‘Global’ Global Warming Treaty is a Bad Idea

Nicolas Loris /

As countries from all over the world reconvene in frigid Posnan, Poland for the second week of United Nations climate change discussions, the potential for a global pact to reduce greenhouse gas emissions appears to be fading, much like global warming hysteria itself. Reuters reports,

A year ago, 190 nations signed up for a two-year push to agree a comprehensive climate treaty at talks in Copenhagen in late 2009. But negotiators and analysts attending preparatory Dec. 1-12 talks in Poznan say that looks out of reach.”

A new global pact to combat climate change would replace the failed Kyoto Protocol, a treaty agreed upon by much of Western Europe, Canada and Japan in 1997 to set carbon reduction goals for the years 2008 to 2012. The U.S. chose not to partake in Kyoto and as Heritage analyst Ben Lieberman writes, the U.S. chose wisely:

For all their rhetoric, the European nations are well off track of Kyoto’s requirement that emissions be 8-percent below 1990 levels starting in 2008. Official European emissions data shows that nearly every one of these countries has higher carbon-dioxide emissions today than when the treaty was signed in 1997, and the emissions increases show no signs of leveling off. The same is true of Canada, Japan, and other major non-European signatories. In fact, most of these countries are seeing their emissions rising faster than those in the U.S.”

Today, Wisconsin Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Menomonee Falls), issued his statement at UN Climate Change Conference in Poland:

The United States is often asked for leadership on climate change. Leadership involves telling people what they don’t want to hear. Reaching mandatory emissions caps that exclude some of the world’s largest emitters won’t stop global warming. Reductions across developed nations stand to be completely offset by inefficient growth and deforestation in the developing world. That fatal flaw is why neither President Clinton nor Bush submitted the treaty to the U.S. Senate for ratification. The Senate had warned President Clinton on a 95-to-0 vote not to negotiate a treaty without global participation.

[W]ith the world and the U.S. economies in recession, it is critical that we do not cause further erosion of U.S. jobs or the economy. Analysis of recent legislation by several institutions clearly shows that the “cap-and-tax” approach will have an enormous impact on job growth and our GDP. I call this approach “cap and tax” because that is what it is—a tax on carbon. The emissions trading system is nothing more than a complex scheme to disguise what is ultimately a transfer of wealth from the private to the public sector—in other words, a tax.”

The lack of progress being made in Poland is irritating members of the environmentalist movement. Stephanie Tunmore of Greenpeace said, “It’s frustrating. They haven’t made any progress in the last week.”

Maybe it’s a good thing that world doesn’t rush to judgment to enact a costly treaty that would be extremely difficult to comply and would be a step backwards for developing countries. In fact, India has already stated that they will not accept any emission reduction limits. If China’s not on board, forget about it. The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis calculated the costs of global warming legislation in the U.S. alone. The results: The cumulative GDP losses for 2010 to 2029 approach $7 trillion. Single-year losses exceed $600 billion in 2029, more than $5,000 per household.

Whether we’re in a recessionary environment or not, global warming legislation and global treaties to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are bad ideas. The best action for these countries to take is inaction.