Kyoto by 2002

By Henry Lamb

Bonn (Nov. 5, 1999) -- The single most significant accomplishment of the delegates to the global warming talks in Bonn, Germany, is a new commitment to bring the Kyoto Protocol into force no later than 2002, the 10th anniversary of the Rio Conference that gave birth to the Framework Convention on Climate Change. The Environmental Ministers from more than 100 nations stood to reaffirm their nation's commitment to the Protocol, and to make it the law of the planet.

Frank Loy, U.S. Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs, was among the speakers firmly committing the U.S. to such a course.

Interesting. The U.S. Senate has said by unanimous vote, that the Kyoto Protocol will not be ratified as it is now written. The Protocol cannot be amended until it goes into force. It cannot go into force without U.S. ratification. How, then, can the President's hand-picked spokesman stand before the world and commit the United States to a course of action the Senate has said will not happen?

Perhaps the President has been emboldened by his previous manipulations that have successfully by-passed Congress: the Staircase-Escalante Monument, for example, or the Land Legacy Initiative, or any one of a dozen or more actions that left Congress wondering why they bother coming to Washington.

Perhaps the President is counting on the Democrats regaining control of the Senate in next year's election, and reversing the position the Republican-controlled Senate took last year.

Perhaps there's more going on at the U.N. than meets the eye. It is true that the Kyoto Protocol cannot be amended until it goes into force. Listening to the delegates at any of the negotiations since the Protocol was adopted (there have been four major international conferences and a host of smaller workshops), would leave the impression that the Protocol's ultimate ratification is inevitable.

One possible scenario is the diplomatic punishment of plain language. A crunch issue is whether or not the Protocol will apply to all nations. The delegates say no. The U.S. Senate say yes. Bill Clinton says "...it depends on what the meaning of apply is." "Meaningful Participation" by key developing nations is the condition that the President says is necessary. A few nations have made voluntary, non-binding commitments, on the condition that the U.S. meet its Kyoto Commitment to give them money. Do these voluntary non-binding commitments bring the developing world under the Protocol?

The Protocol binds 38 developed nations to meet emissions reduction targets mandated by the United Nations Conference at Kyoto. All the other developed nations appear to be waiting for the United States to ratify the treaty first. All nations, both the developed and developing nations are demanding that it be ratified in sufficient time to take effect by 2002.

Every day, political pressure is building on the United States to ratify the Protocol. Almost every speaker in Bonn made some reference to climate changes in his country, or extreme weather events that are caused by the United States "luxury pollution." The Commissioner from the European Union said that if every one on earth lived as the people in developed countries, we would need ten globes to supply the resources - "and we have only one," she said.

The real goal of the Kyoto Protocol is to empower the United Nations to force equity among all the people on earth, by taking from those who have, to redistribute to those who have not.

The delegate from China made that point quite forcefully by claiming that the gap between the North and South is widening. He said that in 1960, the per capita gap was $5,760; in 1997, the gap was $23,532. Sounds dramatic, but the gap is about the same when inflation is taken into account. Most people who earned $5,000 per year in 1960, earn well above $23,000 today. More significantly, he said that each American produces 12 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, while people in developing countries produce only 2 tonnes each.

This dramatic-sounding comparison loses sight of the fact that Americans produce that carbon by using energy to create all the wealth the developing nations so desperately want redistributed. The goal of any international agreement should not be to reduce America's wealth-generating capacity by cutting off access to energy. The goal should be to elevate the capacity of developing nations to produce their own wealth, and allow free markets to continue to invent new technologies which make energy use cleaner in both the North and the South.

The delegates assembled in Bonn have a different view. They are hell-bent on bringing the Kyoto Protocol into force no later than 2002, giving the U.N. the power to regulate energy use in the North, and forcing payments from the North to the South and East. Lost in the pursuit is the increasing probability that whatever the U.N. does, is not likely to affect what the climate does one way or another. The artificial and arbitrary reduction of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere may be viewed at some future date, to be as ridiculous as we now view the formerly enlightened practice of draining blood from sick and dying patients.

The earth will take care of itself, regardless of what enlightened humans do. It is an ingeniously designed self-balancing, self-correcting system created expressly for all its inhabitants. The only extraneous addition not included in the original design, is government, which, historically, has caused more environmental degradation and human suffering than all the natural disasters that have ever occurred.

World accuses U.S.

By Henry Lamb

BONN (Nov. 4) - Environmental Ministers from around the world took turns Tuesday, pointing an accusing finger at the United States, blaming everything from the cyclone in India to the poverty in Rwanda, on America's failure to ratify the Kyoto Protocol.

Ghana's Alhaji Farouk Brimah, told the delegates assembled in Bonn, Germany, that unless the Kyoto Protocol is brought into force by 2002, this could be the "last human generation on this planet."

As the two-week negotiating session on global warming draws to a close, the urgency of finalizing the rules of implementation of the Kyoto Protocol is the clarion cry of delegates from the developing nations. The U.N. treaty cannot go into force until it is ratified by 55 nations that account for 55 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. Under no circumstance can the treaty become effective without ratification by the United States.

Speaker after speaker chided the U.S. for its lack of action on global warming. "We must do at home what we negotiate abroad, " declared the spokesman for the European Union.

"We must negotiate abroad what we can ratify at home," responded Frank Loy, U.S. Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs. Loy told the delegates that the "U.S. is more committed than ever," to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. "President Clinton has launched significant new initiatives to complete the work begun in Kyoto," he said.

This admission by Loy could stir a hostile Congress that has stipulated that no funds be used to implement any requirements of the Kyoto Protocol.

Loy said that he believed the Protocol could be ratified by the United States if two conditions were met: (1) reasonable implementation costs, and (2) "meaningful participation" by developing countries. Estimates of cost for implementing the treaty vary widely, depending upon who is doing the estimating. "Meaningful participation" by developing countries is a term yet to be defined, over which the Congress and the White House have differing views.

A resolution adopted unanimously by the U.S. Senate last year said clearly that the Protocol would not be ratified unless it applied to all nations. That requirement set by the Senate is substantially more stringent than "meaningful participation" required by the White House.

In an effort to aid the U.S. delegation, Argentina, Columbia, Korea and Kazakhstan have announced that they would accept "voluntary, non-binding commitments" to comply with the Protocol. China, on the other hand, which is expected to surpass the U.S. emissions output within the next decade, stood firm on its pledge to accept no new commitments. Zimbabwe's Minister of Environment and Energy, Simon Khayo Moyo, said that "calling for new commitments by developing nations is not helpful to the negotiations."

Italy, Germany, and France announced that their countries have adopted an eco-tax on carbon as a part of their plan to reduce emissions. Sweden's Minister, Kjell Larsson, said his country has a ten-year history of carbon tax, and called for an international tax on fossil fuels as a way to regulate its use, and to supply a stream of money to fund sustainable development in poor countries. "International responsibilities must take precedence over national desires," he said.

Developing nations see the Kyoto Protocol as a cash cow. The CDM (clean development mechanism) will provide money for projects in developing countries that the U.N. determines to be "sustainable." Speaker after speaker urged the delegates to exclude nuclear energy from the list of eligible projects. The Climate Action Network, the largest and most power coalition of GAGs (green advocacy groups) present at the meeting, is urging that nuclear, coal and large hydro projects be excluded from eligibility. What is eligible, or "sustainable," is an issue that has yet to be decided by the delegates.

The high-level Ministerial discussions will continue for another day. The delegates will meet again in June to continue to reach agreement on the rules of implementation. All rules are to be finalized by COP 6, which is scheduled for next year in the Hague. Delegates have set 2002 as a symbolic deadline - Rio +10 - as the deadline for bringing the Kyoto Protocol into force.

Inmates are running the asylum

By Henry Lamb

Bonn (Nov. 3) -- Three NGOs (non-government organizations) drive the global environmental agenda, including the global warming agenda. They are: the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN); the Worlwide Fund for Nature (WWF); and the Natural Resources Institute. These three NGOs are listed in the June, 1999 report of the Global Environment Facility, as either "Executing Agency," or "Collaborating organization," on 45 projects around the world, totaling $840,027,000.

There's big bucks in the environment business.

The IUCN includes in its membership, 111 government agencies, among which are: the U.S. State Department; the Department of Interior; the Department of Agriculture, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Each department of government pays a separate membership fee in excess of $50,000 per year, and signs an agreement that they will not execute policies that are in conflict with those of the IUCN. Additionally, the IUCN counts among its members, 731 Green Advocacy Groups (GAGs) that include The Nature Conservancy; the Sierra Club; the Environmental Defense Fund; and most of the more familiar names in the United States.

A former President of the IUCN, Shridath Ramphal, graduated to become co-chair of the Commission on Global Governance. A former Director of the National Wildlife Federation, Jay Hare, graduated to become the President of the IUCN, and then moved on to take his seat on the President's Council on Sustainable Development.

The Natural Resources Institute produced Gustave Speth, who after serving a term on Clinton's transition team, went on to head the United Nations Development Program. Speth's policy analyst at NRI, Rafe Pomerance is still a high-level official in the U.S. State Department.

The inmates are running the asylum! And they are getting paid handsomely to do it.

The influence of these three NGOs on both international and national policy is immeasurable. The tax dollars they are getting is measurable, if it can be found. The nearly $1 billion that flowed through the GEF is only a small portion of the total dollars extracted from tax payers by the government, and then turned over to GAGs to promote hype and hysteria to justify more programs to solve problems they dream up. In the language of the U.N. this is called "awareness building and outreach."

The money that GAGs get from government is not easy to track. Aside from grants and contracts awarded to favored green groups that are almost impossible to track, there are pass-through arrangements that rarely are identified. For example, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) sponsored a Joint Expert Meeting in the Netherlands in early 1999. The expenses of the meeting were paid for, in part, by the EPA. A report of the meeting circulated at the Bonn global warming talks, reveals that certain NGOs were invited, and their expenses were paid out of the budget for the meeting.

The IUCN is the granddaddy of all the NGOs. It was created in 1948 by the same Julian Huxley who founded UNESCO. The IUCN spawned the WWF in 1961, which then helped create the Natural Resources Institute in 1982. The three organizations, with their GAG affiliates, have come to dominate the environmental agenda and are now implementing their agenda through governments at every level.

Frank Loy, Undersecretary of State for Global Affairs, and head of the U.S. Delegation to the global warming talks, has been on the board of directors of the Environmental Defense Fund since 1981, serving as its chair from 1983 to 1990. He also served on the board of the League of Conservation Voters, whose former President, Bruce Babbitt, now heads the Department of Interior. George Frampton, now chairman of the President's Council on Environmental Quality, was President of the Wilderness Society.

The list goes on and on. The people who are now in positions of power to implement the policies developed by NGOs were once the executives of the NGOs whose policies they are now implementing. They are also in positions of power to give tax dollars to the NGOs of their choice, to fund the propaganda activity required to make their policies acceptable.

It is an ingenious scheme. Trusting citizens tend to accept what the government, or what the United Nations says, not realizing that the people who are doing the talking are the same people who previously ran the various GAGs. For all practical purposes, the United Nations, and the Clinton White House, provides a cloak of ambiguous legitimacy to a radical, highly-questionable, if not downright fraudulent, global environmental agenda.

How can the U.N., or the White House, dismiss out of hand the mounting scientific evidence that challenges the very existence of global warming? It's simple; they must. They must ignore the science, and, moreover, they must discredit any and all skeptics. Otherwise, the gravy-train could be derailed. If ordinary citizens who fork out the tax dollars ever realized that their hard-earned bucks are being used to perpetuate a process that need not exist, a bunch of bureaucrats could be looking for a job.

Warming talks cool over "compliance"

By Henry Lamb

BONN (Nov. 2) -- When the Clinton administration signed the Kyoto Protocol, he said to the United Nations, and to the rest of the world, "The United States will accept legally binding emissions reductions mandated by the United Nations." Neither Bill Clinton, nor anyone else in the world, knows what "legally binding" means. Delegates to the U.N. global warming talks in Bonn, Germany, are just beginning to give meaning to the term.

They must decide how compliance is to be monitored, who will do the monitoring, and perhaps most difficult, what will be the penalty for non-compliance.

Early negotiations indicate that the delegates are thinking of a special "compliance body" to do the monitoring. There is wide disagreement about how such a body should be comprised. Some delegates suggested that the compliance body be a permanent, standing body, but South Africa and several Small Island States, want the body to be flexible in size, depending upon the amount of work it has to do. Other delegates suggested that the body be small, consisting of experts appointed by selected governments, but serving at the pleasure of the U.N. rather than their national governments. Switzerland wants the body to have equal representation from nations that are bound by the Kyoto Protocol as well as those that are not bound.

Twenty-two months after the Kyoto Protocol was adopted, and 12 months after the U.S. signed it, and after a two-week meeting in June of this year, and after a week of talks here in Bonn, the compliance negotiators are still stumbling around looking for a starting point. The final agreement is supposed to be reached and adopted at COP6 one year from now. Despite the lack of agreement to date, the history of past negotiations suggests that they will likely make the deadline.

Much of the negotiation that is public, or even reported, is for public consumption back home. The real negotiations go on behind closed doors, and the most thorny issues are never agreed until the last minute. In Kyoto, the Protocol was not finally agreed until nearly 12 hours after the meeting was scheduled to adjourn. China, so far, is the only nation that has consistently refused to budge after its position on an issue has been announced. The U.S., on the other hand, frequently announces publicly, a position that is likely to gain favor at home, and then privately, acquiesces to the demands of other nations.

Unlike the U.S. House of Representatives or the U.S. Senate, where elected officials stand and debate an issue that is eventually decided by a public, recorded vote, issues at the United Nations are decided by "consensus." Nameless, appointed individuals bargain in secret sessions until agreement is reached. If the agreement reached is inconsistent with the outcome desired by the leadership, the agreement can be returned for further "consultations." Only when an issue such as the compliance mechanism is resolved in a way that is acceptable to the parties and to the leadership, is the agreement announced to the public.

Such was the case in Kyoto when the Protocol seemed bogged down in irreconcilable differences. Private meetings at the last minute produced a consensus which the delegates defended by saying "that's the best we could get." The final agreement was acceptable to the leadership.

During the negotiations, delegates may huff and puff for the benefit of the press, but in the end, whatever the consensus, it will be what the leadership wants.

The details of the compliance regime are not as important at this point as the enforcement mechanism. Brazil and Iran want financial penalties imposed upon nations that fail to comply. Australia suggested that offending nations should be able to choose from a menu of consequences. This is the real meat of the controversy.

Does this U.N. body have the authority to impose financial penalties on the United States, or any of the other 37 nations bound by the Kyoto Protocol? Presumably, should the U.S. ratify the Protocol with the ambiguous "legally binding" language, it will have to accept whatever the delegates define "legally binding" to mean. Since the primary objective of the Protocol is to provide an excuse to force the transfer of money from developed countries to developing countries, it is likely that the menu of choices Australia suggested, will turn into a list of fines to be paid for various degrees of non-compliance.

The enforcement of any compliance regime begs the question of the appropriateness of subjecting the United States to any foreign entity that has the power to impose financial penalties. Does not sovereignty mean the superior power? If the U.N. has the power to impose a financial penalty on the United States, is the United Nations' power not superior to the United States?

Bill Clinton has already agreed to this principal, when he signed the Kyoto Protocol. Fortunately, there are enough Senators who respect national sovereignty, that the Protocol has not yet been ratified. The delegates meeting in Bonn are convinced that it will be ratified, perhaps, after the next U.S. election. The delegates seem oblivious to the fact that nearly two years after the Protocol was adopted, it has not been ratified by a single nation that is bound by it. When the rules for implementation are agreed at COP6 next year, they believe all nations will quickly jump on board.

Whatever the compliance regime turns out to be, it will translate into American tax dollars moving South and East. No one, but no one, thinks for a moment that there is any chance at all that America can or will meet its Kyoto target.

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




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