The key role that the United States needs to play in attempts to slow global warming is clear from its position as the major contributor of carbon dioxide emissions.
China and India actually have a point here. Why should those two countries put much work into emission reductions when the United States refuses even to consider nonbinding agreements for reduction goals? While both have potential to become major contributors of emissions, neither is anywhere close to the United States, the world's biggest offender.
The United States, which produces one-quarter of the world's greenhouse gases, objects to mandatory limits on the grounds that they could damage the nation's economy and because developing nations, such as China and India, which are burning increasing amounts of fossil fuel, have not embraced binding emissions cuts. Under Saturday's nonbinding agreement, however, China and India pledged to pursue voluntary emissions reductions.
China and India contend that their populations emit far smaller amounts of greenhouse gas per capita than people in the United States.
Meanwhile, the charming Senator Inhofe had this to say:
First, it is too early to call Kyoto a failure since the major period for reductions - 2008 through 2012 - has not yet arrived. Second, the White House and its allies in Congress have done more than anyone else to try to make the Kyoto Protocol a failure. So a member of that group really has no business criticizing the Protocol as a failure when he had no interest in seeing it succeed.
Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.) was even more skeptical of Saturday's pact, saying it would lead only to "a dead end economically."
"Two weeks of costly deliberation only resulted in an agreement to deliberate some more, so Montreal was essentially a meeting about the next meeting," Inhofe said in a statement. "The Kyoto Protocol . . . is a complete failure."