AP Bookends the Year by Repeating a Kyoto Myth

December 12th, 2007 11:38 PM

I suspect that if one looks hard enough, one could catch the Associated Press misstating the history behind the US and the Kyoto Protocol on a nearly monthly basis.

As it is, they've surely done it for the second time this year.

The first such instance occurred in January (NewsBusters link; BizzyBlog link), when AP writer Jim Krane wrote (third paragraph; bold is mine):

But the oil-rich Emirates is considered a developing country, and even as a signatory to the United Nations Kyoto protocol on global warming, is not required to cut emissions. The United States is no longer bound by Kyoto, which the Bush administration rejected after taking office in 2001.

The second took place earlier Wednesday ("Ministerial talks begin to hammer out 'Bali roadmap'"; HT Instapundit; bold is mine):

The United States is the only major industrial country not to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. President George W Bush contended the emission cuts would harm the US economy, and should have been imposed on China, India and other fast-growing developing economies. 

The first specifically says that the Bush "rejected" Kyoto in 2001, almost as if it were in effect until that time. The second all but does the same.

Here, for what seems like the gazillionth time, is the truth (link is to Wiki entry; see this OpinionJournal.com link for further support):

On July 25, 1997, before the Kyoto Protocol was finalized (although it had been fully negotiated, and a penultimate draft was finished), the U.S. Senate unanimously passed by a 95–0 vote the Byrd-Hagel Resolution (S. Res. 98), which stated the sense of the Senate was that the United States should not be a signatory to any protocol that did not include binding targets and timetables for developing as well as industrialized nations or "would result in serious harm to the economy of the United States". On November 12, 1998, Vice President Al Gore symbolically signed the protocol. Both Gore and Senator Joseph Lieberman indicated that the protocol would not be acted upon in the Senate until there was participation by the developing nations. The Clinton Administration never submitted the protocol to the Senate for ratification.

..... The current President, George W. Bush, has indicated that he does not intend to submit the treaty for ratification, not because he does not support the Kyoto principles, but because of the exemption granted to China (the world's second largest emitter of carbon dioxide).

The Wiki entry's statement that China is Number 2 in CO2 emissions is incorrect, and has been for at least six months. It has been known since June, if not earlier, that China is now Number 1.

George W. Bush can’t "reject" something that has only been “symbolically” signed, even if the “symbolic” signer is Mr. “Inconvenient Truth” himself. Bush, like his predecessor, simply didn't submit the treaty for ratification. The AP was, and still is, dead wrong.

Proper reporting would have been this easy, and would have involved fewer words:

The United States is the only major industrial country not to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. President George W. Bush, who, like his predecessor, has not submitted it to the US Senate for ratification, objects to the exemption granted to China. 

The fact that AP repeatedly can't get it right on something as simple as this justifies top-to-bottom skepticism concerning all of its content.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.