For example, our useful efforts to reduce sulfur emissions may have actually increased warming, because sulfate particles reflect sunlight, bouncing it back into space. And, finally, no one can say with any certainty what constitutes a dangerous level of warming, and therefore what level must be avoided.
Our country, the United States is the world's largest emitter of manmade greenhouse gases. We account for almost 20 percent of the world's man-made greenhouse emissions. We also account for about one-quarter of the world's economic output. We recognize the responsibility to reduce our emissions. We also recognize the other part of the story -- that the rest of the world emits 80 percent of all greenhouse gases. And many of those emissions come from developing countries.
This is a challenge that requires a 100 percent effort; ours, and the rest of the world's. The world's second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases is China. Yet, China was entirely exempted from the requirements of the Kyoto Protocol.
India and Germany are among the top emitters. Yet, India was also exempt from Kyoto. These and other developing countries that are experiencing rapid growth face challenges in reducing their emissions without harming their economies. We want to work cooperatively with these countries in their efforts to reduce greenhouse emissions and maintain economic growth.
Kyoto also failed to address two major pollutants that have an impact on warming: black soot and tropospheric ozone. Both are proven health hazards. Reducing both would not only address climate change, but also dramatically improve people's health.
Kyoto is, in many ways, unrealistic. Many countries cannot meet their Kyoto targets. The targets themselves were arbitrary and not based upon science. For America, complying with those mandates would have a negative economic impact, with layoffs of workers and price increases for consumers. And when you evaluate all these flaws, most reasonable people will understand that it's not sound public policy.
That's why 95 members of the United States Senate expressed a reluctance to endorse such an approach. Yet, America's unwillingness to embrace a flawed treaty should not be read by our friends and allies as any abdication of responsibility. To the contrary, my administration is committed to a leadership role on the issue of climate change.
The U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change commences to stabilizing concentrations at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate; but no one knows what that level is. The United States has spent $18 billion on climate research since 1990 -- three times as much as any other country, and more than Japan and all 15 nations of the EU combined.
Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
I was just reading an article about the wine industry in England. Apparently, prior to the 1300's, England was quite a bit warmer and drier than it is today. Somewhere around the 1300's, the tempertature became cooler and wetter making grape growing more difficult because of shorter growing seasons and fungal growth from the wetter climate. So the question is, are we seeing man-made changes in the weather or is this simply part of the cyclic nature of the weather.