In Kyoto, Japan, delegates from more than 150 nations gathered to set new, international guidelines for reducing the so-called "greenhouse" gases. As one might imagine, the villain in the eyes of the participants were the "greedy Americans," and as such we will bear the brunt of the treaty's wrath, while communist China and the world's other oppressive regimes can pollute all they want. Those on the radical environmental fringe, who organized this conference, have been using questionable "science" to raise the fear that some environmental collapse is just around the corner unless immediate, radical action is taken.
We've only been able to accurately study the levels of atmospheric gases for some 25 years. To definitively claim today's weather patterns are the result of naturally-occurring cycles, or part of a long chain of natural events, or something man alone is creating, is unsound simply because more data is needed. In the respectable scientific community, there is considerable debate over how to interpret the global climate data. Therefore, urgings for radical action based on claims that the earth is about to boil are wrong-headed. In fact, all available evidence points to the contrary, that the temperatures are getting cooler, on average.
To be fair, many in the environmental movement are honestly concerned about man's impact on our land, air and water, and are sincere in wanting only to do what is right. At a basic level, we all should be concerned about those things. But sadly many in the movement are more guided by a complete, unabashed hatred of free-markets, capitalism and the American way of life, as well as a complete disregard for the well-being of their fellow man.
Using the shrill scare-line of impending natural disaster, the world's opponents to liberty have become the world's radical environmentalists… And the leaders of the international environmental movement. So while science is at best uncertain about "evidence" for eminent global environmental disaster, the radical fringe has not let facts stand in their way. And so we have the Kyoto treaty as a result; after all, no political leader wants to be seen as "anti-clean air," no matter what the science says about the provability of the environmentalists' claims.
Under the terms of this treaty, the US would be required to make big cuts in emissions over the next 15 years, while Communist China – the world's biggest polluter – is not required to do a thing, nor are the hundreds of other polluting Third-World nations.
This treaty will wreck havoc on the US economy if it becomes law. This will force many industries to close their doors here and move to China (or a similar nation) to escape the new regulations, throwing thousands of Americans out of work. Further, limiting the use of coal, gas and related sources will increase energy prices not only for businesses, but the individual consumer as well. So not only will many families be tossed into unemployment lines by these environmental radicals, but many more people will face a reduced standard of living just to heat their homes.
Also suffering under this treaty will be the sovereignty of the US and the agriculture industry. Under the still-sketchy terms of the treaty, the US will cede some control over the day-to-day policy and regulations of the American rice growers and cattle ranchers to United Nations bureaucrats. Why rice and cattle? Because rice paddies and livestock produce methane gas, which the radical environmentalists claim will destroy the planet. I hope this is not lost on anyone; the biggest threat to the planet apparently are not man-made chemicals, but rice and cows.
Further, under terms of the treaty, military action would have to be significantly curtailed. While I am a staunch opponent of policing the world, it is unreasonable that the US government would be prevented from moving troops because of the terms of an "environmental" treaty. Of course, the treaty does exempt military maneuvers which are officially sanctioned by the UN high command.
Perhaps the bottom-line of this treaty is not that polluting is bad, or that we are facing a massive environmental threat. The bottom-line, apparently, is that Americans are bad, and that the notions of free-markets, individual liberty and capitalism are a threat to the radical agenda of the international liberal-left. The treaty makes it clear that anyone can pollute, as long as they are an oppressive regime, a communist dictatorship, or have the approval of the international bureaucrats, though perhaps that is redundant.
Providing for a clean environment is a noble and laudable goal, but this treaty is not about protecting natural resources. This treaty is bad science, bad economics and bad domestic policy. This treaty is nothing more than anti-Americanism masquerading as environmentalism, and it must be stopped.
Ron Paul represents the 14th District of Texas. His office may be contacted at 203 Cannon, Washington, DC 20515.