Two days ago, I pointed out that the layers of editors and fact-checkers at the AP managed to miss the fact that the Kyoto treaty got rejected almost four years before Bush took office. Apparently, the fact-checkers and editors at NPR are no better than those at the AP. In a report on developments on the climate-change issue today, NPR again falsely accuses the Bush administration of killing Kyoto (h/t: CQ reader Jeff K):
The issue will get plenty of attention in another meeting this year: The signatories of the Kyoto Protocol are due to meet in Bali to discuss a follow-up agreement. But critics say the protocol is meaningless without the cooperation of the U.S., the world’s largest contributor of greenhouse emissions.
The protocol, which expires in 2012, was never submitted to Congress for ratification. President Bush objected to it because it exempts China and India, two of the world’s fastest-growing economies, from the tough standards. In his speech Thursday, Bush included China and India in his list of countries he hopes will engage in goal-setting.
The two sentences that begin the last paragraph, while technically accurate, leave out so much information that it clearly intends to communicate the false notion that George Bush killed Kyoto.
Once again, the Clinton administration signed Kyoto in 1997. Before Bill Clinton ever submitted it to the Senate for ratification, they voted 95-0 on a resolution informing Clinton that they would not ratify any treaty that didn’t include limits for China and India. That included members of both parties, quite obviously, and such Democrats as Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, and Barbara Boxer. The resolution (which I included at the link above) specifically includes the language objecting to the exclusion of developing nations:
Whereas the Department of State has declared that it is critical for the Parties to the Convention to include Developing Country Parties in the next steps for global action and, therefore, has proposed that consideration of additional steps to include limitations on Developing Country Parties’ greenhouse gas emissions would not begin until after a protocol or other legal instrument is adopted in Kyoto, Japan in December 1997;
Whereas the exemption for Developing Country Parties is inconsistent with the need for global action on climate change and is environmentally flawed; …
Resolved, That it is the sense of the Senate that–
(1) the United States should not be a signatory to any protocol to, or other agreement regarding, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change of 1992, at negotiations in Kyoto in December 1997, or thereafter, which would–
(A) mandate new commitments to limit or reduce greenhouse gas emissions for the Annex I Parties, unless the protocol or other agreement also mandates new specific scheduled commitments to limit or reduce greenhouse gas emissions for Developing Country Parties within the same compliance period …
Bush obviously agrees with this position. While Clinton never formally withdrew from Kyoto, he never attempted to get it ratified, either. Bush formally withdrew from Kyoto so that he could pursue the direction the Senate unanimously demanded. He wants to make sure that the US does not impose limitations on our ability to produce in a manner that gives unfair advantage to China, which already represents an economic threat to American business, especially manufacturing, which would be hardest hit by Kyoto.
That’s the true history of Kyoto. That’s the story that the AP and NPR keep obfuscating. Both parties made a clear — and correct — decision to tube Kyoto four years before Bush took office. Bush, in fact, took more initiative than the Clinton administration did in pursuing greenhouse-gas emissions reductions than the Clinton administration ever did after the Senate rejection, and is still trying to reach a truly global agreement.
The media must think that if they keep repeating the same misinformation long enough, it becomes accepted truth. That says volumes about the competence and the bias at these media operations, and it goes to the heart of their credibility.