Global Warming Agreement: Michigan Needs Answers

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Scientists disagree about global warming, but last December in Kyoto, Japan, the Clinton administration agreed to reduce American "greenhouse gas" emissions to below the levels of eight years ago.

One of those gases, carbon dioxide, is produced when fossil fuels vital to the economy such as coal, oil, and natural gas are burnt. Restrictions on these fuels could cause an estimated 94,000 Michigan industrial workers to lose their jobs by 2010.

But if emissions aren’t reduced by 2012, carbon dioxide emissions will exceed treaty levels by 44 percent, according to the Department of Energy.

One assumption is that improvements in technology will lead to more efficient uses of energy. But even the most optimistic projections show that technological advancements alone are not enough to meet the unratified Kyoto commitment.

If technological advancements cannot meet Kyoto’s goals without sacrificing jobs and economic opportunity, the Clinton administration must come up with another plan.

If sacrifices are required that affect the jobs of Michigan’s workers—then the president should be forthright about that. Americans need to know the human costs of this agreement before they can commit to it.

For the Mackinac Center, this is Catherine Martin.