The Wall Street Journal Embarrasses Itself Again

Thu, 2006-01-19 14:58Ross Gelbspan
Ross Gelbspan's picture

The Wall Street Journal Embarrasses Itself Again

In a Jan. 19 editorial, titled “Kyoto’s Big Con,” the Wall Street Journal declared:

“The U.S. dropped its signature from Kyoto because arbitrary emissions targets are both pointless and economically damaging. No proof exists that lower emissions reduce global warming. The idea that human activity influences climate change one way or another is far from proven, given the overwhelming role nature itself plays in atmospheric changes. And if the warming trend of recent decades continues – by no means a certainty – it might well be a boon to humanity.”

One might be misled into believing the Wall Street Journal’s position on climate change mirrors the opinion of Conservatives and business leaders in the United States.

Fortunately, this kind of tripe has long ago been contradicted by, among others, Jim Woolsey (former head of the CIA), Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Indiana), Margaret Thatcher, William F. Buckley, Jr. (neither one exactly a closet liberal), and, more recently, former Bush Administration Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neil, who has likened the coming impacts of climate change to a “nuclear holocaust.”

It has also been contradicted by such corporations as Alcoa, American Electric Power, Baxter International Inc., Boeing, BP, DuPont, Entergy, General Electric, IBM, Intel, Royal Dutch Shell, Sunoco, Toyota, United Technologies, Weyerhayser and Whirlpool Corporation – to name a few.

No matter. It seems clear that Dow Jones (the parent company of the WSJ) places more faith in the pronouncements of the paper’s editorial board than in the findings of more than 2,000 scientists from 100 countries reporting to the United Nations in what is the largest and most rigorously peer-reviewed scientific collaboration in history.

The Journal used to be known affectionately as “the handmaiden of American capitalism.”

Today it is fast becoming one of capitalism’s biggest buffoons.


The Kyoto environmental protocol committed nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. By this standard, the pact's biggest fans, the Europeans, are failing. And what about the United States, the global villain for withdrawing approval of the accord in 2001? It's doing very well, thank you, says the Wall Street Journal. Consider the latest numbers from the European Environment Agency in Copenhagen: • Most European countries have seen an increase in greenhouse gas emissions since signing Kyoto with great fanfare in 1997. • No fewer than 13 out of the 15 original European Union (EU) signatories are on track to miss their 2010 emissions targets -- by as much as 33 percentage points, in the case of Spain. Or consider Denmark, home of the EU's environmental watchdog: • Rather than reduce levels by 21 percent as the accord stipulates, Denmark has so far notched a 6.3 percent increase in emissions since 1990, the base year used in Kyoto. • The likely gap between its Kyoto commitment and its emissions levels projected for 2010 is 25.2 percentage points. How is the United States doing? The Bush Administration has continued a longstanding U.S. policy of pushing states, municipalities and private industry to reduce those emissions that actually lower the quality of air and water. • The United States thus saw a modest decline in greenhouse emissions of 0.8 percent between 2000 and 2002, according to data from the U.S. Department of Energy. • Overall since 1990, American greenhouse emissions are up 15.8 percent, but this still puts the United States far ahead of many of its European and Asian critics. And this despite U.S. economic growth (and increasing energy demand) that has far exceeded Europe's, says the Journal. Source: Editorial, "Kyoto's Big Con," Wall Street Journal, January 19, 2006.

The Wall Street Journal is so far from reality on the issue of global warming that they should be laughed out of the newspaper industry. They either are in the pockets of the Republican administration or so far under a rock that they do not even know how to read over 2000 studies confirming the severity of the prognosis of damage from global warming. What a shameful article.

Mark J. Fiore