Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Kyoto Treaty

Today the Kyoto Treaty takes effect and I'm ashamed to say that America because we rejected this outright, doesn't even look as if we care about the environment. There may be arguments to be made about economic growth or bad science, but I'm not interested in those. I care about the Christian perspective on this and I think it is pretty clear.

Some Christians don't see the environment as important, but in Genesis 2 God told Adam to care of His creation and all of humankind has had the same charge ever since.

Unfortunately our President doesn't see it that way. There is not one single environmental group in the world that supports him. The environmental legislation that he has introduced in the last four years has weakened air quality standards, water quality standards, and allowed wetlands and other protected regions to be destroyed in the name of big business. For him, there is a clear track record of always choosing to support those who support him financially over protecting the environment.

According to Psalm 8 it is clear that everything is under man's feet and we are the ruler and protector of it all. The Kyoto Treaty, while potentially flawed, had many good things about it and because America, the world's leader, has opted out we missed the boat. It is time to reconsider and opt in. The Guardian has some highlights of the treaty and none are anti-American.

Key Elements
Gases - The protocol seeks to controls emissions of six heat-trapping gases: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulphur hexafluoride.

Targets - The treaty assigns percentage targets for reducing or limiting emissions, compared with a 1990 benchmark, to 35 industrialised countries among the 140 nations that ratified the pact.

Trading - The protocol allows emissions trading among the 35 countries. Industrial plants that fall below their output "ceilings" can sell the resulting credits to those that exceed their allowances.

Joint implementation - This measure allows a nation to earn credits for developing emissions-reduction projects in other countries that have signed the protocol.

Clean-development mechanism - A country may offset protocol obligations by undertaking emissions-reduction projects in developing countries that are parties to Kyoto but are not obliged by the treaty to cut their emissions.

Why not contact your Senator or Representative and ask them to renew the debate on this treaty and environmental policy in general? It is God's masterful creation and we'd better tidy the place up!