The Kyoto Energy Rationing Regime

“Treaties are ignored or voided which serve to bind people permanently to conditions which they find abhorrent, the result of which they could not have foreseen when they affixed their signatures; neither the acts of others of a dead past, or the agreements of discredited leaders will ever bind a people free to choose when disaster is the alternative. Further, no agreement imposed by force can be perpetually effective„Ÿunless the relative strength of the adversaries remains unchanged through­out the succeeding years. The conclusion can safely be defended that no international agreement will remain in effect, except by force or the threat to use force, unless the terms of the agree­ment remain mutually beneficial to its signatories.”

The Officers’ Guide 5th ed., U.S. Army, 1941

A. Enforcement

One big obstacle in the ratification of Kyoto is the “compliance” provisions. “Enforcement” would be a better term because indubitably some kind of “force” will have to be employed if the authorities expect people to adhere to an “agreement” whereby they are impoverished and disenfranchised.

If American soccer moms drive too many SUVs, will the U.N. bureaucrats from distant nations treat the U.S. ambassador with disrespect or pound their shoes on the table? Who cares? Will blue-helmeted troops who speak no English parachute into American cities and seize the SUVs? Not likely, not anytime soon. But that doesn’t mean that soccer moms will be safe.

These days, oppression is generally carried out by suited functionaries in government offices (or those of their quasi-private collaborators) who use tools like the threads that effectively tied Gulliver to the ground in the land of Lilliput. If those don’t work, noncompliant enterprises could be deprived of a license to operate; their assets could be frozen or confiscated to pay fines; and their executives could be threatened with prison terms. (That is no idle threat. Law-abiding Americans have gone to prison for trivial, unintended environmental transgressions.) It would probably not be necessary to attack soccer moms directly. Soccer moms wouldn’t drive SUVs if there were none to be bought or if the price were prohibitive.

Threat of force usually works quite well, and one must always remember that governments have tremendous resources, including firepower, to carry out the threat. Americans need to know just what the worst-case outcome could be. Who will be the lawmaker, prosecutor, judge, and jury? What punishments will they be able to impose? On whom and for what offenses? What is the recourse if the regime is tyrannical?

Questions about the enforcement regime should come first, not last. They need to be answered, not postponed.

B. The Goal

For public consumption, the goal is to save the Planet from the worst-case scenario of human-caused global warming through implementation of a sensible, “no-regrets” insurance policy. Various cost benefits are hypothesized (or conjured up): supposedly improved efficiency; “savings” from prevention of the spread of tropical diseases, flooding, storms, and other predicted disasters; and benign substitute technologies that will suddenly blossom (though they haven’t so far despite years of subsidies).

The operational goal is to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases„Ÿat least in the United States and other developed countries. Generally, the goal is expressed in terms of a single-digit percentage below 1990 levels. However, that amounts to cutting emissions one-third below what they otherwise would be. And that is the equivalent of shutting down all of our coal, oil, and natural-gas power plants. Every one of them.

The U.S. objected that industry in 80% of the world, including developing giants like India and China, could continue to emit carbon dioxide without limits„Ÿas these nations must indeed do if they are to lift their populations from poverty.

The real unstated goal is a matter for conjecture, but it may be surmised with high probability from consideration of the method and the costs, particularly in the light of history.

Global energy rationing has been proposed before. First, because we were “running out of fuel.” Then because of an impending ice age. And now because of global warming. Three very different problems: all with the same “solution.” (See Access to Energy, October 1997; 26-year archive, with video of Dr. Robinson’s global warming lecture, available for $95 from AtE, PO Box 1250, Cave Junction, OR 97523.) The adverse “side effects”„Ÿdestruction of the U.S. economy and of national sovereignty, and massive depopulation of the globe„Ÿcould actually be the covert objective.

C. The Method

Turning off all electricity generated from carbon-containing fuels„Ÿabout 80% of electricity produced in the U.S.„Ÿis obviously not possible short of apocalyptic disaster, with the death of tens of millions of people. The alternatives of taking all cars off the road, or shutting down all manufacturing, are equally impractical.

The process of compliance would be gradual and would involve various ways of mitigating (or transferring) the damage„Ÿat a price. Elaborate bureaucratic schemes have been devised, such as trade in “emissions rights.” The global regulatory agency called the “Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) would “allow” the U.S. to receive credits we could “count against” our mandatory emission-reduction targets by implementing projects to help reduce emissions in developing countries. Interestingly, building nuclear power plants, which would achieve enormous emissions reductions, wouldn’t count!

Another method of accumulating “certified emission reductions” (CERs)„Ÿfor Japan, Canada, and Russia, under terms negotiated in Bonn this July„Ÿwould be to sit back and watch forests grow. Carbon dioxide is gobbled up by trees. Or excess CERs could be sold. The CERs due to Russia’s trees might bring their economy $10 billion per year. What a wealth transfer scheme!

Note that negotiations broke down in The Hague in November, 2000, over the U.S. insistence that the CO2 sink of its forests be counted against its emissions reduction targets. Arguably, the U.S. emits NO net CO2, whereas paved-over Europe is overwhelmingly a net emitter (James Glassman, Wall Street Journal, May 11, 2001).

Although most attention has been paid to CO2, it is not the only greenhouse gas. Very complicated formulas have been suggested for “trade-offs” among various gases, including methane and nitrous oxide. The formulas for calculating the “global warming potential” or GWP„Ÿand the amount “one should be willing to pay for emitting an additional unit of each gas”„Ÿmay look very scientific. But even the scientists advocating this approach admit that “we lack at present the necessary knowledge to specify the shapes of the damage functions and to assign values to many categories of impacts. We have therefore used an approach in which the ceiling is intended to reflect a political judgment as to what constitutes a prudent limit” (Manne AS, Richels RG, Nature 2001;410:675-677, emphasis added).

The process of calculating targets and trade-offs would be a full employment program for an army of diplomats, lobbyists, lawyers, politicians, regulators, tax collectors, and “experts.” Such persons have a huge investment in global warming.

The methodology will be political science by necessity. The carbon cycle, as well as the effects of greenhouse gases on climate, is poorly understood. The most basic assumptions are known to be in error. For example, global warmers frequently assert that CO2 has a long residence time in the atmosphere.

Bruce Babbitt, hiking through Glacier National Park, mournfully asserted that the carbon dioxide spewed forth from Charles Dickens’s London still hovered above (Las Vegas-Review J 11/6/97). A residence time of 50 to 200 years is assumed in calculating GWPs (Manne and Richels, op cit.) Yet measurements of C-14 from atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons shows that half the added CO2 is gone in less than 10 years (so less than 1/32 is left after 50 years).

In summary, the method consists of uncertainties and concessions to special interests piled on top of errors.

D. The Outcome

The climate model predicts that the effect of the Kyoto Protocol would be to postpone a temperature rise of 2 degrees Centigrade from 2094 to 2100 (London Times 6/11/01). To stabilize atmospheric greenhouse gas levels would require an emission reduction of 60% to 80% worldwide. Scientists who profess adherence to the catastrophic global warming theory say it would take thirty Kyoto protocols to stop warming due to human carbon dioxide emissions (assuming that their model is correct).

The effect on the economy, on the other hand, would be devastating. Trillions of dollars are invested in existing transportation, energy, and manufacturing infrastructure. Kyoto would cause an annual loss of from $100 billion to $400 billion in U.S. productivity by 2010 (see Heritage Backgrounder #1437, May 11, 2001, www.heritage.org/library/backgrounder/bg1437.html).

Bringing the U.S. economy to its knees might be one objective of global warmers, as Jay Lehr suggests (Envionment & Climate News June 2001). Socialist European economies cannot compete with the freer economy of the U.S. However, loss of U.S. productivity and markets cannot be other than harmful to the people of the world in the long run.

The political consequences of politicized global warming science would be even more profound. The effect of subjugating the U.S. government to global bureaucrats has been brilliantly described by Phyllis Schlafly (see www.eagleforum.org).

As Brian Mannix of the Manufacturers Alliance explains in Environment & Climate News, June 2001: “If the carbon cartel succeeds, it will cause direct economic damage on an unprecedented scale. More frightening, however, is the collateral damage it would inflict on our political institutions. It would corrupt the world’s governments; set them in opposition to consumers and free trade; seduce them into converting market economies into planned economies; and divert vast resources from productive uses to political uses.”

E. Additional Reading

The successful implementation of Kyoto would require massive indoctrination to turn American citizens into the subjects or serfs of global “governance”„Ÿas indeed is well underway in U.S. public schools. One fictional near-future scenario of the election of radical environmentalists is the novel Moonshine by Jane Orient and Linda Wright (see http://web.archive.org/web/20020120002321/http://janeorient.com/ a free copy of Part I can be downloaded from http://web.archive.org/web/20020613145430/http://www.janeorient.com/thanks.htm).

“Key Treaty Provisions and Consequences”: Civil Defense Perspectives January 1998, p. 2; “Viel Wirbel in Bonn”: Civil Defense Perspectives November 1999; “Kyoto Preview”: Civil Defense Perspectives January 2001. All can be downloaded from www.oism.org/cdp. (If you wish to be added to the mailing list to receive this bimonthly newsletter, send a written request to Dr. Orient at 1601 N. Tucson Blvd. Suite 9, Tucson, AZ 85716, or call (520) 325-2689.)