(15 Feb 2005) 442098
US - Reaction to US refusal to join Kyoto Protocol
Varoius - 15 February 2005
As the Kyoto treaty on climate change takes effect on Wednesday, it's thought that the absence of the United States from the agreement will greatly limit its impact. While the 35 participating industrial countries have committed themselves to reducing carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and other compounds to below their levels of 1990, the United States contends that the long-term benefit from the Kyoto treaty won't be worth the immediate economic cost. President Bush agreed in his 2000 campaign to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant but soon afterwards said that its harm had yet to be scientifically established. The Bush administration also maintains that implementing Kyoto would harm the US economy and says the treaty is not part of the future of energy policy.
Myron Ebell, Director of Global Warming Policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute in Washington - a conservative think tank - believes it's a good thing the US stayed out of the Kyoto agreement. "Energy rationing can never work, because the world isn't energy rich, its energy poor," he said. But David Waskow of Friends of the Earth says that by not following the Europeans' route, America may get left behind technologically and he believes this will hurt the country's economy.
On Tuesday, White House spokesman Scott McClellan defended the administration's policies, saying: "We have made an unprecedented commitment to reduce the growth of greenhouse gas emissions in a way that continues to grow our economy".
Meanwhile, the Bush Administration is looking for new sources of oil and natural gas in the unspoiled Alaska National Wildlife Refuge which it hopes will give America energy independence.
Ebell says that if Americans go on an "energy diet", it could mean economic disaster for the United States.
But Waskow of Friends of the Earth suggests that changing current consumer patterns would greatly benefit the economy.
The original aim of the industrialised countries was to cut the emission of greenhouse gases, primarily carbon dioxide, by at least five per cent between 1990 and 2012.
It's thought this will not be achieved by a wide margin, primarily because the United States, the world's largest producer of carbon dioxide, is not participating.
The United States is the single biggest source of greenhouse gases.
Washington, DC - 17 May 2001
1. Close view of protest banner, pull out to protest
Washington, DC - 25 May 2001
2. US President George W. Bush in cabinet meeting
3. Close up of "National Energy Policy" document
4. Bush talking
Washington, DC - 14 February 2005
5. SOUNDBITE: (English) Myron Ebell, Director, Global Warming Policy, Competitive Enterprise Institute:
"First, let me contrast it to the idea behind the Kyoto Protocol which is that we can somehow forestall predicted global warming by cutting our emissions of greenhouse gases, primarily carbon dioxide from burning coal, oil and natural gas. In fact, that kind of energy rationing can never work, because the world isn't energy rich, it's energy poor."
6. David Waskow, Director of International Programmes at Friends of the Earth walking through door
71. SOUNDBITE: (English) David Waskow, Director of International Programmes, Friends of the Earth:
"The Europeans and others who are part of the Kyoto treaty are going to go forward with putting in place new technological solutions to our energy problems. They're going to have high tech windmills, there going to have high tech cars. If we get left behind, it's actually going to harm us economically."
8. White House briefing room with Scott McClellan
9. SOUNDBITE: (English) Scott McClellan, White House Spokesman:
You can license this story through AP Archive: http://www.aparchive.com/metadata/youtube/65ed33b724339b8a4f0b60be5af88a9b
Find out more about AP Archive: http://www.aparchive.com/HowWeWork