Once again, Bahamas is embarrassed at the United Nations. Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell appears to be speaking for other "small island nations" on Global Warming inviting them to join the Bahamas in pressuring the United States into signing onto Kyoto.
Signing the Kyoto Accord is one thing, implementing it another. Few of the industrialized nations have or will implement the accords in any way likely to damage their economies.
US skepticism on global Warming is based on science. Of all the countries – and particularly those "small island nations" for whom Mr. Mitchell appears to be leading the charge, none have the institutions, scientists and research facilities of the United States. Respect for sovereignty runs both ways and it is unseemly for the Bahamas to invite other countries to pressure the United States to do something contrary to its self- interest knowing that the US has the resources on which to make a calculated judgment.
It is unfortunate that Mr. Mitchell acts as a spokesman at the UN for zealots driven by anti-Americanism, in this case, on a pretext of Global Warming. Further it is not a position that the majority of Bahamians could or would support.
The false notion that the world is running out of resources is an aspect of the environmentalism spread through the media and picked up by politicians for their peculiar agendas. The campaigners for Kyoto are not scientists. They are the environmentalists for whom "environmentalism" has become an article of faith.
Thousands of scientists around the world contribute a massive amount of information on climate change and its effects. One eminent scientist has observed there is no way to know whether a small part or a large part of current warmth is man made. "So far there is no laboratory experiment to see how the earth will respond to slowly increasing levels of carbon dioxide" This "fact" makes nonsense of scare mongering and predictions of "Weather Armageddon".
If Kyoto is not already a dead issue, it appears to be on the way to becoming one. The countries that signed on have probably wasted millions, their spokesmen and women mostly blowing hard for nothing.
Senator Inhofe, Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, in the United States Senate, recently focused on the myths surrounding global warming, the media hype and trendy science theories.
He notes that 60 prominent scientists wrote to the Canadian Prime Minister in the spring this year; "if back in the mid-1990s, we knew what we know today about climate, Kyoto would almost certainly not exist".
At a local Climate Change Committee workshop in 2002 Fred Mitchell referred to a cost of 2.7% of GDP for the Bahamas to adapt to climate change. He also acknowledged, "Resources to study the problem are not sufficient".
We do not know the amount of Bahamian tax dollars spent on Global Warming to date. However in light of the above, Mr. Mitchell's presence at the UN has cost a packet for mostly "spitting in the wind".
A rational approach to climate change and the environment requires well thought through decisions about utilization of scarce resources beginning with tax dollars.
Keeping our Ambassador at home would be a real cost saving for the Bahamas. Diplomatic junkets cost money and in this instance the funds expended would have been better used right here in the Bahamas for improving the environment we know exists.
Agricultural practices and knowledge of our island environment is an obvious focus for actually "doing something'. There is very little – if anything, the average citizen can do about Global Warming other than taking responsibility for our own back yard.
THE NASSAU INSTITUTE