September 16, 2005


Tony Blair Pulls the Plug on Kyoto at Clinton Summit (James Pinkerton, 09/16/2005, Tech Central Station)

Kyoto Treaty RIP. That's not the headline in any newspaper this morning emerging from the first day of the Clinton Global Initiative, but it could have been -- and should have been.

Onstage with former president Bill Clinton at a midtown Manhattan hotel ballroom, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said he was going to speak with "brutal honesty" about Kyoto and global warming, and he did. And Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had some blunt talk, too.

Blair, a longtime supporter of the Kyoto treaty, further prefaced his remarks by noting, "My thinking has changed in the past three or four years." So what does he think now? "No country, he declared, "is going to cut its growth." That is, no country is going to allow the Kyoto treaty, or any other such global-warming treaty, to crimp -- some say cripple -- its economy.

Looking ahead to future climate-change negotiations, Blair said of such fast-growing countries as India and China, "They're not going to start negotiating another treaty like Kyoto." India and China, of course, weren't covered by Kyoto in the first place, which was one of the fatal flaws in the treaty. But now Blair is acknowledging the obvious: that after the current Kyoto treaty -- which the US never acceded to -- expires in 2012, there's not going to be another worldwide deal like it.

So what will happen instead? Blair answered: "What countries will do is work together to develop the science and technology….There is no way that we are going to tackle this problem unless we develop the science and technology to do it." Bingo! That's what eco-realists have been saying all along, of course -- that the only feasible way to deal with the issue of greenhouse gases and global warming is through technological breakthroughs, not draconian cutbacks.

Sometimes these guys just need to be shown the Third Way, but then they take it.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 16, 2005 10:18 AM

Will be ever be rid of these two grifters?

Posted by: erp at September 16, 2005 10:34 AM

Hopefully not.

Posted by: oj at September 16, 2005 10:38 AM

Kyoto was the third way. Growing our economy and overcoming problems with new technology is our way.

Posted by: David Cohen at September 16, 2005 2:09 PM

"overcoming problems" moves you from the First to the Second Way. Overcoming them via market forces gets you to Third, which you're right is our way.

Posted by: oj at September 16, 2005 2:14 PM

OJ, what is the third way? Here is the Wikipedia entry which includes Gerhard Schroeder. Did you write it.

Posted by: h-man at September 16, 2005 2:21 PM


Schroeder is indeed Third Way when it suits him, which is why he's so unpopular in Germany which wants no reform at all. Angela Merkel may have stumbled badly enough to make herself even more closely associated with Third Way reforms thereby costing herself what should have been an easy victory.

The Third Way is a notoriously nebulous movement that is best thought of as the acceptance of a welfare net by the Right and acceptance that the best way to provide it is by market forces rather than state control by the Left. Thus in America it covers both the Gingrich revolutionaries and the DLC, though the two men most obviously associated with it are Clinton and Bush. Abroad it includes John Howard, Tony Blair, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and Koizumi and was largely pioneered in Chile and New Zealand.

It seems to be the default popular politics of the general public in the Anglosphere, but not of the parties, and vice versa outside.

Posted by: oj at September 16, 2005 2:36 PM

So your third-way includes Reagan, who certainly overcame problems?

Posted by: David Cohen at September 16, 2005 3:29 PM

Thatcher more than Reagan. He was too much a child of the Great Depression and a fan of FDR to truly reform the welfare state. His impulses were certainly Third Way though and much of his rhetoric in the 60s at least. Interestingly enough, the way the Left and MSM portrayed him, as an all out enemy of the welfare state, laid the groundwork for the actual attacks on it.

Posted by: oj at September 16, 2005 3:37 PM