01 Apr 2001 Global Warming: Hot Air That’s Going to Make Me Colder and Poorer, by Edmund Peterson
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If I told you there was a plan to decrease minority salaries and jobs here in America while allowing the African continent to become polluted, would you think I was peddling a crazy conspiracy theory? A few years ago, I would have dismissed it as nonsense. But that’s exactly what the United Nation’s Kyoto Protocol would do to prevent “global warming” – a scientific theory that isn’t even proven.
President George W. Bush took a lot of heat from environmentalists when he announced the United States will not abide by Kyoto’s regulations, but he did the right thing. He saved minorities here in the United States a lot of hardship. To meet the U.N.’s goal of lower “greenhouse gas” emissions, prices would have gone up while incomes and the employment rate would have gone down. A study by Management Information Services, Inc. reported black family incomes might have declined an average of $2,220 under Kyoto regulations, and 864,000 black jobs might have been eliminated. An estimated 100,000 black and Hispanic businesses also could have been forced to close.
This past winter, higher fuel prices made nearly everyone’s winter harder. And gasoline prices are starting to rise again. These are the effects of existing environmental regulations. If Kyoto regulations had been in effect, things would have been much worse. According to the economic consulting firm WEFA, Kyoto might have raised gas prices by an estimated 66 cents a gallon and raised grocery prices by nine percent, medical bills by 11% and housing costs by 21%.
What’s so insane about all the global warming hype is that almost 17,000 scientists, including 2,100 climatologists, meteorologists and environmental experts signed a declaration stating: “There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere.” NASA satellite-based temperature readings have found no warming. If anything, these highly-sensitive and impartial instruments find the Earth is getting cooler.
What about the threat to Africa? Only a few countries are bound by the Kyoto Protocol. There’s nothing stopping a company from moving from the United States (causing the lost jobs here) to a country not bound by Kyoto. No country in Africa is bound to the same Kyoto emissions standards as the United States. In fact, these nations have few, if any, environmental restrictions. American companies are already held to strong environmental standards. Unscrupulous companies can conceivably move to Africa and eliminate all of their environmental safety rules to get around the Kyoto Protocol.
Thanks to President Bush, this probably won’t ever happen. Minority businesses and livelihoods here in America will remain secure, and Africa won’t be despoiled.
April 22 is the 31st observance of Earth Day. We have a lot to be proud of as a nation. Since the first Earth Day, our nation’s air has become much cleaner. South Central Los Angeles residents experienced 173 unhealthy smog days in 1990, but only 27 in 1999. Our cars are running cleaner than ever. So are airplanes. The timber industry is booming while the amount of trees being planted has more than doubled between 1970 and 1995.
“One effect of the environmental movement over the last 30 years is that environmental issues have become more intangible,” says Bruce Hamilton of the Sierra Club. It’s gotten to the point that these activists are looking for, or creating, environmental problems… like global warming.
In doing so, environmentalists are doing us a disservice. With the Kyoto Protocol, they would have a tremendous negative impact on the African-American and Hispanic communities. Kyoto is bad policy, and a perfect example of environmental injustice since it threatened minorities more than the rest of the population.
George W. Bush was accused of being insensitive to minority concerns while he was running for President. Yet one of his first acts as President benefited minorities more than anyone else. We African-Americans need to remember who was on our side in this situation, and who pushed for rules that would hurt us.
(Edmund Peterson is the chairman of the national advisory council of the African-American leadership network Project 21. He can be reached at [email protected].)
Note: New Visions Commentaries reflect the views of their author, and not necessarily those of Project 21.