will increase by 34 percent by the year 2010 and by 45 percent by the year 2020 (Nature, November 20, 1997).

The Kyoto agreement to cut emission by 7 percent below 1990 levels by 2012 will require the U.S. to cut emission by more than 40 percent below the levels that would have been otherwise achieved.

What Have We Done?

In November the Clinton Administration announced its negotiating position for the upcoming Kyoto conference. It proposed stabilization of emissions at 1990 levels and meaningful participation by developing countries. Negotiators went to Kyoto assuring the American people that if they did not get what it wanted the U.S. delegation would walk away from the treaty. But upon the arrival of Vice President Al Gore, the U.S. promptly conceded its position.

Industrialized nations have agreed to a global warming protocol covering six “greenhouse gases” — carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride. The U.S. target is 7 percent below 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012, forcing U.S. emissions more than 40 percent below what they otherwise are projected to be in 2010. Japan’s target was set at 6 percent, and the European Union’s was set at 8 percent while Australia will be allowed to increase emissions by 8 percent above 1990 levels. The treaty does not commit any developing nations to emissions reductions.

There are several disturbing aspects of the treaty. First, the treaty amendment process violates U.S. sovereignty. Articles 19 and 20 of the Protocol states that future climate treaty commitments, approved by three-fourths of the parties, shall “enter into force for those Parties having accepted it on the ninetieth day after . . . [being accepted] by at least three fourths of the Parties to the Protocol.” The failure to clarify that acceptance means the satisfaction of the constitutional requirements of that state would seem to bypass US Senate ratification requirements for treaty obligations. The text also stipulates that “No reservations may be made to this Protocol” [Art. 25], further isolating the climate treaty from democratic procedures.

Second, the treaty does not comply with Byrd-Hagel resolution. The draconian reduction targets agreed to will harm the American economy, and Third World participation is only garnered through the voluntary “Clean Development Mechanism,” whereby financial aid and technology are transferred to developing countries – who will not be held to any energy restriction timetables or goals.

Finally, the treaty threatens world economic growth. Article 2 of the draft Protocol requires nations to promote sustainable development through:

  • “protection and enhancement of [carbon] sinks” [Art. 2.1.a.ii] This provision along with Art. 3.4 on “land-use change” provides for the expansion of land-use controls and forestry restrictions;
  • A “sustainable forms of agriculture” [Art. 2.1.a.iii], implying greater restrictions on farming practices;
  • “Progressive reduction and phasing out of market imperfections, fiscal incentives, tax and duty exemptions” [Art 2.1.a.v].

Under this provision, nations would have to raise taxes on currently untaxed activities as well as raise tariff barriers against certain imports. International trade flows are threatened by protectionism disguised as climate change prevention. Economists have no means of making the vague “market imperfection” concept precise – as worded, this is an open-ended invitation for mischief.

Nations are obligated to pursue regulation of aviation and marine bunker fuels through international agencies [Art 2.2], suggesting further restraints on international trade, transportation and tourism.

President Clinton has said he will not submit the treaty for ratification to the Senate until key developing countries, such as China and India have agreed to cut greenhouse gas emissions, which probably won’t happen until 1999, according to the Washington Post (December 12, 1997).

Congressional Reactions

Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Tenn) assailed the president for withholding the treaty from ratification “for cynical political reasons.” Lott said, “The president directed his negotiators to sign this treaty. The president should have the strength of his convictions to submit this treaty as soon as possible for the scrutiny of the United States Senate.” Sen. John H. Chafee (R-Rhode Island) said the “possibilities for Senate approval of a treaty appear slim at the moment” (Washington Post, December 12, 1997).

Others have been less charitable. Frank H. Murkowski (R-Alaska) said that agreement “is fundamentally flawed and dead on arrival.” (Washington Times, December 12, 1997). House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Georgia) called the agreement “an outrage” and accused the administration of surrendering to pressure in Kyoto. “Early reports indicate that on 10 critical issues such as cuts in emissions, future developing country commitments and new U.S. commitments, we sacrificed the future well-being of the country based on environmental correctness and inconclusive science,” said Gingrich. Senator James M. Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) called the agreement “a political, economic and national security fiasco” (New York Times, December 12, 1997).

Please note these articles were written and posted during the Kyoto global warming conference in 1997. Therefore some of the information may be dated.

Read the Final Kyoto Agreement — You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view this document

Update – Dec. 10 — US Negotiators Sell Out Position to Reach a Tentative Agreement

Update – Dec. 9 — Anticipation Builds for Kyoto Finale

Update – Dec. 8 — Gore Says US Will Compromise Position

Update – Dec. 5 — Third World Fumes

Update – Dec. 4 — Who is Speaking for the US?

Update – Dec. 3 — 500 Physicians, Scientists Oppose Climate Treaty

Update – Dec. 2 — US Changes Stance as Gore Plans to Attend Conference

Update – Dec. 1 — Climate Conference Opens

Update – Nov. 20 — Media contacts available for comments on Kyoto


Click here for the full document (PDF).

Industrialized nations have tentatively agreed to a global warming protocol covering six “greenhouse gases” — carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride. The US target would be 7 percent below 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012, forcing US emissions more than 30 percent below what they otherwise are projected to be in 2010. Japans target was set at 6 percent, and the European Unions was said to be 8 percent.

UN officials promised the final text of a Kyoto Protocol by late evening on December 10, but few expect this deadline to be met after experiencing many false alarms. The final details are still in doubt as of this writing, with developing nations still uneasy over key provisions affecting their interests.

The Clinton-Gore Administration is heading for a dramatic showdown with the US Senate. The energy use curbs needed to comply with the cliamte treaty are far deeper than expected, though emissions trading and carbon “sink” concepts are included to disguise the pain.

Already, available details about the Kyoto Protocol have angered key US Senators. “The position of the United States continues to drift farther and farther from the US Senate baseline of S. Res. 98, the Byrd-Hagel resolution,” said Sen. Chuck Hagel, “…its obvious that [to the Vice President] flexibility is defined as make a deal at any cost.”

Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott also lashed out at the Administration. In a letter to Sen. Hagel, leader of the Senates observer group in Kyoto, Sen. Lott expressed “amazement” at the Administrations blatant disregard of the Byrd-Hagel resolution. “Recent developments in Kyoto have only added to the bleak prospects for Senate ratification” states the letter.

The Majority Leader emphasized five criteria the Kyoto Protocol must adhere to: no erosion of American sovereignty, no hidden taxes, no loss of American jobs, no disadvantage to American business, and no special advantages to the Third World. “The treaty under discussion appears to fail on all five counts,” he observed.

Opposition to the climate treaty is not limited to Republicans. Sen. Hagel reports that a distressed Sen. Robert Byrd, West Virginia Democrat, asked him to deliver a strongly-worded message to State Department lead negotiator Stu Eisenstat. One of Sen. Byrds chief worries is that the Administration will try to withhold the Kyoto Protocol from Senate ratification until a much later date. Lacking the votes now, the climate treaty could remain in limbo for several years. But this tactic would antagonize key Senators who President Clinton must work with on other matters.

Latest Protocol Draft Riddled with Flaws

Today CEI released “A Brief Contrarian Critique and Analysis of the Draft Kyoto Protocol.” Based on the latest draft available, dated December 9, we identified several objections to fine print in the treaty language, summarized below. These considerations will no doubt factor into the global warming debate in Washington.

1. Unacceptable Energy Taxes on the US

The Clinton-Gore Administration’s climate treaty proposal for a “trading umbrella” (US, Japan, Russia, Australia, Canada, New Zealand) represents a global energy tax levied on the American people via their fuel and electricity bills.

In the draft Protocol, the “Clean Development Mechanism” and its associated “user fees” [Art. 14.8] are still another form of global energy taxes. This provision constitutes a major step toward granting the UN its long sought independent taxation authority, allowing an international bureaucracy to impose levies on US companies and consumers.

2. Does Not Comply with Byrd-Hagel Resolution

Draconian energy use reduction targets are on the table, measures that will harm the American economy and export US jobs. The Clinton-Gore trading umbrella scheme would force American industry to fund its competitors in Russia and the former Soviet republics.

Third World participation is only garnered through the voluntary “Clean Developent Mechanism,” whereby financial aid and technology are transferred to developing countries — who will not be held to the same energy restriction timetables as the US.

3. Treaty Amendment Process Violates US Sovereignty

Articles 22 and 23 of the draft Protocol states that future climate treaty commitments, approved by three-fourths of the parties, shall be “adopted only with the written consent of the Party concerned.” The failure to clarify that the “Party concerned” is the nation state and that consent means the satisfaction of the constitutional requirements of that state would seem to bypass US Senate ratification requirements for treaty obligations.

The draft text stipulates that “No reservations may be made to this Protocol,” [Art. 27] further isolating the climate treaty from democratic procedures.

4. Threatens World Economic Growth

Article 2 of the draft Protocol requires nations to promote sustainable development through:

  • protection and enhancement of [carbon] sinks [Art. 2.1.a..i] This provision along with Art. 3.5 on land-use change provides for the expansion of land-use controls and forestry restrictions. 
  • sustainable forms of agriculture [Art. 2.1.a..iii] Implied here is the restriction of fertilizers, pesticides, and biotechnology, with negative consequences for the worlds ability to produce food. 
  • reduction and phasing out of market imperfections, fiscal incentives, tax and duty exemptions [Art 2.1.a.v] Under this provision, nations would have to raise taxes on currently untaxed activities as well as raise tariff barriers against certain imports. International trade flows are threatened by protectionism disguised as climate change prevention. Economists have no means of making the vague market imperfection concept precise as worded, this is an open-ended invitation for mischief. 
  • Nations are obligated to pursue regulation of aviation and marine bunker fuels through international agencies [Art 2.2], suggesting further restraints on international trade, transportation and tourism.

The mood of the climate conference turned positively euphoric with US lead negotiatior Stu Eisenstats proposal to create a new umbrella group, like the EU “bubble,” within which emissions trading would occur. Included in the group are Japan, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Russia. Under this scheme, Russia would enjoy tremendous wealth transfers. Still, if double-dipping isnt allowed, this disguised foreign aid program for Russia might reduce the odds for still another IMF bailout.

The US apparently seeks an emissions reduction target of 2 percent from 1990 levels, with credit for carbon “sinks” — technical jargon for carbon absoption due to reforestation. The official UN working draft calls for 5 percent cuts in American energy use. And, in case you havent been keeping track, the GHG (greenhouse gas concept) has been steadily expanding from carbon dioxide to a basket of 6 gases ranging from methane to nitrous oxide.

The scientific and economic basis for setting any CO2 policy is very weak; the analysis for the other gases is almost non-existent. Lack of knowledge, of course, has not stopped the bureaucrats from now considering a so-called “three-plus-three” approach. This idea would subject two separate groups of gases to international control. Carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide would be regulated at the Kyoto meeting. A separate target will be set for perfluorocarbons, hydrofluorocarbons and sulfurhexafluoride at future climate conferences.

Developed nations are still desperately seeking a tangible commitment from developing countries that will pass for “meaningful participation” and mollify the US Senate. But the Third World has not yet budged. The issue of “joint implementation” remains unresolved at this late stage.

Gore and the Greens

Yesterdays cryptic, emotional speech by Vice President Al Gore did not pacify the multitudes.

Gores followers seemed genuinely mystified by their one-time saviors nebulous remarks. European Greens vehemently denounced the Vice President as a traitor and a lackey of Big Oil. Greenpeace International called his speech “full of hot air.” The zealots at Friends of the Earth reverently read aloud excerpts of Earth in the Balance, and challenged Gore to re-read the Gospel according to Al.

US-based environmentalists remained somewhat more loyal to their eventual standard bearer in the 2000 presidential elections. The Union of Concerned Scientists praised Gore for demonstrating the “significant leadership we are looking for.” The National Environmental Trust nudged Gore by reminding him of his own 1992 remarks about President Bush’s trip to the Rio Earth Summit. “[This issue] is about far more than hopping on a plane for a quick photo opportunity … and then flying back with a meaningless treaty that has no commitments in it.”

The Greens, like early labor leader Samuel Gompers, have but one answer when asked what they want: “More!” Theyve gained a massive amount since Rio 92 but remained unsatisfied. Their success is indicated by Gores one clear message: the environmental agenda would advance, albeit by baby steps, at Kyoto. “This is the step-by-step approach we took in Montreal ten years ago to address the problem of ozone depletion. And it is working,” Gore told his adoring fans.

Gore is becoming as adroit as Clinton in the fine art of triangulation. He has successfully positioned himself as the “rational” moderate — able to balance off those obstructionist businessmen who would destroy the Earth against the more radical greens.

Conservatives have found no counter to this strategy. There seems no prospect of any agreement compatible with the spirit of the Byrd-Hagel Resolution, although some weak rhetorical statement may still be possible. The actions and words of the the Vice President clearly trouble Sen. Chuck Hagel, who comments that the global warming treaty would “for the first time in American history … [give] an international body the authority to limit and regulate our economic growth.” In Hagels opinion, Gore failed to “[convey] the consequences of this treaty to the American people.” All true — but is anyone paying attention?

Gores Gases

Thanks to the Internets DRUDGE REPORT, we now know that Gores airplane burned more than 65,600 gallons of jet fuel, at a cost of more than $131,000, to deliver the Vice President to Kyoto. “Our fundamental challenge now is to find out whether and how we can change the behaviors that are causing [global warming],” lectured Gore on his 19-hour visit. His plane, a Boeing 707, gets terrible gas mileage at 4.1 gallons per mile. Apparently, Al Gore approves of energy use in such vital circumstances.

Clash of the Titans

Contrarians took on the Greens in todays long-awaited global warming policy debate. The title was provocative: Scorched Earth or Scorched Economy? CEIs Fred Smith and CFACTs David Rothbard engaged Friends of the Earths Tony Juniper and World Wide Fund for Nature (UK)s Nick Mabey for an hour and a half before an audience of camera crews, reporters and NGOs. Alas, we contrarians did not convince the environmentalists to remove the gun they hold against the American consumers forehead. Nevertheless, we put forward a strong moral case against adopting the Kyoto treaty. Global warming, even if proven correct, will likely be benign and will certainly be a gradual effect occuring only slowly over the next century. Diminished energy choices and higher fuel prices will impose obscene burdens on the worlds poor – immediately.

Al Gore flew into Kyoto this morning — allegedly not to solicit funds at the more than 100,000 Buddhist temples here — and immediately delivered a “Blame America First”sermon. Few evangelists could have evoked a more gloomy apocalyptic vision (storms, floods, droughts, loss of biodiversity), all brought about by the wasteful consumptive ways of modern man. This was a favorable forum for Al Gore and he took advantage of it — playing to his environmental constituency and counting on the fact that the American people would hear very little about his remarks in Kyoto.

Gore’s recommendations echoed the other Malthusian policies being bandied about in Kyoto: There should be less of us, we should consume less and we should produce material goods by less energy intensive means. The cost of each of these policies was naturally not discussed.

Gore waxed eloquently about the plight of the poor countries, the need for the United States to take the first step, the potential of appropriate technology (How to Lose 30% of That Messy Energy Fat with No Pain!) and stated that he had instructed the American negotiators to be more “flexible.” The US, Gore stated, would move ahead with coercive energy conservation steps whether an acceptable treaty was achieved or not.

Gore in Earth in the Balance had argued that those who refuse to accept the reality of global warming are akin to those who allowed Hitler to come to power. Moderating his remarks somewhat today, he compared climate treaty critics to the tobacco executives who lied about the health effects of cigarettes.

Fortunately, America’s Constitution divides powers — the Administration can propose but Congress must approve. And the Vice President did not amuse the congressional delegation, which came to Kyoto to keep the Chief Druid in check. They were not pleased with Gore’s attack on their character and were even less amused by Gore’s seeming willingness to evade the Constitution. Science Committee Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner noted that his hearings had found very credible expert opposition to the global warming theory. He was not pleased with Gore’s ad hominem attacks.

Senator Chuck Hagel was quick to point out that the Byrd-Hagel Resolution said some very clear things – the U.S. would not cripple its economy, the U.S. would not penalize energy use without developing nations doing the same. The Nebraska Senator also noted that while the unanimous vote (95-0) might overstate support for that resolution, the fact that over 65 senators had co-sponsored the resolution was evidence of very strong Senate views. Green Senators Lieberman, Chafee and Kerry were not co-sponsors of this resolution and have little credibility in discussing it.

One can only hope that Senators Hagel, Congressmen Sensenbrenner, Dingell and the other reasonable members of this delegation will take the next step and ask that no Kyoto Treaty be signed. Minor changes and rhetoric cannot remedy this treaty. Moreover, with the Asian economies are now in serious disarray, any steps to raise energy prices and to further reduce car demand would be foolish. Much work remains to be done.

Implications of Global Energy Rationing

A startling picturte is beginning to emerge regarding COP-3’s discussions of emissions trading, joint implementation and credits. The Europeans have answered criticisms over its emissions “bubble” (which allows low-emissions European nations to offset the higher emissions of other European nations) by arguing that other countries should also form “energy suppression” trading blocs. Do so, they argued, and you too can benefit from internal emissions trading. Thus, a Kyoto agreement might well encourage the creation of new trading blocs throughout the world.

What the energy-suppression architects seem to envisage is a brand new global monetary system made up of energy-usage “currency.” Nations that don’t produce energy would be rewarded with wealth transfers from countries that do. The climate treaty would require a compliance agency functioning much like a world central bank to process transactions of green “currency” and to regulate emissions banking activities.

Past political attempts to create such special currency regimes – food stamps, agricultural allotment systems, oil import quotas, and agricultural curtailment schemes have encountered severe problems. A political fable goes: the farmer contacts the USDA, noting that last year he had not grown 100 head of cattle. He found this so profitable that next year he plans to not grow 200 head of cattle. His question was: what kind of cattle shouldn’t he grow?

The complexities of an energy curtailment system with its negative production quotas of varying types of energy all measured from an arbitrary baseline would dwarf any problems associated with past efforts. Nonetheless, advocates for emission trading roam the halls here at Kyoto, chortling over the rents they will earn if such a regime ever comes into play.

Interestingly, the Kyoto discussions — which will have massive impacts on the economies and trading patterns of the world — are taking place with almost no participation by national trade or economics ministries. Environmental ministers head almost all of the 165 national delegations represented here. Yet such agencies are the only groups who will clearly benefit from increased environmental controls. Certainly, the burden of any emission reduction program would be borne by those individuals, regions and sectors targeted – not by these bureaucrats. And the agency won’t care; after all, an environmental agency is responsible only for “saving the planet,” not for advancing human welfare. Allowing the green fox to guard the economic hen house is not smart, and, when the price tag for Kyoto comes in, some heads may yet roll.

“The most vulnerable part of the Earth’s environment is the very thin layer of air clinging near to the surface of the planet, that we are now so carelessly filling with gaseous wastes that we are actually altering the relationship between the Earth and the Sun – by trapping more solar radiation under this growing blanket of pollution that envelops the entire world,” Vice President Gore told the U.N. Global Warming conference of 159 nations this morning in Koyto, Japan.

In what was one the most dramatic speeches in recent memory, Gore announced to world leaders: “Whether we recognize it or not, we are now engaged in an epic battle to right the balance of our Earth, and the tide of this battle will turn on when the majority of people in the world become sufficiently aroused by shared sense of urgent danger to join an all-out effort.”

Applause filed the halls of the Kyoto International Conference Center. “We must achieve a safe overall concentration level for greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere.”

The message is serious. So serious in fact, the DRUDGE REPORT has calculated that Vice President Al Gore is burning more than 439,500 pounds of fuel, or 65,600 gallons, at a cost of more than $131,000 on his 16,000 mile daytrip, just to deliver the warning.

Now that’s commitment.

Air Force II’s Global Warming Express features an itinerary that takes the vice president from Washington to Florida to Washington to Alaska to Japan and back — all in just 72-hours.

Saturday, December 6, 1997

9:45 a.m. – Air Force II departs Andrews AFB enroute Fort Myers, Fla.

12:05 p.m. – Air Force II arrives Southwest Florida Regional Airport. Gate 69-A.

2 p.m. – Vice President Gore addresses the 50th Anniversary/Rededication, Everglades Municipal Airport, Everglades National Park.

6:40 p.m. – Air Force II departs Florida en route AFB.

8:35 p.m. – Air Force II arrives at Andrews Air Force Base.

9:45 p.m. – Air Force II departs Andrews Air Force Base en route Elmendorf Air Force Base

Sunday, Dec. 7

1:15 a.m. — Air Force II arrives Elmendorf Air Force Base, Anchorage, Alaska

2:45 a.m. — Air Force II departs Elmendorf Air Force Base en route Osaka, Japan

Monday, Dec. 8

5 a.m. — Air Force II arrives Osaka International Airport, Osaka Japan

11:15 p.m. — Air Force II departs Osaka, Japan en route Elmendorf Air Force Base

12:35 p.m. — Air Force II arrives Elmendorf Air Force Base, Anchorage, Alaska

2:05 p.m. — Air Force II departs Elmendorf Air Force Base en route Andrews Air Force Base

Tuesday, Dec. 9

12:45 a.m. — Air Force II arrives Andrews Air Force Base

Washington, D.C., December 5, 1997 — Showing thousands of citizen petitions against the U.S. entering into a global climate treaty, four non-profit groups today voiced their concern about the devastating effects of U.S. global warming policies on average Americans at a press conference at the National Press Club. The press conference coincides with the fifth day of negotiations on a climate treaty in Kyoto, Japan.

The organizations, members of the National Consumer Coalition, noted that the press briefing was titled “Citizens’ Voices Not Heard at Kyoto” to emphasize the fact that the U.S. is likely to commit the country to drastic reductions in energy use, without considering how this energy rationing will impact consumers.

At the briefing speakers included Thair Philips, CEO, Seniors Coalition, who pointed out that seniors on fixed income will be hurt disproportionately, as they won’t be able to afford the huge increases in costs for heating, air conditioning, transportation, food, and other consumer products. The Seniors Coalition has collected thousands of petitions from its members urging the Administration not to sign a treaty mandating energy restrictions. At the briefing, these petitions were shown and most will be sent to President Clinton; petitions from people in Nebraska will be sent to Senator Hagel in Kyoto.

Tom DeWeese, President, American Policy Center, who discussed the citizens’ “Strike for Liberty” rallies being held around the country today to protest the U.S. global warming policies being promoted in Kyoto. At 12 noon today, thousands of average U.S. citizens are taking part in local events to show that they are opposed to any treaty that rolls back energy use in the U.S. and results in lost jobs and higher energy costs. The Center also showed several thousand American citizens’ petitions from farmers, truckers, and consumers around the country.

Judy Kent, homemaker and member of Consumer Alert, who told the story of how higher energy costs will affect her and her family in their everyday lives and how she fears what the future will hold for her children if the U.S. embarks on programs to curb the use of energy. Kent is representing Consumer Alert’s several thousand individual members.
Marlo Lewis, Vice President of Policy, Competitive Enterprise Institute, who unveiled CEI’s radio ad on what energy restrictions will mean for people in the U.S. The ads are being aired this week to coincide with the Kyoto treaty negotiations. Lewis is also the head of the “Cooler Heads Coalition” of the National Consumer Coalition, which focuses on global warming policies.

The National Consumer Coalition, organized and coordinated by Consumer Alert, is an on-going coalition that includes 25 non-profit policy groups, consumer groups, seniors organizations, and activist groups, whose individual members total 3.9 million people. NCC members are committed to the value of a market-economy in providing consumer choice, competition, and advances in technology that improve the health and safety of consumers.

Statement of Frances Smith, Executive Director of Consumer Alert and Coordinator of the National Consumer Coalition.

National Consumer Coalition Press Briefing, December 5, 1997

Good morning and welcome to this briefing. I’m Fran Smith with Consumer Alert, which is the coordinator of the National Consumer Coalition, made up of 25 non-profit groups that represent nearly 4 million Americans.

Today is the fifth day of global climate treaty negotiations — or to use the official terms, the fifth day of the Third Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change — familiarly referred to as COP-3 and UNFCCC.

Right now our U.S. delegates to the global climate treaty negotiations are negotiating to commit our country to drastic reductions in energy use.

While they are caught up in this global chess game, none of them is considering what this will mean to the American people — they are being treated as the expendable pawns. Restricting energy use will have a devastating impact on American citizens — the average family, seniors, and most importantly, the poor.

The U.S. is also trying to force third-world countries to be part of the agreement — that approach is called Aleveling the playing field in Washington jargon, but it usually means bringing everyone down to the same low level.

But some developing countries have another view. It’s ironic that China, a totalitarian government that has run roughshod over human rights, is standing up for its people. In response to Senator Lieberman’s statement that China had to be part of the agreement, the Chinese delegate replied, Perhaps you want our people to remain poor, but we cannot accept that.

A delegate from India also said that getting rid of poverty is his country’s top priority.

We would hope that our own delegates would give some thought to the American people.

Our groups represent Americans in all walks of life. We became alarmed about the total disregard by our policymakers about how global warming policies will affect American people in every aspect of their lives.

We haven’t had a debate on the science of global warming. Instead, we’ve been fed scare stories of the apocalyse to come.

We haven’t had any discussion of the measures that would be forced on consumers to meet the targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Instead, we’ve been told we can do it overnight at little cost.

We haven’t had any government analysis about how people would be affected in their everyday lives. Instead, we’ve been told that it will be painless.

As a result of this avoidance of discussion and debate, 90 percent of the American public doesn’t know that the U.S. is negotiating a global climate treaty, according to a survey released last month by the Small Business Survival Committee. The ones who do know are skeptical about the whole premise of the negotiations. They’re skeptical about whether global warming is occurring C after all, didn’t the same people warn us a few years ago about the coming Ice Age?

We’re not here, however, to discuss the science, which appears uncertain about whether global warming is occurring, and if it is, whether it’s due to mankind’s influence. We’re here today to represent “Citizens Voices Not Heard in Kyoto.” Today you’ll be hearing from people representing average Americans – you’ll also be hearing from people who signed thousands of petitions against the U.S. entering into a global warming treaty. They’re not here in person but their petitions speak for them.

All of us are asking policymakers to pay attention to these American voices, because they are the ones who will pay the costs. The costs of global warming are speculative — the costs of global warming policies are all too real.