We will call the whole thing off.
Although the media altered the story line beginning in March 2001, the inescapable fact is that the Clinton administration doomed the Kyoto treaty by agreeing to something for which there was insufficient will in Congress. Clinton thereby put our name and political prestige on the line recklessly, hoping to pressure Congress, but leading to eight years of (largely either uninformed or simply disingenuous) harping about the wretchedness of George W. Bush refusing to follow through on Clinton’s political commitment.
By this and according to none other than candidate Barack Obama, our national name was tarnished. He vowed to restore it. He has not only failed but made things worse, though we should remain thankful for small favors such as this.
On its face the Euro-driven narrative was absurd because it was up to the Senate, not a president, to ratify a signed agreement (we signed Kyoto November 12, 1998) just as it is up to Congress, not Obama, to enroll legislation meeting the promise of emission reduction he just made, in our name, in Copenhagen.
As such, Obama has just repeated Clinton’s misstep with Kyoto.
Read the following excerpt, in pertinent part, from Samuel Thernstrom’s recent recapitulation of the sordid Kyoto affair (emphases added but the very useful links are in the original):
Having promised to lead the Copenhagen negotiations to a successful conclusion, Obama now finds himself in a bind: Unable to get a bill through Congress, he doesn’t want to repeat Gore’s mistake of letting Europeans pressure him into signing a treaty the Senate won’t ratify while sanctioning unrestricted emissions from the developing world. … So the administration’s draft implementing agreement submitted to the UN in May specified that emissions reductions would be subject to “conformity with domestic law.” In other words, whatever is agreed to here doesn’t mean a thing if the Senate doesn’t agree. As Jonathan Pershing, a top State Department negotiator, remarked at the recent climate negotiators’ meeting in Bangkok. “We are not going to be part of an agreement we cannot meet.”
Except that — although yesterday’s political commitment was unable to rise to the level of something the Senate would have to ratify, yet — the Senate clearly cannot and will not adopt such economy-killing cuts that it promised. Not that we don’t want them to try next year — heck, I’ve got a book coming out exposing the whole sleazy lie — which would allow for the much-needed salting of the political ground.
But the take-away from Kyopenhagen, what makes this absurd theater just engaged in all the more unforgivable, is that Obama’s administration had for months vowed how it learned that lesson and would not repeat it. Until they did.