Sixteen months ago, the Senate voted 95–0 for a resolution declaring that it would not even consider a climate treaty that would cause economic damage or failed to include the world’s developing nations. The Kyoto Protocol requires only the United States, Canada, the European Community and a few others to actually reduce their emissions. China, India, Mexico and just about every up‐and‐coming economic competitor don’t have to do a thing except burn fossil fuel in manufacturing operations, while we export jobs to them. At least Kyoto kills the Asian contagion.
But unless the administration can somehow demonstrate that what it calls “key developing nations” are playing ball, the Senate simply will reject the treaty if it’s ever formally offered. Hence November’s junket to Buenos Aires, for a gathering officially called the Fourth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Clinton and Argentine president Menem have already negotiated the deal. It’s not very novel and it works like this: First, we give them money. Then, we give them technology bought by U.S. taxpayers, like gas turbine electrical generators. In turn, they plant a few trees on Patagonian hillsides that have been so overgrazed as to be useless for raising cattle. Next, Clinton claims a “joint” credit at the United Nations for reducing their emissions with our turbines and soaking up our globally distributed carbon dioxide with the trees they plant. The U.S. suppliers of the turbines and the gas that runs them ask for a subsidy because of their planetary responsibility, as they did in a letter to Clinton last month. Hardly novel.