Willing to Stop Driving Your Car for Kyoto?

Have you ever wondered what Kyoto would mean in everyday life? Would it restrict your freedom?

We hear claims that Kyoto, or even Kyoto-like policies right here in the U.S., won’t cost very much, that concerns about high costs associated with energy suppression policies are overblown or self-interested industry-driven propaganda. Some maintain that mandatory greenhouse gas reductions would cost just $20 a year for American families (a very dubious assertion).

Officials from the European Union, always eager to tout Kyoto’s manifold virtues, argue–surely with tongue in cheek–that Kyoto would cost just .1 percent of its gross domestic product (with the economies of many EU countries in shambles, what’s another .1 percent of GDP?).

In sum, Kyoto is a modest measure that would only require very modest adjustments. Besides, environmental groups, which decry talk of costs as an “empty threat,” claim, gleefully unaware of the scientific evidence, that addressing global warming would be liberating for humanity, because cutting greenhouse emissions means fewer droughts, floods, and hurricanes.

FACT: Kyoto and similar policies would restrict the choices we make, not just by reducing our income, but also in deciding when and how long to drive a car.

EU Environment Commissioner Margot Wallstrom, famous for saying that Kyoto is “about leveling the playing field for businesses worldwide,” recently attacked car use for undermining international global warming policies. She “warned that the biggest threat to the Kyoto protocol on reducing greenhouse gas emissions was Europe’s increasing dependence on cars,” according to

“We have to reduce car use in cities, otherwise we will not succeed,” Wallstrom said. “The energy efficiency of cars has been improved, but this is countered by traffic growth.”

Cars, she said, are “the most problematic area,” so “we have to be bolder in how we proceed.”