Europe and Kyoto

Those Europeans: always so advanced, always on the cutting edge of everything.

Take the Kyoto Protocol, for example. It is, they think, the perfect manifestation of international action to combat that worrisome problem of global warming. President Bush’s rejection of Kyoto, according to our European brothers and sisters, was narrow, provincial, and rooted in a certain cultural (and typically American) lowbrow sensibility. “Rejecting Kyoto shows an ignorance of the fundamental environmental values which European people give a lot of attention,” said Jurgen Lefevere, programming director for the Europe-based Foundation for International Environmental Law and Development. President Bush instead opted for voluntary approaches, but alas: “We’ve passed this stage years ago,” Lefevere quipped. “We’re ready to take the next step, and that next step was taken in the Kyoto Protocol. Bush is ignoring history and he’s ignoring the general opinion of most of the planet.”

FACT: Those Europeans: always haughty, always wrong.

As President Bush rightly understood, Kyoto is unrealistic, provides no environmental benefits, and is economically destructive. Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain can’t seem to meet their Kyoto targets. As the Wall Street Journal reported last week, “For the second straight year, Europe’s emissions of six greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, have risen. Most of the 15 nations are falling farther behind in their efforts to cut emissions and meet their combined Kyoto commitment to reduce emissions 8% below 1990 levels by the end of the decade. Based on current trends, the European Environment Agency predicts emissions will come down only by 4.7% by the time the targets become binding from 2008 to 2012.”