Blair Takes Heat for Global Warming Remarks
a political leader speaks the truth about the Kyoto global-warming
treaty, the chattering classes treat him as if he were that upstart
kid who said the emperor has no clothes. So pundits and politicians
have derided British Prime Minister Tony Blair for saying he had
been "changing his thinking" about the global-warming pact.
On the first
day of the Clinton Global Initiative in New York, a panel chaired
by former President Bill Clinton held earlier this month, Blair,
a longtime supporter of the global-warming pact, said of Kyoto:
"We have got to start from brutal honesty about the politics of
how we deal with it. The truth is, no country is going to cut
its growth or consumption substantially in light of a long-term
environmental problem. What countries are prepared to do is to
try to work together cooperatively to deal with this problem in
a way that allows us to develop the science and technology in
a beneficial way." Blair also said he didn't think world leaders
would "start negotiating another major treaty like Kyoto."
is that the savvy Blair didn't come to his senses sooner about
Kyoto. A British official, talking without attribution, as British
officials do, told me Blair's "remarks were taken out of context,
the British government remains firmly committed to the Kyoto protocol.
The prime minister has consistently said we need to go beyond
Kyoto." Europeans have been pushing a top-down regulatory approach.
President Bush says science can come to the rescue. Blair prefers
to walk in both worlds.
remarks have been over-hyped, it's because they are on the money.
Fact: Britain produces more carbon dioxide now than when Blair
entered No. 10 Downing Street. The Brits are far more energy-conscious
than gas-guzzling Americans. How? Brits are more likely to use
public transit, London charges a congestion tax for cars in the
downtown, there has been a national effort to eschew the use of
coal -- and still the United Kingdom's greenhouse gases are up.
That's what happens in a strong economy.
counters that, even though greenhouse gas emissions have increased,
the United Kingdom is "on track" to meet its Kyoto goal of reducing
emissions some 12.5 percent below 1990 levels by 2012. (When the
treaty was negotiated, the United Kingdom's emissions measured
at 5 percent below 1990 levels.) Meanwhile, it is clear that all
but a handful of countries in Kyoto-treaty-loving Europe, which
pledged a continental reduction of 8 percent below 1990 emissions,
won't meet their Kyoto goals.
brutal, honest fact about Kyoto: Before then-Vice President Al
Gore left for the global-warming conference in 1997, the Senate
told the Clinton administration, via a 95-0 vote, not to agree
to a treaty that exempted developing nations. Gore ignored the
Senate, which ultimately would have to ratify the treaty. No wonder
then that Clinton, who did not take the opportunity last week
to disagree with Blair, never asked the Senate to vote on Kyoto
ratification while he was in office.
Clinton stayed mum. He said he supported Kyoto, which would have
made America reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 7 percent
below 1990 levels. Lo and behold, emissions were 14 percent higher
than the 1990 level when Clinton left office.
the left likes to fault Bush on Kyoto, even 2004 Democratic presidential
candidate John Kerry said, if elected, he would not ask the Senate
to ratify Kyoto.
be noted that Kerry was one of the 95 senators who voted no before
Gore left for the Kyoto conference. And be it noted that there
are those who criticize Bush for not giving lip service to Kyoto,
yet drive big SUVs. I do not write this to brand them as hypocrites
-- but to point out that if the folks who believe global warming
is a severe threat to the planet don't ride the bus, why would
The New York Times reported that polar icecaps have shrunk
to their smallest size in a century (not so very long, geologically
speaking), and some scientists posit human-induced global-warming
must be a factor. But wait. The Houston Chronicle reported
this month that NASA has observed that polar icecaps are shrinking
-- on Mars.
blame SUVs for polar melting on Mars. The enviros say that scientists
are on their side. That's easy to say, as the left ignores scientists
who aren't. The fact is, this is a highly political issue, and
even scientists who want to go strictly by the data get sucked
into the political vortex. Pro or con, they can't help but become
So, see what
happened when Blair finally got real on Kyoto? He spoke the truth
-- not particularly forcefully, I might add -- and Our Betters
in Europe dismissed him as Dubya's lapdog. After all, how dare
he not fawn over the beautiful vestments on the emperor's nude
2005 Creators Syndicate