The U.S. Refusal to Ratify the Kyoto Treaty
Why the United States Will Not Ratify the Kyoto Treaty
of the biggest problems with the treaty is the fact that it has not been
ratified by the United States, a country that emits 35% of the world’s greenhouse gases according to
the Annex I of the Kyoto Protocol. Although the Kyoto Protocol may be
enforced without the
President William J. Clinton signed the Kyoto Protocol, but did not ratify it, while President G.W. Bush eliminated the signature completely. Clinton believed that a nation-wise approach with a target in mind to reduce greenhouse gases was the best way to deal with human activity-induced climate change issues. However, he was not completely won over by the treaty and Senate refused to sign it without further negotiation. According the Global Climate coalition, "The Clinton administration acknowledges that the protocol is a 'work in progress,' does not meet the requirements set unanimously last year by the Senate for signing the Protocol, and is not ready to be submitted to the Senate for approval."
According to President
Bush, his specific complaints about the Kyoto Treaty include, “a serious
harm to the U.S. economy,” which would cause a “more dramatic shift
from coal to natural gas for electric power generation," (Bush). According to Bush, “Coal generates more than
How the Coal Industry Would Be Affected from Ratification
Carbon dioxide is produced when coal, or other fossil fuels are burned, or combusted. Fossil fuel combustion is a process that most industry in the United States used to produce energy. Fossil fuel combustion accounts for the majority of carbon dioxide emissions by 5000 Tg. So, if American industries were to cut down on fossil fuel combustion, that would mean a sharp decrease in the need for coal. The coal industry would suffer greatly as millions would lose their jobs. Because 51% American electricity is powered by coal, and electricity provides heat, price of heating would skyrocket and so would electricity bills (EPA). President Bush wants greatly to avoid this economic disaster.
Another complaint posed by President Bush is that there is a, “lack of commercially available technologies for removing and storing carbon dioxide,” (Bush).
President Bush states the existence of an “…incomplete state of scientific knowledge of the causes of, and solutions to, global climate change,” (Bush). Bush believes that there is not a concrete and fundamental basis to sign the Kyoto Treaty due to the lack of proof of global warming.
The Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) has been set up to research, record, and analyze findings of global warming. According to the IPCC's document "Principles Governing IPCC Work":
True, there is abundant evidence which leads to the proof of global warming's existence, however for President Bush, findings of the IPCC are not enough to sign an international agreement.