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In March 2001 George W. Bush said the United States would not be meeting its commitment to the Kyoto Protocol.  Is he right in doing this?

View the key paragraph of the Kyoto Protocol

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  1. I'd like to point out that meeting the Kyoto commitment was one of G. Bush's election promises. Global Warming or not, he should stick to it. No more lies please.

  2. Surely the US should move on from it's position as top capitalism promoter and switch to "lets make the world better" promoter. How about a bit of long term thinking. Bush is certainly not right.

  3. Never mind the fact that it was an election promise. What is the point of making international agreements if you can just turn around and say you don't feel like complying with them?

  4. It appears that George Bush is going in the opposite direction to Kyoto. His power plan involves building more than a thousand extra power plants over the next 10 years. This can only increase the US's carbon dioxide emissions.

  5. If the US needs more power it has no choice but to build more power plants. It's simple supply and demand.

  6. Demand is exactly the question. Why isn't more emphasis but on efficiency and power saving? How about other forms of power consumption based on renewable sources? And finally, how about other sources of oil that are not in one of the most un-spoilt places in the world; Alaska's National Park?

  7. The problem is that George Bush has stated that he will never do anything to harm the US economy. I think it is about time that the US economy did pay up for all the growth that it has had at the expense of the environment.

  8. Article 11 in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says that no-one can be punished for doing anything that wasn't a crime when they committed it. This should apply to countries too. Emitting carbon dioxide was only first condemned by some scientists in the 1980's. The US, or any country, should not have to pay to clear up any emissions made before them.

  9. I don't imagine that China or any other developing country will forfit their development simply because the US got in first and managed to screw up the environment with their development.

  10. Leaving past emissions aside, the US with 4% of the worlds population emits 25% of all CO2. The US is certainly responsible for the CO2 that it is emitting right now and should certainly do something about it.

  11. The US is a big promoter of globalization and yet it is one of the most nationalistic countries there is. I think it is about time the US grows up and takes on the responsibility of being the richest country in the world.

  12. The problem of CO2 emissions will never be solved while there is still so much money from business in US politics. G. Bush got $24 million from power companies to help run his presidential campaign and everyone knows that companies never give out a single dime unless they are certain that they will receive two back.

  13. The text of the treaty appears incomplete. To me it would be like signing up for a car loan and committing to it before the interest or payments were disclosed.

  14. Hundreds of other countries have signed the treaty. It can't be that bad.

  15. When Bush withdrew from the Kyoto protocol he said he was still committed to the environment and promised to come up with an adequate US response. I have yet to see this response. Has anyone?

  16. The Republicans will allow the destruction of the ecology with the excuse that they are saving the economy. What they are too narrow minded to understand is that all industry, and all economies on Earth are dependant on the ecology. For example, they claim we need better insecticides but these kill birds, fish, cause abnormalities in mammals.. Same goes with CFCs, PCBs, copper discharge to the sea (kills shellfish), carbon dioxide (carbonated rainwater, destroys fresh water habitat and industrial equipment) We have the technology to solve the problems and they are economical. Let's let the scientist, engineers, and technicians solve these issues and get rid of the corporate accountants and politicians!

  17. Bush said that the American economy comes before everything else. Should this really be the case? It appears that Bush would rather America was incredibly rich in a destroyed world, than only very rich in a world that's environmentally viable.

  18. The U.S. Senate (under control of the Democrats and during the Clinton Administration) refused to ratify the Kyoto treaty. Since Kyoto was proposed, very few countries have ratified the treaty. Why does everyone single out Bush for the blame.

  19. Americans are the single biggest polluting people in the world by a huge margin. As U.S. leader Bush should get the most blame. Kyoto won't work without the U.S. but if the U.S. were to ratify Kyoto then I'm sure other countries would too.

  20. There are a lot of faulty arguments here, but the most egregious is comment #8. If countries shouldn't be held responsible for crimes committed before they were declared illegal, how could the allied powers justify disbanding the governments of Nazi Germany and imperial Japan and the subsequent military occupations of those countries? All of their crimes were committed before there was a U.N., let alone a Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

  21. I'm not certain that a UN or a Universal Declaration of Human Rights is needed to know that Nazi Germany and imperial Japan were wrong but it could just be a case of the spoils going to the victor. Anyway the point is in the same way that it is wrong to attack somebody for doing something they didn't know was wrong, the U.S. cannot be attacked for all the Carbon Dioxide it produced before anyone thought there was a problem.

  22. We THINK that excessive CO2 is a major cause of global warming, which we THINK is not a good thing. Does this mean that we should do something, even if that something may be wrong? The Kyoto Protocol is flawed, and therefore SHOULD be rejected. Let's get on to the next step, and come up with a plan to address the issues correctly. George Bush is entirely correct in his stance. Campaign promise? Perhaps he now has better information at his (and our, if we care to pursue it) disposal.

  23. A way to encourage reduced CO2 emissions is to adopt Carbon Trading where each Country, industry and company has a CO2 allowance that it has to operate within. Companies that don't use up all their allowance can sell their unused allowance to companies that need them. Companies that operate outside their allowance get taxed on the excess carbon they emit. Prototypes of this system are currently being trailed in the UK, Australia, and various other countries.

  24. Note that Australia  withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol in June 2002.

  25. The real question is whether or not there is Global Warming in the first place. Is it possible that we're just in a natural warming cycle of the Earth? Can you explain why we had an ice age, and how we got out of the ice age? Did you ever think that the past one hundred years is not a good enough sample of historical temperatures to handcuff our country with the Kyoto treaty, while other countries like China are allowed to pollute all they want? No, it's just about bashing Bush for not signing a treaty that a majority of both Democrats and Republicans find repugnant.

  26. Just because both Democrats and Republicans agree, that doesn't mean it's morally right.

  27. How many countries have ratified the Kyoto Treaty?

  28. As of September 2003, 119 countries have ratified the treaty including all the EU, Japan, India and China. Unfortunately, their combined percentage of global carbon emissions is less than the 55% required for the treaty to come into effect (and be of any use). With the US being selfish, Russia's signature is crucial.

  29. Surely with the US not signing, this is a worst case scenario for everyone else a la the Prisoners Dilemma, when you stay quiet, but your partner confesses. In this case, the rest of the world takes the rap and the US gets off scot free.

  30. I still haven't seen Bush's answer to climate change? He promised one when he withdrew from Kyoto.



Point of Information: 

Kyoto Protocol to The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; Article 3, Paragraph 1:

"The Parties included in Annex I shall, individually or jointly, ensure that their aggregate anthropogenic carbon dioxide equivalent emissions of the greenhouse gases listed in Annex A do not exceed their assigned amounts, calculated pursuant to their quantified emission limitation and reduction commitments inscribed in Annex B and in accordance with the provisions of this Article, with a view to reducing their overall emissions of such gases by at least 5 per cent below 1990 levels in the commitment period 2008 to 2012." [Visit the full protocol

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