Monday, September 19, 2005


Last week President Clinton's big post-presidency event came and went in New York City. While I still don't like the man, he continues to impress me with his energy and vision to impact the world after his presidency and build upon his strong social capital to create an event and effort that can be characterized as a "clubbier World Economic Forum."

The one of the big new items that MSM has failed to capture again is Tony Blair's final move to pull the plug on the Kyoto Treaty. I can only imagine the uproar in environmental NGOs throughout the globe, but the reality is that such a treaty cannot continued to be supported by the U.K., U.S., and other developed nations.

Tech Central Station's James Pinkerton has a great piece on this:

Kyoto Treaty RIP. That's not the headline in any newspaper this morning emerging from the first day of the Clinton Global Initiative, but it could have been -- and should have been.

Onstage with former president Bill Clinton at a midtown Manhattan hotel ballroom, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said he was going to speak with "brutal honesty" about Kyoto and global warming, and he did. And Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had some blunt talk, too.

Blair, a longtime supporter of the Kyoto treaty, further prefaced his remarks by noting, "My thinking has changed in the past three or four years." So what does he think now? "No country," he declared, "is going to cut its growth." That is, no country is going to allow the Kyoto treaty, or any other such global-warming treaty, to crimp -- some say cripple -- its economy.

Looking ahead to future climate-change negotiations, Blair said of such fast-growing countries as India and China, "They're not going to start negotiating another treaty like Kyoto." India and China, of course, weren't covered by Kyoto in the first place, which was one of the fatal flaws in the treaty. But now Blair is acknowledging the obvious: that after the current Kyoto treaty -- which the US never acceded to -- expires in 2012, there's not going to be another worldwide deal like it.

So what will happen instead? Blair answered: "What countries will do is work together to develop the science and technology….There is no way that we are going to tackle this problem unless we develop the science and technology to do it." Bingo! That's what eco-realists have been saying all along, of course -- that the only feasible way to deal with the issue of greenhouse gases and global warming is through technological breakthroughs, not draconian cutbacks.
And there was some potentially significant news from Condi Rice, who was also onstage all this time, sitting with Clinton and Blair in an Oprah-like format. Speaking of world energy policy for the future, Rice said, "Nuclear power is going to have to be part of the mix." Imagine that -- nuclear power! That's been the Bush administration view all along, of course, but the W. folks haven't gotten very far in resuscitating the industry. Yet if Blair is starting to show realism on Kyoto, he and other leaders around the world will see that nukes have to be part of the energy solution.

Indeed, Rice added, "France generates something like 80 percent of its electricity from nuclear power." That's probably the first time in ages that a Bush administration official has had anything positive to say about France. Rice acknowledged "proliferation risks" from nuclear power, but made it a clear that something had to be done. "In the fast-developing world," she concluded, "we have to find a way to leverage all power [sources]."

For his part, Clinton was his usual self, declaring to Rice, "In general, I agree with you about that" -- without ever saying what he was agreeing with. And the 42nd President gave no reaction to Blair's provocative Kyoto revisionism.

In fact, nobody seems to have reacted to what Blair said. But that's OK. TCS readers have this significant scoop. And as for the rest of the world, it will soon understand that Blair has effectively pulled the plug on Kyoto.
(full article)

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