September 28, 2000
12:00 AM
WASHINGTON, D.C.– While telling Committee Members that the “Risk of human-induced climate change is a risk we should address responsibly,” Chairman Frank H. Murkowski cautioned that the 1997 Kyoto Protocol doesn’t do anything to address that risk. In a hearing today on global climate change before a joint session of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and the Committee on Foreign Relations, Murkowski posed questions for the Administration as preparations are made for the Sixth Conference of the Parties on Kyoto that takes place November 13-26, 2000 at The Hague, Netherlands. “Is your negotiating position designed to result in a Protocol that the Senate will ratify? If it is not, then what is this Administration’s intent? Shouldn’t we then start the process over–with a focus on global, longer-term strategies to manage the risk of climate change?” The Chairman explained the 1997 Kyoto Protocol established binding limits on the emissions of six greenhouse gases and two types of fluorocarbons for the 38 developed countries and economies in transition. Under the Protocol the United States would be obligated to reduce emissions for the period 2008-2012 by seven percent below 1990 levels. The Chairman said that according to the Energy Information Administration’s economic analysis–“If we were to adopt Kyoto–here is what American consumers could face in the year 2010: ∙ 53 percent higher gasoline prices ∙ 86 percent higher electricity prices ∙ upward pressure on interest rates, and ∙ new inflationary pressures.” Murkowski explained further that the Kyoto Protocol doesn’t do anything to address the risk of climate change. He said it won’t stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations, and in fact, will not reduce global emissions. “And, developing countries get a free ride. The growth in the developing world will overwhelm emissions limits placed on industrialized nations.” Consider that higher energy prices have already sparked fuel protests and supply disruptions throughout Europe and worries here at home. “Why should we further raise energy prices and disrupt our economy for a treaty that is largely ineffective?” The Senate previously provided very clear instruction to U.S. negotiators in the form of the Byrd-Hagel Resolution that passed by a vote of 95-0. That resolution recommended developing countries also take on commitments to limit or reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and said the Protocol must not result in serious harm to the economy. “It is hard to imagine the Senate voting to ratify the Kyoto Protocol or any subsequent agreement if these two conditions are not met,” said the Chairman. ###