Nothing of substance will come from the two-week UN climate summit taking place in Copenhagen which President Obama will attend at the end of next week. Nonetheless, this will not stop the relentless political machine pressing for growth-sapping measures. This was the conclusion of a roundtable discussion today hosted by The Heritage Foundation at the National Press Club in Washington D.C.
Heritage Foundation Senior European policy analyst Sally McNamara moderated a panel of experts which surmised that no U.S. global warming bill is possible this year. This lowers the prospect of a major new international agreement being signed at Copenhagen as a successor to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.
Ben Lieberman, Senior Policy Analyst for energy and the environment at The Heritage Foundation was adamant that the American people will not stomach increased regulation. He argued that the United States was right to stay out of Kyoto because it would have substantially damaged the U.S. economy. According to the Energy Information Administration, the cost of U.S. compliance with Kyoto would reach nearly $400 billion. This would place an undue and unaffordable burden on hard-working American families. Furthermore, such an international treaty would have grave implications for American sovereignty since the international treaty would become U.S. law.
Myron Ebell, Director of Energy and Global Warming policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute analyzed the Copenhagen climate change talks from the European perspective and concluded: “The EU, quite clearly [they] want to be seen as a world power.” He argued that in the absence of real military power, the EU was using these negotiations to establish itself on the world stage, and seek relevancy through an international global warming cap-and-tax regime. He further argued that their policies were more political than scientific considering the abject failure of the Kyoto Protocol to achieve its desired objectives.
Dr. Derek Scissors, Research Fellow for Asia Economic Policy at The Heritage Foundation, stated that futility of the Copenhagen summit will be solidified in the lack of participation by China: China uses over 40 percent of the world’s coal and maintains 20 percent of the world’s population. Clearly, it is the world’s leader on carbon emissions, but Beijing is equally determined not to reduce its carbon emissions at the cost of economic development.