Hurray USA - emmissions

let me clear one thing up. I’m not an ‘echoe warrior’. Shit, better make that that two things - I’m not anti US either. At least not per se. But… It seems to me, that recently, and especially under the Bush administration some of the US’s foreign policy pronouncements have been foolish, and very egocentric.

Alright,generalisations aside I’ll cut to the point. I think that the decision of the States to pull out of the world emissions treaty was wrong. Its seems like you don’t give a damn, it sends out a bad (and hypocrytical) message to other countries - especially in the third world - that pollution is not important. Above all else though, It seems that Bush doesn’t care that America produces 25% of the worlds CO2 emissions with just 4% of the population.

I’m quite sure that this post will attract the American nationalists fervant hatred of me - Its Huw Jones for your hate mail please :slight_smile: - but seriously I’d appreciate any comments that people have on this issue. Who agrees with me (any Americans?), and who has any proper unselfish/biased reasons why America shouldn’t enter the treaty?

The bashful Brit

Huw, I would venture to say that there are a lot of Americans just as unhappy with Dubya’s decisions as you are. Even while governor of Texas, he allowed that state’s pollution levels to soar. He’s already made it clear that he is not willing to sacrifice corporate interests for the sake of environmental concerns like safe drinking water, breathable water, etc. So, if he didn’t even care about conditions in his own state, why would he care about anywhere else?

“That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.”

Here is a link that will be of interest to you.

Well, Huw, there are two things to consider here, the legal and what shall call the pragmatic.

Legal: Bush did not pull the U.S. out of the Kyoto accords, as it was never in it. As you are British, it is no more to be expected that you should know the U.S. Constitution than the average American should know, say, the powers and composition of the House of Lords. However, as you can see in this plain-text version of the Constitution, the President has the power to negotiate a binding treaty only with the advice and consent of the Senate (Article II, Section 2). Our beloved former President, William Clinton :wally, never sought to get the advice of the Senate – undoubtedly because he knew that he wouldn’t get it. Bush is no more bound by Clinton’s approbation of Kyoto than Blair is by Thatcher’s dicta.

Pragmatic: There is no reason to believe that warming that the world has experienced since about 1750 is solely, or even largely, anthropogenic in origin. There is no reason to believe that, if this warming continues, that it will have a net negative effect in the next century (the IPCC has tried very hard to promote the idea that we’re entering into uncharted territory; if, however, I were to present the same amount and quality of evidence against global warming that it does against the Medieval Warm Period and the “Little Ice Age”, I would – justly – be laughed off this board). There is every reason to believe that, were the U.S. to fulfill Kyoto to the letter, that it would have an insignificant effect on CO[sub]2[/sub] emisions and thus, presumptively, on global warming. There is suggestive (although not conclusive) evidence that some other parties hope to use Kyoto to stagnate the U.S. economy. There is highly suggestive that even the relative “mainstream” of the global warming industry differentiates between one kelvin of anthropogenic global warming, and one kelvin of natural global warming, finding the former anathema, and sheepishly advising us to lie back and enjoy the latter, as we are powerless to affect the global climate.

Under the circumstances, then, Bush has acted prudently (although I’m willing to concede that it is not due to overwhelming perspicacity on his part) by denounce the attempt of get the U.S. to adhere to Kyoto.

Wow, Akatsukami, that’s an impressive amount of knowledge that you have. I am certainly very impressed that your knowledge of climate science is so much better than those who publish in refereed journals on the subject! Why should we believe the IPCC report representing the consensus view of scientists doing research and publishing in the field when we have Akatsukami to tell us what the state of science really is?

What Bush has done is clearly an embarrassment to the U.S. in the eyes of the world. His justifications are ludicrous. The latest thing they are pushing is the “hold all nations, including the developing nations, to the same standard” B.S. I was wondering what they mean by this. Do they mean that all nations should have the same quota on greenhouse gas production per capita? With that equal standard, even the Europeans wouldn’t have to cut back…It would pretty much be only us! Smart thinking guys!

As for the claim that Kyoto itself will have an insignificant effect on things, those arguments are a complete red herring. The idea behind Kyoto is to get us on a new track…to spur the development of cleaner technologies that won’t happen in a marketplace that subsidizes old and dirty forms of energy production and wasteful use of energy. These technologies can then be transferred to the Third World (probably with considerable opportunities for U.S. corporations to have a piece of the action if they would have enough long term foresight!)

Just to make the point about us vs. the Europeans a little more clearly, the U.S. should be thanking our lucky stars that the rest of the world thought it not too unreasonable to require countries in western Europe to make as deep cuts in their emissions than our country. After all, these are countries in which the government had already been doing various things (such as taxing gasoline, providing better infrastructure for public transportation, bicycling etc.) in order to encourage more efficient energy use in the transportation sector, for example.

If I were them, I might be slightly pissed that I am expected to now make cuts as great from that 1990 level as a country that hasn’t been doing jack-shit in this regard but has just been effectively subsidizing the wasteful use of energy to the point where people go out and make lots of unnecessary trips in their oversized gas-guzzling vehicles! No wonder the Europeans and Japanese are so mad at us for having the nerve to claim this protocol is unfair to us!

Got some evidence to back up this statement?

While I think Bush could certainly have done more for environmental protection in Texas, I’m unaware that pollution levels “soared” while he was governor. Previous administrations which have failed to act on factory emissions and plan for responsible growth also share responsibility for current problems.

Do you hail from Wales, Huw? How green is your valley? :wink:

Ack! He’s letting the corporations take away our breathable water? Notice how during the Bush administration, 100% of the drowinings in Texas were due to inhaling non-breathable water! We can’t let him do that to the rest of the US!


*Originally posted by Jackmannii *

Yep. Everyone likes a joker.

I’m from London actually, + I guess theres a few points I should answer to Akatsukami and My Cowboy friend Jackmannii (nice name mate).

So anyway Firstly Akat - ‘Pragmatic - There is no reason to believe that warming that the world has experienced since about 1750 is solely, or even largely, anthropogenic in origin. There is no reason to believe that, if this warming continues, that it will have a net negative effect in the next century…’

Pragmatic for who? America maybe, but certainly not the rest of the world or the environment in the long term. Selfish is the word that I’d use, and I wouldn’t generalise it either. Selfish Bush with his Oil Baron friends and certain Americans who think they have a god given right to pollute. As J - shore pointed out, most Europeans have been making an effort for the last
ten years or so. Despite this though, Emmissions levels are still too high hence the purpose of Kyoto.

As for the rest of the quote, however much you bulk up your sentences with fancy words - net negative my arse - you are wrong. There is evidence that C02 emmissions lead to Global warning, and there is evidence that global warming is bad. Apart from the IPCC report, you just have to look at the recent glacier melting statistics in Antartica to realise that their is a problem.

‘There is suggestive (although not conclusive) evidence that some other parties hope to use Kyoto to stagnate the U.S. economy’ - conspiracy theory anyone?

There may also be a reluctance on the part of the US to agree to something that it knows it will violate.


Emissions? Ain’t nobody gonna make us cut back on our emissions! We’re Amuricans, dammit! And when we screw the rest of the world, we’ve got the biggest, most potent, and most copious emissions of anybody in the world!

And furthermore, …[sub]what? A debate on “global warming”? You mean this isn’t the Pit? Ohhh…[/sub]

Uh, never mind…

HH I’d just like to jump in and say that I am an American that believes we are not ENTITLED to most of the world’s resources, even if we do control and use most of them. I am also an American that does not believe in isolationism. I am an American that believes we have a duty to each other as citizens of this PLANET! And I also think Bush is a putz. (Granted I was willing to give him a chance based on his “compassonate conservative” campain promises. Which he has shown to be empty words.)

I have not studied up on the Kyoto treaty so I’m not aware of all it entails. I do know that the Bushies argument about it not being ratified by our legislative branches is just more apologetic Bush-speak. A treaty I would imagine can be quite similar to one of our American “bills” or “amendments”, it can be massaged, stroked, and altered. But if you’ve been following our new cowboy’s policies domestic and abroad, which it looks like you have…you are dead on in characterizing him as a swaggering, arrogant idiot. (I know you didn’t call him that. You were being a gentlemen.) That’s what I’m calling him though. And yes, his actions do seem to be motivated purely by greed.


Use, yes, but control? What was that little skirmish with the Iraqis about?

My view is that the Kyoto Treaty is a device mostly intended to provoke a recession in the USA. As president Bush has pointed out, the treaty allows the third world to continue to polluite without any restraint. Remember when Freon was banned in the USA and Europe? Production just moved to india, China, and Mexico.
What puzzles me, is that NO EUROPEAN national parliament has in fact ratified this treaty!
So this just a way for eropean politicians to blame it all on the “big bad” USA-“we can’t pass it because those Americans won’t pass it”.
The real key to reducing carbon dioxide emissions, is the development of nuclear power. The Kyoto traety provides no incentive to do this.

Holy carbon dioxide, egkelly! “The Kyoto Treaty is a device mostly intended to provoke a recession in the USA”?! Yessir, you know it’s got to be all about us! European concerns about global warming producing extreme weather events, rising sea levels, and the migration of tropical diseases to temperate zones? All a pathetically flimsy smokescreen ("smoke"screen, ha ha, geddit?) to conceal their seething envy and rage at the astounding size and performance and durability of our erec-, er, economy! (At least as far as the wealthier part of our population is concerned, anyway—and hey, who else matters?!) Don’t let those crazy Dutchmen snow you that they’re really worried about losing half their damn country underwater if the sea level rises—those naughty little clog boys are just laughing in their sleeves in anticipation of our tanking our magnificent massive economy as a result of their deceit! And ya know that African “AIDS epidemic”? Just another public-opinion scam designed to pressure our muscular pharmaceutical industry into going bankrupt giving away free drugs to “AIDS victims”! International objections to the renewal of US missile defense plans? Nothing but more jealousy and malice trying to nibble away at our mighty superhero powers! I’m telling ya egkelly, you hit the nail on the head this time—any time other countries have the presumption to act as though they have a serious voice in world affairs and try to get us to change our behavior, it’s just a sign of their pathetic superpower envy, which means we don’t have to listen!

(Yup Huw, that’s actually how a lot of people think around here. Don’t get on our case too much, we’re trying to fight the ignorance but it takes a while.)

Jackmannii has a point that rampant pollution in Texas has a long pre-Bush history. But viva also has a point that Bush could have improved things and instead made them worse. From a 2000 Texas Observer article:

More details are found in the Ivins/Dubose biography Shrub. So it’s clear that W. certainly didn’t cause Texas’ environmental problems, but also that he proved basically indifferent to environmental dangers if addressing them would conflict in the short term with business interests—which is exactly the attitude he seems to be maintaining now about emissions reduction on the national level.

Blackclaw, the engineers’ report you cite makes some good points about the magnitude of the task; but it seems to me like sheer folly to say that just because we’re not sure we could succeed at this vitally necessary attempt within the given time frame, we shouldn’t commit to trying. Where’s that good old American know-how and can-do spirit, anyway?

Needs, I would disagree that Bush is actually personally motivated by greed. I think it’s more that, as jshore noted a while ago in a different thread, he’s simply never met a corporate interest he didn’t like. I think that as a wealthy and powerful person who’s always been most closely connected to other wealthy and powerful people, Bush sincerely believes, with the late Calvin Coolidge, that anything that’s good for business is good for America. There’s some merit to such a pro-development attitude, but I think Bush is about to find out, as Coolidge did, that it has its limits as a sensible policy.

Back to egkelly, this time to address what passed for the substantive points. As for “the third world continuing to pollute without any restraint”: as jshore pointed out above, the third world already pollutes a lot less per capita than we do! It’s a bit hypocritical to be whining about unfair treatment when we’re already by far the biggest offenders, don’t you think? Anyway, as jshore also noted, the idea is supposed to be that the burden of creating and implementing new energy technologies should fall primarily on the countries that can best afford it, which will then pass their improvements along to the poorer countries. (Again, this doesn’t have to be a pure giveaway, either: there will be substantial economic opportunities for the companies that develop clean technologies best and fastest, which unfortunately are not likely to be American ones if things keep going this way.)

And it’s not true, by the way, that there are no restrictions on CFC production in developing countries: the Montreal Protocol and subsequent revisions did allow extra delays in phaseout for developing countries, but still stipulated complete phaseout by 2010. More to the point, since the developed countries were the biggest emitters of CFCs, our phaseouts really have made a difference to world emissions levels.

As for the question of ratification, where on earth did you hear that nobody else has ratified the Kyoto treaty? From a Congressional Research Service Report by the National Council for Science and the Environment:

So yes, a large number of other countries (more than 84 now) have signed the protocol, including the US, and several have ratified it; but it’s not likely that the treaty will enter into force if the US, the major source of greenhouse-gas emissions, won’t join in ratification. But I hardly think that you can infer from this a lack of sincerity on the part of the Europeans, who, as has been noted, have already taken far more action than we have to cut emissions. They’re not the ones who are refusing to put their money where their mouth is on questions of global pollution and climate change: the principal cause of that particular hypocrisy is the ignorance, myopia, and megalomania of Americans such as egkelly and President Bush.

Oops! Ryoushi caught me in a synaptic misfire:
When I typed breathable water, I did in fact mean breathable air.
(Then again, breathable water doesn’t sound so bad…It may be all we have left if our air becomes unbreathable.)

It should also be noted that computer hardware manufacturers (formerly one of the biggest offenders in CFC emissions) have saved money in the long run by changing over from cleaning chips in open baths of CFCs to water-based cleaning methods that have proved cheaper and more efficient. I think a lot of environmental concerns are portrayed as anti-business when they are in fact only anti-bad business.

Nice post Kimstu, as always.

Kimstu, you are the deity of cool, calm, and collected factual posts.

One thing that strikes me as curious is: with the most advanced technology in the world, with some of the most abundant resources on the planet, why would the US give up on a task that far smaller and poorer countries are tackling? This is pure abdication, and is not very good for the “strong nation” image of the US at all.

In fact, couldn’t an act like this, against the consensus of the world and affecting the world, be termed a rougue act? Is the USA walking down the path of the Rougue Nation?

I second the coolness nomination for Kimstu…

I’m not eloquent or even particularily informed about much of anything. My comments about Mr. Bush have lately gone from temperate to rabid. I realize that the differences are considered a matter of ideology but eventually that begins to also wear thin. There comes a time when even someone who feels that “whats good for business is good for America” can see the difference between short term goals and long term goals. Please do not tell me either that some of this man’s constituants are not motivated by short term, personal greed.


The Kyoto treaty is an attempt to transfer the US manufacturing sector to the Third World.

China and India, the largest producers of green house gasses, are not bound by the treaty, and show no signs whatsoever of abiding by it.

Thus the US signs up, cripples its economy trying to essentially eliminate all CO2 emissions, and the Chinese work overtime trying to make money by making up the difference.

The only reason the Europeans are condemning the US for not signing up is that they can get away with it. The US is an easy target, and they can score points with the media by pretending the US is the only barricade in the road to a perfect world. If the US had signed up, they would have done nothing to try to abide by it, and would be screaming for economic subsidies and technology transfers from the US to assist them in doing what they had no intention of doing in the first place.