Wednesday, December 14, 2005


This funny post brings up something that is worth remembering: the Democrat controlled senate was never given a chance to approve a treaty ostensibly supported by a Democrat president. This is probably one of the best political moves that Clinton made. He supported something that was politically beneficial for him, but he never gave the treaty a chance to become law in America, thereby avoiding the consequences of signing the treaty. He probably knew that the treaty either wouldn’t work, or would be bad for America. The way it was written, both choices were true.

The treaty isn’t working. The third-world continues to produce pollution at the same rate as before, and the rich countries of the world can only do so much more than they are already doing. As technology continues to advance, we will produce far less waste, but it is the desire to find a healthier bottom line that will produce this, rather than a strict desire not to pollute. Tony Blair, among others, has admitted that the treaty, as written, isn’t working, and it’s not exactly America’s fault.

If we had been part of this treaty, it would have been bad for America. We are already beginning to use environmentally clean technologies, and to crack down more would have hurt our economy. That by itself isn't really a good reason not to join the treaty. The fact that China, a country which uses technologies that produces far more pollution per unit of energy than we do, was not required to clean its act up is a good reason to stay out. While we would have had to make sacrifices for clean air, China (and other less annoying third-world dictatorships, and some good countries like India) would have had all the benefits of clean air and none of the responsibilities. That is assuming, of course, that the air got noticeably cleaner even with America participating, while China et. all did not. My opinion, which I have reached after extensive research, is that we would not have had that much effect.

In principle, Kyoto is a good treaty. It uses market mechanisms to promote healthy environmentalism, and those are always more effective than simple limits. However, not including third-world powerhouses like China and India, and others, caused the treaty to miss the mark. Most of the rich countries in the world already use a lot of clean energy sources, and while it's good to convince them to use more, our time would probably be better spent cleaning up the third world. Giving them more efficient energy producing capability not only reduces pollution, but also helps provide more resources at a cheaper price, thereby making poverty more bearable, and less prevalent.

It is encouraging to hear that Tony Blair (I heart TB!) is already talking about the next round of Kyoto. He is saying that any second round needs to include technology sharing with poorer countries, along with limits on their production of pollution. It is much easier to develop a country with nothing into a country that uses clean sources of energy, instead of converting an already developed country into something that is only marginally more efficient. It also has more and better returns.

Thanks for reading the econ and foreign policy blurb. I love this'll probably see more of this as soon as finals are over.

Update: Check this link out. More opinions...

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