Thursday, July 21, 2005

Kyoto Treaty Was Signed by United States

The Kyoto Treaty took effect early in 2005 without the participation of the United States.

I have heard many times that the United Sates did not sign the Kyoto Treaty. That is not true. Vice President Albert Gore initialed the Treaty and President Bill Clinton, likely following his triangulation strategy, had the Kyoto Treaty signed on November 12, 1998 by Peter Burleigh, then the United States Acting Ambassador to the United Nations. See UN press release at

Of course the Clinton Administration knew all along that in accordance with the United States Constitution, the Senate has responsibility for advice and consent to ratify treaties that have been negotiated and agreed to by the President. Section 2, Clause 2: "[The President] shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur."

President Clinton did not have support for the Kyoto Treaty and never did submit it to the Senate for a ratification vote.

Prior to the Clinton Administration signing the Kyoto Treaty, the Senate in 1997, by a vote of 97-0, approved the Byrd-Hagel resolution. To the Senate, it was clear that the Treaty was not in the interest of the United States. The 1997 Byrd-Hagel resolution established a clear threshold: Unless developing countries accept emissions limitations and the Administration demonstrates the treaty will not harm the U.S. economy, the Senate would not ratify any global warming treaty.

Developing countries are exempt from the Kyoto Treaty despite the expectation that most of the growth in the global emissions over the next several decades will be from India and China.
Students of history will recall that after President Woodrow Wilson’s inability to have the Senate ratify Unites States participation in the League of Nations, Presidents are wise to have the support of Senators before signing a Treaty.


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