Washington DC -
Calling the keystones of the Kyoto Protocols "unworkable," "outrageous" and "arbitrary," U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel, R-Nebraska, said even the new, divided Senate would not "even come close" to ratifying the accord.
The statements came in a Tech Central Station interview with James K. Glassman on the eve of the Sixth U.N. Conference of the Participants on Climate Change (known as "COP 6") next week in The Hague, Holland.
"I don't see how...the United States Senate, even in its closely-divided form, even come(s) close to ratifying this treaty," said Hagel, who will be attending COP-6 in his capacity as chairman of the Senate Climate Change Observer Group. "Under no conditions do I see this Kyoto Protocol - and I think Mr. Gore would agree with this - even come close to getting 67 votes in the United States Senate. I mean, that is not even debatable."
Before the Kyoto Protocols were reached, it was Hagel who worked with Sen. Robert Byrd, D-West Virginia., to pass a resolution unanimously spelling out conditions the Senate would require in such an environmental treaty.
In the Glassman interview, Hagel said the Byrd-Hagel resolution specified that the Senate would only pass a treaty that "include(d) all nations of the world under the same kind of mandatory, legally binding conditions," and would reject any treaty that "will do economic harm" to the United States.
Hagel pointed out that Kyoto violated both principles. "No industrialized nation has ratified the treaty yet," he noted, and "not one of the 134 developing countries have even indicated any willingness to voluntarily abide by any of the protocols."
In addition, he said, many of the nations left out of the accord "are the largest greenhouse gas emitters today. India, China, Mexico, South Korea - they are all out."
In addition, Hagel says, "all economic analyses of the economic consequences of the protocol show that it would do very significant damage to the economy of this country across the board - unemployment, GDP, cost of energy and any measurement you take."
On climate change itself, Hagel said "Scientists are still very unclear on what is happening and we just don't know enough about it. And if there is going to be an improvement in our environment," Hagel said, "it's going to come from the market place, it's going to come from technology, and it's not going to come from U.N. mandates. It's not going to come from some outrageous, arbitrary decision that the United States is going to comply with getting down to seven percent less of 1990 man-made greenhouse gas emissions."
Concluded Hagel, "the track of the Kyoto Protocol takes us down, in my opinion, it's unworkable and does not make any sense."