Argument: Kyoto Protocol wrongly exempts heavy-emitting developing nations

Issue Report: Kyoto Protocol


John McCain, US Senator (R-AZ), voted Yes on “S.RES.98” on July 25, 1997: – “Expressing the sense of the Senate regarding the conditions for the United States becoming a signatory to any international agreement on greenhouse gas emissions under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change…

(1) the United States should not be a signatory to any protocol to, or other agreement regarding, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change of 1992, at negotiations in Kyoto in December 1997, or thereafter, which would–

(A) mandate new commitments to limit or reduce greenhouse gas emissions for the Annex I Parties, unless the protocol or other agreement also mandates new specific scheduled commitments to limit or reduce greenhouse gas emissions for Developing Country Parties within the same compliance period,[1]

Bob Barr, former US House Representative (R-GA), stated in an interview on CNN’s Glenn Beck Program. – “Global warming is a myth, but yet it’s being used by the environmental folks and by the internationalists. A lot of the pressure is coming from the United Nations and other countries, some of which, like China of course, are pushing the Kyoto Protocol. Why? Because they are exempt, it’s going to saddle us…”[2]

Rudy Giuliani, former Mayor of New York City, stated in a Mar. 26, 2007 article titled “Interview with Rudy Giuliani” in a Kudlow & Company column on – “Whatever your scientific conclusion about global warming, whether it’s manmade or it isn’t or whatever, the reality is that if you don’t have–if you don’t have restrictions on China, if you don’t have restrictions on India, our contribution, ultimately, is going to be minor. We could put all these restrictions on ourselves and have just as much arguable global warming if China, India, some of these other countries that are going to be contributing a lot more to this don’t become part of some kind of system to create alternatives.”[3]

Andrey Illarionov – “The majority of humankind does not accept this system, despite claims of worldwide support. Even with Russia’s ratification, 75% of the world’s CO2 is emitted by, 68% of the world’s GDP is produced in, and 89% of the world’s population live in countries that are not handcuffed by Kyoto’s restrictions. Like Fascism and Communism, Kyotoism is an attack on basic human freedoms behind a smokescreen of propaganda. Like those ideologies of human hatred, it will be exposed and defeated.”[4]

US President George Bush said in 2001 that he objected to the Kyoto Protocol because it, “exempts 80 percent of the world…from compliance.”[5]

Charli E. Coon. “Why President Bush Is Right to Abandon the Kyoto Protocol.” Heritage Foundation. May 11, 2001. – Exempts Developing Countries. The Protocol excludes developing countries from binding emissions reductions. Included among its category of developing countries are China, Russia, India, and Brazil.

Exempts Developing Nations. The Protocol exempts developing countries such as China, India, and Brazil from its binding emissions reductions. 36 Because of population increases, economic expansion, and increasing reliance on commercial fuels, however, developing nations will emit more greenhouse gases within 15 years than will the major industrialized countries. 37 More recent data from the Energy Information Administration of the U.S. Department of Energy predict that by 2020, total carbon dioxide emissions by the developing countries will significantly surpass those of industrialized countries. 38 (See Chart 1.) Moreover, world coal use will grow by 30 percent between 1999 and 2020, with China and India alone accounting for 90 percent of that increase. 39

Since greenhouse gases are not stationary, failing to include developing countries in the reduction goals will negate any reductions that industrialized countries could achieve. 40 In fact, global emissions would increase, as energy-intensive production would transfer from developed to undeveloped countries where energy use is less efficient but less costly. 41 Exempting developing countries from binding emission targets will create a competitive imbalance between the industrial and developing nations. 42

If the goal of the Kyoto Protocol is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions collectively because of the alleged risk of global warming, then developing countries must be subject to the Protocol’s restrictions. Exempting them makes it unlikely that the Protocol will have any permanent effect on greenhouse gas emissions.

Sterling Burnett. “Was U.S. wise to reject Kyoto treaty on climate change?”. National Center for Policy Analysis. 1 May 2005 – If every country party to the treaty met their greenhouse gas targets, the Earth will be a negligible 0.07 degrees Celsius and 0.19 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than it would be absent Kyoto.

This is because swiftly developing powerhouses like China and India are not obligated to cut their emissions, even though they produce nearly half of all current greenhouse gas emissions and are predicted to produce as much as 85 percent of the future increase. Thus, if developed countries stopped all their greenhouse gas emissions, levels would still increase.

Supporting videos

“Glenn Beck: The Truth of the Kyoto Protocol”. Posted on YouTube. September 21, 2007 – Makes the case for the US rejection of the treaty, largely on the point that it does not adequately hold industrializing nations to account.