Climate Agreement Will Hit Your Pocketbook: By Restricting Energy Use, This Treaty Could Sap the Life Blood out of a Currently Strong Economy

Consumers' Research Magazine, February 1998 | Go to article overview

Climate Agreement Will Hit Your Pocketbook: By Restricting Energy Use, This Treaty Could Sap the Life Blood out of a Currently Strong Economy


Late last year in Kyoto, Japan,

U.S. negotiators, at the prodding

of Vice President Al Gore, agreed

to an international treaty in an

attempt to prevent the unproven

problem of global warming. The

agreement contains almost none

of the provisions the Clinton

Administration originally proposed

and represents a major

threat to the U.S. economy and

American consumers.

After several years of negotiations

and countless attacks on

their position, U.S representatives

in Kyoto caved in to European

pressure on nearly every

issue in the debate. At the start

of the conference the United

States had requested that developing

countries be included, that

nations with forests that absorb

carbon dioxide be given credit for

removing it from the atmosphere,

and suggested that less stringent

restrictions be placed on carbon

dioxide emissions. U.S. negotiators

had also asked for the military

to be given exemptions in

order to ensure that our national

defense would not be jeopardized.

In Kyoto, each of these

requests was rebuffed by international

bureaucrats, consisting

mainly of environmental ministers.

Instead of holding firm to

provisions that would have

resulted in less harm to the

United States, Vice President

Gore ordered U.S. negotiators

to concede. As a result, the current

agreement requires the

United States to reduce its carbon

dioxide emissions to 7% less

than what they were in 1990 by

the year 2012. Using statistics

from the Department of Energy

that indicate emissions will

increase by nearly

35% during that time

period, the treaty

would require severe

enough restrictions

on America's energy

use to reduce emissions

by about 40%

in just 14 years.

By restricting

energy use, this treaty could sap

the life blood out of a currently

strong economy and place a massive

burden on American consumers.

According to a study by

the economic consulting firm

WEFA, the costs will be steep:

* The price of gasoline at the

pump could increase by 44 cents

per gallon.

Home heating costs may rise

by over 50%.

* The price of electricity could

increase by 48%.

* Jobs would be lost in every

state; especially hard hit would

be manufacturing and export-related

jobs

Further exacerbating the

effects of the treaty is the fact

that the burden will not be

meted out fairly. The costs

would be unrelated to income

or ability to pay and instead

would be determined by factors

such as distance to work and

the energy efficiency of homes,

automobiles, and appliances.

Poor families would be the

hardest hit. Since they spend a

larger percentage of their

income on necessities such as

home heating and electricity

than do higher-income groups,

increases in these costs would

cut into already tight budgets.

Senior citizens who live on

fixed incomes and often have

older, less energy-efficient

homes would find their energy

costs escalating. …

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