While you weren't looking, most of the world's nations got bulldozed by their indigenous environmentalists and signed the weirdly suicidal Kyoto Global Warming Accord (search).
The U.S. didn't sign it. People like Mrs. Larry David — the "Curb Your Enthusiasm" zillionaire's wife — are saying it's America's moment of shame. But for me, it's not shame that I'm feeling. It's relief.
Tuesday's Wall Street Journal says the nations that signed Kyoto are now wincing at having to actually put it into effect. And, one of those most crimped will be — drum roll, please — our higher and mightier neighbor to the north, Canada (search).
Yes, Canada has to roll back to its 1990 greenhouse gas emissions by 2012 — despite the fact it's emissions have been growing by 1.5 percent a year.
Canadians think and lecture and scold like Europeans, but they drive like Americans. And, newsflash, it's cold up there too, so they have to burn something to stay warm. Kyoto says don't do that and now the Canadians are trying to figure how they will do that.
For one thing, the Canadian oil industry is growing and it puts out stuff bad for the Earth. So what to do? Save the planet by restricting industry, or keep voters happy by allowing them to keep their jobs? Hmm ... a quandary!
And it's a quandary for more than just Canada. Ireland and Spain and Italy and Portugal also have to tighten up in a way that may rub consumers, workers and voters the wrong way.
The problem with Kyoto is that it punishes nations like Canada and the United States, which have a developed industrial base, and it lets completely off the hook an enormous nation like China, which has no restrictions and is allowed to build factories and pollute like crazy in order to catch up with the rest.
Ultimately this comes down to people and their jobs and their individual economies.
Wednesday, Al Gore (search) is speaking out on this. He wanted us to sign the Kyoto Accords. He is undoubtedly unhappy we have not. I can hardly wait to hear Al.
That's My Word.
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