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Tony Blair backs away from Kyoto

By Henry Lamb
web posted September 26, 2005

Tony BlairThe most important news to emerge from Bill Clinton's "Global Initiative," was a statement from Tony Blair that the mainstream media completely ignored. Blair, a long time advocate of the Kyoto Protocol, told the star-studded gathering that "My thinking has changed in the past three or four years. No country is going to cut its growth" to accommodate Kyoto, or any other climate change treaty.

After years of staunch support for the Kyoto Protocol, Blair has realized that England cannot meet the treaty's requirements, and if it could, the result would be economic disaster. The emissions targets imposed by Kyoto upon the developed nations that have ratified it, are supposed to be achieved by 2012. The Protocol's governing body will meet in Montreal in December to continue negotiations for the second phase, the period after 2012.

Blair says that fast-growing nations such as China and India, which were excluded from the treaty, are not going to shut down their economies or constrain future growth, which is the inevitable consequence of the Kyoto Protocol. Instead, Blair says that nations must work together to advance science and technology, rather than try to reverse the expansion of development and the improved living conditions development brings.

Despite this blockbuster announcement by Tony Blair, the major media concentrated on the stars who attended the event and the donations they made to Clinton's initiative.

Clinton himself ignored the statement. Appearing on Meet the Press, Clinton failed to mention Blair's remarks. Instead, Clinton continued to blame human activity for all manner of climate variations. He talked about the Greenland ice cover thinning, but he failed to mention that a thousand years ago, there was no ice cover at all in Greenland. Human use of fossil fuels could not have caused Greenland to be green then. He talked about the huge chunks of ice that are breaking off sections of the polar caps, but he failed to mention the expansion of the glaciers in other areas of the polar regions.

Clinton did say that no one "with a straight face" could blame hurricane Katrina on global warming. This statement is a slap in the face to Ross Gelbspan of the Boston Globe, and Robert Kennedy, Jr., of the Natural Resources Defense Council. These are just two of the many environmental extremists who wasted no time declaring that global warming caused the disaster on the Gulf coast.

Clinton, and the mainstream media, can pretend that global warming is justification for the Kyoto Protocol, but with Tony Blair, and other developed nations realizing the actual economic cost of compliance, and the utter impossibility of meeting its requirements, the Protocol appears to be in deep trouble.

The only fact in the entire global warming debate that is indisputable, is the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide over the last century. The only proven consequence of this increase is the enhanced growth of nearly all vegetation. Carbon dioxide acts as a fertilizer to almost all known species of vegetation. Virtually all of the negative consequences attributed to increased carbon dioxide are the result of computer models, and speculation.

There is no room for speculation about the continued need for energy around the world. There is a direct and measurable correlation between energy use and health, longevity, and prosperity. The world should be working on ways to improve access to, and distribution of, affordable energy. Every energy source should be utilized, without artificial governmental restrictions on either access or use.

Rather than mobilizing the world to reduce the use of energy, the U.N., and other international institutions should be promoting the development of more energy sources. Rather than blocking the construction of nuclear power plants, refineries, and pipelines, environmental organizations should be promoting their growth and development, so the people in developing nations who live in squalid unsanitary conditions, can have the energy desperately needed to treat water supplies and refrigerate food and medicines. Rather than impose regulatory constraints on vehicle mileage and fuel blends, government should get out of the way, and let the marketplace sort out what the people want.

Tony Blair, and other early advocates of global command and control of energy use, are beginning to realize that the cost of serious reductions in energy consumption must result in a serious reduction in living standards, economic growth, and ultimately, in health and longevity. This is the real story from Clinton's "Global Initiative," and it won't go away, even if Clinton and the major media try to ignore it.

Henry Lamb is the executive vice president of the Environmental Conservation Organization (ECO), and chairman of Sovereignty International.

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