DOES THE KYOTO CLIMATE CHANGE TREATY POSE A SEVERE threat to the U.S. economy or is that claim simply a "Chicken Little" prediction of detractors?
Pro-business Republicans, environmentalist bureaucrats and industry observers debated the merits of each position at the Ninth Annual Energy Efficiency Forum in Washington, D.C., on June 10.
One of the most vociferous opponents of the treaty was Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wisc.), chairman of the House Committee on Science, who headed the Congressional delegation to Kyoto, Japan.
Other speakers included Ambassador Stuart E. Eizenstat, under secretary for economic, business and agricultural affairs, U.S. Department of State; J. Brian Atwood, administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development; Peter Coy, associate economics editor, Business Week; and Richard L. Sandor, chairman/CEO of Environmental Financial Products Ltd. and also a director of Central and South West Corp.
"The Kyoto Protocol agreed to by the Clinton Administration and over 160 nations last September poses a severe threat to the vitality of the United States economy in the form of drastic energy price increases, job losses in key manufacturing industries and an overall decline in our standard of living," Sensenbrenner said.
Quoting Wharton Econometrics Forecasting Associates Inc., Sensenbrenner said implementing the protocol would reduce household income by more than $2,700 annually in 2010. A Charles River Associates study, he said, predicts that gasoline prices would be a third higher in 2010 and 43 percent higher in 2020 than they would be without a treaty.