Are there any international policies that we need to follow that helps our environment?



  1. 0 Votes

    Yes. I can name one off the top of my head: the Kyoto Protocols. The international environmental treaty, originally promulgated in 1997, is an agreement by member nations to reduce greenhouse gases by specified targets (on a sliding scale) as compared to 1990 emissions. Below is an interesting map that shows the nations of the world (in green) who have ratified the treaty. At a glance you will notice something very glaring about which nations–er, I mean nation, singular–is colored in red.

    During the administration of George W.  Bush it was quite a common criticism of Bush that he did not submit the treaty to the US Senate for ratification because he was opposed to global warming action, thus thumbing his nose in the face of overwhelming international opinion. In fact the Kyoto Accord was already rejected by the US Senate during Clinton’s administration, by a 95-0 vote in July 1997, which passed a resolution saying the treaty would not be formally considered until changes were made. Clinton did advocate for ultimate adoption of the treaty by the United States, but never submitted the treaty to the US Senate either. Thus, while valid criticisms can be made of Bush’s environmental record, in my view it is not entirely fair to blame Bush alone for the failure of the US to ratify Kyoto, and it is significant that since taking office in 2009 Obama has not made any major steps to bring the US into line with the treaty either.

    Nevertheless, the map is pretty startling. Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Mongolia, and Russia have ratified it. France and Germany ratified it; it’s rare to find a subject on which the French and Germans agree. Israel and Iran ratified it; it’s even rarer to find a subject on which the Israelis and the Iranians find themselves on the same side of the table. In my personal view–and I realize many may disagree for valid reasons–the world is trying to tell us something, and we aren’t listening. How can the United States be taken seriously at the negotiating table on global warming issues when we alone have refused to get behind an environmental policy that virtually the entire rest of the planet has endorsed?

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