Congress Approves Bar on Implementing Kyoto Pact: Study Shows Global-Warming Treaty Would Chill Economy

Article excerpt

Congress approved a bill barring President Clinton from carrying out the global-warming treaty, as the government released an authoritative study yesterday showing the pact could double some energy prices for Americans.

The legislation was included in a bill funding the Environmental Protection Agency that the Senate sent to the White House Thursday night. It prohibits the president from using his executive authority to carry out any terms of the treaty - which was drafted in Kyoto, Japan, last year - until the Senate ratifies it.

The treaty is believed to have little chance of passing the Senate, in large part because of fears that it would drive up energy prices and cost millions of energy-related jobs while exempting less-developed countries from its mandatory cuts in energy use and fossil-fuel emissions.

Those fears were largely borne out in an economic analysis released yesterday by the Energy Information Administration, a statistical agency that touts itself as being independent from the administration. Its forecasts are widely respected in Congress and by many scientists.

The agency's analysis dramatically undercuts the White House's assertion that the treaty would have a mild impact on Americans. It projects that average home electricity prices would nearly double if the United States had to cut emissions levels to 7 percent below 1990 levels, the target required by the treaty, without the benefit of an international emissions-trading system advocated by the administration.

The study also predicts that gas prices at the pump would jump by 25 to 50 percent above the current average price of $1.25 a gallon by 2010.

"The Kyoto treaty imposes very heavy burdens on the United States," said Sen. John Ashcroft, who helped ensure that the funding bill contained the House's strong language barring action on the treaty.

In addition to raising energy prices for Americans, the treaty would cost 2.4 million jobs in energy-intensive industries, the Missouri Republican said. Most of those jobs, he said, would be "exported" to Third World countries that are not required to comply with the treaty.

"There is absolutely no chance the Senate would approve the extreme terms accepted by the administration" in international negotiations over the treaty, he said. …