By Victor Morawski
December of 2009 was a tense time for libertarians, conservatives and global warming skeptics worldwide, the month of the UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Members of the environmental left across the globe had high hopes going into that conference that this would be where they would finally get it done, would reach a worldwide legally-binding climate agreement on the limitation of greenhouse gases (GHG) to curb global warming — an improved version of the Kyoto Protocol — with nearly all of the world’s nations as signatories. These emissions across the globe would then be regulated by the UN, backed by the force of international law.
That agreement would make national cap and trade laws — like the one liberals had proposed for the US — largely irrelevant and redundant. As a signatory, the U.S. would have been legally bound to pursue the GHG emissions mitigation targets laid out in the international agreement, while also participating in a global cap and trade scheme
Readers may recall that the Copenhagen Conference delegates came up far short of the sought-after agreement. Deep-seated differences prevented them from bringing anything that was legally binding to the table. Failing to reach consensus even on a considerably weakened non-binding resolution, they finally voted to at least “take note” of it as a way of saving face and justifying their air fares and hotel bills.
Fearing the worst at the time, Conservatives were greatly concerned that if such a legally-binding international agreement were reached at the Conference, world citizen Barack Obama would sign it, thus surrendering US sovereignty over the management of GHG emissions to the UN and committing our nation for years to come to a schedule for paying tens of billions of dollars to developing nations as reparations for the harm that we have supposedly done them by having such a large carbon footprint over the years.
We were of course saved from this by their failure to reach a suitable agreement in Copenhagen — but the left has not stopped trying.
What has all this to do with Mitt Romney? Some readers may already know that he has officially rejected the Kyoto Protocol.
With this conservatives and other global warming skeptics would agree but it is why he has rejected it that should give them concern.
He believes that the trouble with the Kyoto Protocol is that it is unfairly loaded against developed nations like the U.S., giving them tough emissions mitigation targets to hit, while it gives major polluters like China and India a pass for being developing nations.
Romney would like to see an international climate agreement that puts the U.S. on a level playing field with other nations. He has unequivocally stated that he would, as president, sign the U.S. to one if it were to be drafted!
So while rejecting Kyoto specifically, he has openly embraced the idea of having an international agreement to lessen GHG emissions — overseen by the UN — with the U.S. as a signatory.
Conservative fears over U.S. involvement in that agreement would, it seems, have been as justified in December 2009 with a President Mitt Romney as with President Barack Obama.
But we need not merely speculate that Romney would have been likely to sign this sort of an agreement, with all of its disastrous economic consequences for the U.S., if it had crossed his desk. He has made it clear that he would not only sign one if it were developed but would work proactively with other nations to bring one about: “I will work on a global basis to get other nations to combine to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions in a way that is fair to us and the other people of the world.”
Well spoken, world citizen Romney!
For my part, I would prefer a presidential candidate who rejects the whole notion of an international agreement to mitigate GHG emissions, as well as the rationale behind it.
Victor Morawski, professor at Coppin State University, is a Liberty Features Syndicated writer. Reprinted by permission of Americans for Limited Government.