President Bush has once again, and rightfully so, rejected the Kyoto Treaty. In contrast, the international community has indicated a strong desire for this type of diplomacy to continue. For example they voted 179/180 vote at Bonn for a modified but dramatically weakened accord. The results of this July 2001 Bonn meeting surely are hard to hold up as a victory. However the supporters of this treaty will do exactly that. The media support for those who are at least willing to do "something" has been and will continue to be very strong. President Bush is under major pressure to do "something", including pressure from some in the oil industry and some in the Senate.
The global warming debate is still very much alive, albeit pushed off center stage for the present. The other industrial nations seem willing to support, indefinitely, diplomacy dominated by process over substance. The ultimate resolution of this fight is of major import to the energy industries. Some of the forces involved in this debate also advocate zero drilling in the ANWR, zero drilling off or even near Florida and indeed the ultimate phase out of oil.
This paper is the fourth report by this author to the OTC on this issue. See OTC #8689, OTC #10773 and OTC #12115. This latest report will provide an update and overview on the status of the debate.
As this report is being prepared, the war against terrorists is still underway, albeit with substantial success already achieved. There are signs today that the Administration is starting to address some domestic issues, such as the economy and education. It was their intention to address global warming late in 2001, and to come up with their alternative plan to the Kyoto Treaty. That did not happen, and it is unclear where this fits on their priority list. I suspect it will remain relatively low for awhile, but it will not go away. The proponents of the Kyoto Treaty have too much time and effort invested for them to walk away from this issue. If one assumes that global terrorism can be put into a manageable box, then the warming issue will reemerge, as cantankerous as ever.
It has been two years since I last reported to the OTC on this subject. In the prior papers most of the inputs covered the status of the global warming sciences. In this paper we will look at the science again, or more precisely, reports about this science, then look at the status of the global warming treaty. Finally we will look at U S. policy efforts in lieu of the Kyoto Protocol.
We asked at the start of the 2000 OTC paper if the science is done? As before we believe that nothing could be further from the truth. Even having met and passed into the Third Millennium the science on this issue is still far from done.