Fear that the world is warming because of industrialization is a theory with no factual basis.
What we really need to fear are the policies being pushed to stop it. These new regulations will hurt everyone, especially those struggling to get by. As a black American caught in that struggle, I particularly fear for my community and myself.
While global warming proponents claim emissions from our cars and factories are causing the planet to heat, the facts don't prove it.
Despite some hot summers and a strong El Nino, NASA satellite measurements - the most accurate indicator of global temperature - actually show a cooling trend.
In fact, nearly 17,000 scientists, including 2,100 climatologists, meteorologists and environmental experts, recently signed a declaration stating, "There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere."
But the Clinton Administration signed the Kyoto Protocol, an international treaty requiring the United States to reduce carbon dioxide and other emissions to levels seven percent below 1990 levels by 2010.
This is expected to force us to cut our energy use by between 30% and 40%. The U.S. Energy Information Agency predicts the Kyoto Protocol could raise gas prices by up to 40% or 55 cents per gallon, electricity prices by to 80% to 85% and heating oil prices by up to 60% or more.
I'm not happy spending my hard-earned income to stop something that is not a threat. And knowing what the Kyoto Protocol could do to the black community concerns me even more.
A report conducted by Management Information Services, Inc. found black family income could decline by an average of $2,220 and 864,000 black jobs could be at risk. As many as 100,000 black and Hispanic businesses could also face ruin as energy costs increase and the ability to turn a profit decreases.
I'm sure you weren't happy paying high prices for gas this summer and are not looking forward to paying the estimated $200 extra per household this winter because of heating oil price increases.
Imagine paying 55 cents more per gallon of gas under the Kyoto Protocol. Imagine earning less and paying more for energy, food and medical expenses.
When you're a struggling black family already spending a larger percentage of your income on these necessities than everyone else, it leads to serious decisions. Air conditioning, heat or the convenience of a car may be sacrificed so other bills can be paid. And pray there are no medical emergencies or unexpected expenses.
Who benefits from the Kyoto Protocol? China, Russia and Brazil, among others, are exempt from it. While our nation has shown environmental concern in the past and promoted cleaner manufacturing practices and improved car emissions, countries that have not are being rewarded.
Bill Clinton once signed an executive order charging the government with promoting "environmental justice" to protect minorities from undue environmental harm.
By potentially reducing our wages, raising our cost of living,
putting us out of work and destroying our businesses, the Kyoto
Protocol is an environmental threat to black America. If the government
is going to meet its commitment, it can make sure the Kyoto Protocol
is never imposed upon us.
(John Meredith is a member of the African-American leadership
network Project 21 and is a board member of two community-based
non-profit organizations, a consultant for an educational organization
and the national co-chairman of minority outreach for an independent
election monitoring organization. He can be reached at Project21@nationalcenter.org.)
Note: New Visions Commentaries reflect the views of their author, and not necessarily those of Project 21.
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