Washington, D.C. --U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., will travel to a global climate change conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina this week to remind delegations from more than 150 countries that the United States Senate will not ratify a global warming treaty that exports U.S. jobs and puts incredible financial burdens on the country.
The gathering in Buenos Aires is an attempt to work out glitches and reach further agreement stemming from the December 1997 Kyoto, Japan United Nations global warming conference. The Clinton Administration is pushing an agreement made in Kyoto committing the U.S. to reduce emission of "greenhouse gases" such as carbon dioxide to 7 percent below 1990 levels by the year 2012. The matter has not been brought before the Senate for ratification, which is required for United States commitment.
"We are spending a lot of time debating the details of a treaty that is fundamentally flawed," said Enzi. "If something is not worth doing, it sure isn't worth doing well."
One of Enzi's objectives in Buenos Aires will be to let other countries know that the views of the Clinton Administration are not shared by the Senate.
"I want the nations participating in this conference to understand that President Clinton is not the final authority in this matter. Our country is not unified on this issue," said Enzi. "Well before Kyoto, my colleagues and I passed the Byrd-Hagel resolution 95-0, which said the Senate would not approve an agreement that jeopardizes the national interest or fails to include developing nations. The administration ignored it and agreed to pursue a treaty which fails on both counts. Other countries at the table need to know that no matter what President Clinton signs or promises, the Senate will not ratify any agreement that encourages companies to take their jobs overseas to countries that are not bound by the same terms as the United States."
Enzi, who attended the Kyoto conference , has been an outspoken opponent of the treaty. He points to the administration's own Energy Information Administration study which concludes that we all would be paying substantially more for gasoline, electricity and other energy sources due to the treaty. The report puts the increased cost due to the agreement at as much as a $2,100 per family annually. Private studies put the increase even higher. But before sending negotiators to Kyoto, the administration claimed increased costs for families would be $110 or less each year.
Wyoming's coal industry would be particularly hard hit by the treaty, with estimates of job loss ranging between 5,000-10,000.
Most countries have refused to sign the treaty, including island nations that will supposedly be covered by water if global warming continues. Two of the countries that did not sign the agreement, China and India, are expected to be the world's leading emitters of "greenhouse gas" in the near future.
"This treaty would do little to decrease carbon emissions. Not everyone is participating and if we want to reduce carbon emissions on our own we don't need a treaty that binds us to someone else's terms," said Enzi.
The debate on the existence, causes and consequences of global warming is far from over, but Enzi said even if we determine the need for a treaty to reduce "greenhouse gas" it doesn't make sense to sign an agreement that will have little effect on the total emissions, and one "where we pay the rest of the world to require us to reduce emissions and take our jobs."
Enzi will join the meeting Wednesday and return Saturday. Four other senators were selected by Senate leadership to attend the conference.