Accuracy in Media

The Kyoto Treaty has received a major, perhaps fatal, setback, though it was barely reported in the media. It occurred when British Prime Minister Tony Blair told the gathering at the Clinton Global Initiative in September, the same week that the United Nations had its annual gathering of world leaders, that the treaty was basically dead. Blair has been a major supporter of the treaty, and has unsuccessfully implored President Bush to sign on.

What Blair actually said was quite interesting. As reported by columnist James Pinkerton of, Blair announced that he was going to speak with “brutal honesty” about Kyoto, and then proceeded to do so. “My thinking has changed in the past three or four years,” he said. “No country is going to cut its growth.” He added that countries such as the two largest in the world, China and India, who are both excluded from the terms of the treaty, “are not going to start negotiating another treaty like Kyoto.”

Blair suggested that instead, “What countries will do is work together to develop the science and technology…There is no way that we are going to tackle this problem unless we develop the science and technology to do it.” Thus, Pinkerton concluded, “That’s what eco-realists have been saying all along, of course?that the only feasible way to deal with the issue of greenhouse gases and global warming is through technological breakthroughs, not draconian cutbacks.”

Currently there are 155 nations who have signed on to the treaty, but China and India, among the worst polluters, are exempt from its emissions standards.

In a recent commentary, we noted that the so-called “overwhelming consensus” by scientists, supposedly that human-influenced global warming is not a theory but a fact, does not really exist. The opponents of the Kyoto Treaty, the proposed remedy to save the world from global warming, have long realized what Tony Blair is now saying: it just won’t work.

There is a clean source of energy available, namely nuclear power. It has received a couple of recent boosts. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice brought it up at the Clinton gathering, as something “that is going to have to be part of the mix.” It currently represents about 75 ? 80 percent of France’s energy supply, and 20 percent of ours in the U.S.

As the Hudson Institute’s Michael Fumento recently pointed out, the two so-called nightmare events involving nuclear power plants that have occurred in recent history proved to be far less disastrous than their press clips suggest. No one was even injured in 1979 because of the Three Mile Island nuclear accident in Pennsylvania. And a new report by the Chernobyl Forum, made up of eight United Nations agencies, puts the lie to the frightening figures attached to the explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in the former Soviet Union.

There is no doubt this was a serious accident. But while some five million people received excess radiation exposure, the actual number of immediate deaths was 47, all of which were either plant personnel or emergency workers. And the estimate by the Chernobyl Forum of those who later died from radiation-related cancer is some 4,000, far fewer than the estimated tens of thousands at the time, though even this new figure is questionable.

According to the report, “the largest health problem created by [Chernobyl]” is the “damaging psychological impact [due] to a lack of accurate information.” Fumento points out that as a result, “no new nuclear power plants have been ordered since the late 1970s and more than 100 new reactors have been canceled.”

While the New York Times briefly mentioned the Chernobyl story, the Washington Post ignored it. Both papers chose to ignore Tony Blair’s comments about global warming. Perhaps they are more interested in keeping that “overwhelming consensus” on global warming intact than helping their readers better understand the complexities of global energy issues and how the U.S. can secure our energy future.

The man-made global warming theory is dead. Let’s move on.

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