The Snows of Kilimanjaro
Jude Wanniski
December 6, 2003


Memo To: Fans, Browsers, Clients
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: Kyoto is Dead

When the Russian government announced this last week that it would not support the Kyoto Treaty on Global Warming, the New York Times decried the decision, which effectively kills any chance of having it ratified by the required number of nations that produce a majority of the greenhouse gases, i.e. This if course does not mean an end to discussion about GW as environmentalists will continue to push for individual governments taking steps to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide. We noted last month the success the Greens have had in Germany in promoting windmills to replace nuclear power plants, which of course produce no greenhouse gases. Gordon Prather uses the term “eco-wackoes” to describe those environmentalists who oppose all practical sources of power, which would translate into lower living standards everywhere if they could really get what they want.

Russia’s decision was said to be based on President Putin’s realization that the economics of Kyoto would soon turn against a rapidly growing Russia. But it became clear that Russian scientists simply came down against the very idea that mankind is causing Global Warming by burning fossil fuels. A Wall Street Journal editorial in praise of Putin’s decision again presented the irrefutable fact that while the earth is warmer today than it was a century ago, the warming occurred in the first half of the 20th century. Most of the burning of fossil fuels took place in the second half of the century, which has experienced no further increases in measurable warming by satellites checking temperatures in the upper atmosphere where the greenhouse gases are supposedly heating things up. The Kyoto advocates rest their case on surface measurements where they claim the earth continues to warm, but such measurements need only reflect warming caused by population growth and land development.

In recent weeks, the environmentalists have pointed to the continued melting of the Snows of Mount Kilimanjaro in East Africa as proof of Global Warming. There are also confirmed reports of the melting of polar ice caps. Dr. Fred Singer, a climatologist and physicist who served in the Reagan administration, points out that this melting is the result of the warming that did take place in the first half of the 20th century. That “ice has a memory.” Put a block of ice in an icebox and it will melt slowly. The only way really stop the Snows of Kilimanjaro from melting would occur if the sun could be persuaded to cool off. When the Kilimanjaro issue arose two years ago, Dr. Singer wrote a letter to the NYT making this point and I note the newspaper last week was careful not to blame the snow melt on Global Warming. As the scientific evidence continues to pile up, it should be clear to serious environmentalists that there are a lot better things they could be concentrating their energies on to clean up Mother Earth where pollution is definitely taking place.