Analysis of the Kyoto Global Climate Conference
December 12, 1997
Return to this forum's introduction.
in this forum:
A report from a correspondent in Japan. What reductions does the Kyoto agreement call for? Why has "global warming" become a big issue? Why were developing nations excluded from the agreement? Is there consensus amongst global leaders that global warming is for real? How should competing scientific claims about global warming be judged? Can the Kyoto Protocol be ratified by the Senate? Viewer comments.
December 11, 1997:
Two U.S. Senators discuss whether the Kyoto agreement will be ratified by the Senate.
December 10, 1997:
A member of the Clinton Administration reports on the negotiations in Kyoto.
December 9, 1997:
India's Ambassador to the U.S. explains why the developing nations should not be mandated to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
December 8, 1997:
The European Union's delegate to the U.S. talks about the rift between the E.U. and the U.S. at the Kyoto conference.
December 5, 1997:
A business leader questions the science behind global warming.
December 4, 1997:
A look at the the science and politics of global warming.
November 10, 1997:
An Online NewsHour forum on the U.S. plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
October 22, 1997:
A discussion of President Clinton's plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
June 25, 1997:
President Clinton is backing the EPA's push for tougher air quality standards, but critics say they're too costly.
February 18, 1997:
The federal Environmental Protection Agency has proposed new clean air standardsthat have been criticized by some industry, state and local officials.
March 6, 1997:
The fastest rise in temperature for perhaps ten thousand years is having a dramatic effect on the brittle ecosystem of Antarctica.
January 4, 1996
British meteorologists report that the Earth's surface temperature was higher than the average in 1995.
Browse the NewsHour's coverage of science and the environment.
EPA on global warming
Global Climate Information Project
Environmental Defense Fund
The Environmental Defense Fund's page on global warming.
Sierra Club's page on global warming
Global Change, a database of articles on climate change.
Viewer Comments Chuck Tatum of North Augusta, SC, comments:
Having worked in a Weather Center since 1989, I do not believe that there is global warming. I know that many of the statistics come from sloppy scientists whose instruments are not calibrated every 6 months by skilled electronics technicians - as ours are.
Assuming that global warming is occurring, I refer people to a comprehensive energy-use study done by the Ford Foundation after the "energy crisis" and published in book form as "A Time To Choose" in 1974. Americans chose to ignore the most reasonable scenario - show some restraint in your fossil fuel use. I believe oil imports have increased from 33 percent to over 50 percent of total use since then. Why not put on a $1/gallon tax and designate the funds for research into alternate energy sources - preferably done by commercial non-oil-related firms without government controls.
The argument is clouded by the fact that many "scientists" will lie for a bribe (government grant for research).
John Alway of Victoria, TX, comments:
I'm curious why in your reports on "global warming" you have been doing very non-objective journalism. There are countless top-notch scientists (frankly, the best) who absolutely dispute the contention that there is any such problem, yet you continue to present a one sided view. It is very troubling when the facts are so one sided against the claims of global warming and yet you present global warming as if it were a fact. I really don't get it. Why? The facts, afterall, are king.
I'm rather sure that scientists like Dr. Fred Singer, Dr. Patrick Michaels, Dr. Robert Balling, or Dr. Lindzen would agree to appear on your show.
The facts are the satellite data, and balloon which give the best global measurements. They show a statistically signficant cooling over the last 18 years.
And ground level measurments are full of confounding factors, one of which is the urban heat isle effect. The ground measurments which aren't effected with these sorts of factors match satellite and balloon data. Furthermore, computer models are useless at this stage. They are not nearly smart enough at this time to predict anything, and have been off in both magnitude and direcion in their predictions when measured against the real world. No real scientist would take them seriously as a tool of measurment at this point. No rational man would.
And if it's true that so many scientists believe in this problem why is it that surveys I see of climatologists don't result in anything close to a majority agreeing with the claims of out of control warming? And is it not true that the gov't has fraudulently claimed that 2600 agree with the global warming claims? I know for a fact that Michaels is included in that list and he's against the claims!
Conaway K. Hoback of Dallas, TX, comments:
I am concerned that the members of the NewsHour staff and the U.S. team in Japan seem to fail to see what freedoms we as Americans would be giving up if we go along with this treat and force major changes to the lives and life styles of the American people. The EPA fuel standards from the 1970's have already made it so that I cannot find a car sold in the U.S. that has the headroom and leg room that I need to fit it the car or drive safely. The reason that over half the people in the U.S. are now buying Minivans, Pickup Trucks, and SUVs has much to do with the fact the EPA regulation has eliminated the CARS that americans at one time could buy. There are now no large family station wagons, large family sedans, or cars with long leg room, high head room, or wide seats. If this treaty is implemented the way other changes have been in the past, I see over 50% of the American people losing the freedom to buy the vehicle they want and need.
This is just one of the small freedoms that we would lose, but it is an example of how everything in our daily lifes will change. Protect Americans' economic and personal freedoms stated in the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and the Federalist Papers, and fought for by our citizens. Stop this treaty and tell the truth the the American people about how this treaty will take away their freedoms to live their lives without interference from government.
Rev. Merwin R. Joy of San Cheboygan, MI, comments:
I just heard the facts are in. The earth has increased 1 degree over the last 100 years. That's global warming?
Ron Wurth of Evergreen, CO, comments:
My comment is on the nature of NewsHour coverage of the global warming issue: it is disturbingly biased. Two points.
I have planned my entire workschedule around the NewsHour for more years than I can remember, simply because it appeared to provide the most balanced presentation of issues. This has been slowly changing, and the global warming issue shows it all too well. In fact, for the first time, I am considering not watching the NewsHour and not recommending it to others, because of this creeping bias. In global warming. for example, unless I missed it, the following are a few of many issues not addressed at all:
- NewsHour articles are predominantly with persons who presume global warming is a fact, or at least presume that some action should be taken about it.
- I have yet to see a roundtable type of discussion of this issue, with at least one well-informed scientist who disagrees with global warming. There are many.
- The globe is clearly not warming, as proven by satellite data.
- There is no evidence that it will warm, but, if it does, human inputs of CO2 are insignificant compared to natural sources. Even complete elimination of human CO2 sources will have no effect on global temperatures.
- If implemented in full, the treaty will have major negative effects on the U.S. economy, with a large burden of this imposed on the poor. Prices of staples will greatly increase.
- The very wording of the treaty makes it completely clear that it is intended to be a make-work program for third world countries (ex: cataloging their CO2 sources and sinks), paid for by advanced countries.
- If certain countries are exempted from CO2 emissions requirements, while advanced countries are forced to implement expensive apparati, there clearly will be a trend for certain industries to relocate to exempt countries and continue emitting. Thus there will be little or no net CO2 emission loss anyway.
- If a CO2 credit trading system is put in place, U.S. (and other) businesses will incur large expenses (read: higher prices) to acquire these credits. Large dollar flows will go to countries which have CO2 deficits, such Russia, which has had decreased CO2 since 1990.