Senator calls for Kyoto Treaty to be scrapped

The Chairman of the US Global Climate Change Task Force last week said the Kyoto Protocol would not be ratified by the US Senate and that the best option for dealing with climate change is to abandon the agreement and start again, basing future plans on "sound science."

Presenting his “Report from Buenos Aires” to the Economic Strategy Institute in Washington, Chuck Hagel said, “The fact is the Kyoto Protocol … is not ratifiable in the United States Senate. We ought to be focusing on something that benefits mankind, and the only way you do that is scrap this Kyoto Protocol,… and start anew…and work together on actions that work off of sound science.”

Hagel, the Republican senator for Nebraska, pointed to the fact that last year all 95 US senators had voted for the Byrd-Hagel resolution. This states that the US Senate will not ratify the Kyoto protocol unless it complies with two provisions: that all nations must assume responsibility for global warming and that it must do no economic harm to the United States. There must be a two-thirds majority in the Senate in order to ratify a treaty.

Despite signing the treaty at the UN in early November, President Clinton has yet to submit the agreement to the Senate.

Senator Hagel attacked the fact that after a year of campaigning, only two developing countries, Argentina and Kazakhstan, had agreed to make reduction in CO2 emissions.

The reason for this reluctance, said Hagel, is that the Kyoto Protocol will inhibit economic growth in both developed and developing countries. Hagel also cited the fact that some Gulf states have called for compensation for loss of income should oil consumption fall as a result of the treaty, and said that the US would have to pay this.

Hagel went on to express doubt about the true cause of global warming: “I am one who believes that clear, sound science is not even close to being there, as to the warming of the earth’s surface. It may prove out in ten years or twenty years or whatever it is, that CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions in fact do heat up the world. It may be, but let’s don’t be afraid of it.

“[If] you want to see some catastrophe in the world, you start pulling back productivity and growth and allowing the people of the nations, especially the developing nations, not to grow and fulfil their promise and potential, starvation, disease, conflict, that is a prescription for all of the above.”

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