On the September 16 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, Rush Limbaugh falsely claimed that British Prime Minister Tony Blair had "pulled Great Britain out of the Kyoto Protocol," an international treaty to limit greenhouse gas emissions, which Britain has ratified but the United States has not. In fact, Blair did no such thing.
Limbaugh advanced this false claim based on his reading of a September 16 article by Newsday columnist James P. Pinkerton on the conservative "journo-lobbying" website Tech Central Station, titled "Tony Blair Pulls the Plug on Kyoto at Clinton Summit." Pinkerton's article described Blair's remarks at the inaugural meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative on September 15 and misleadingly began by declaring, "Kyoto Treaty RIP." In fact, Blair's comments focused on the limits in achieving an international consensus in support of Kyoto and devising solutions that accept that reality once the treaty expires in 2012. Although he has acknowledged the improbability of getting the United States to agree to the mandatory greenhouse gas emissions standards in the Kyoto Protocol, Blair has continued to be an active supporter of such reductions, most recently at the G-8 summit in July.
In his September 15 remarks, Blair acknowledged that "no country is going to cut its growth or consumption substantially in the light of a long-term environmental problem." He added: "[S]ome people have signed Kyoto, some people haven't signed Kyoto. ... That is a disagreement. ... It's not going to be resolved. But how do we move forward and ensure that post-Kyoto we do try to get agreement?"
From the September 16 broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show:
LIMBAUGH: Tony Blair pulled the rug out from underneath Bill Clinton and all the attendees. "Onstage with former president in a midtown Manhattan hotel ballroom, Tony Blair said he was going to speak with brutal honesty about the Kyoto Protocol and global warming, and he did. ... Blair, who has been 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's he think now? "'No country,' he declared, 'is going to cut its growth.' That is, no country's gonna allow the Kyoto Treaty or any other such global warming treaty to crimp, some say cripple, its economy." Tony Blair has just rescinded his support of the Kyoto Protocol onstage with Bill Clinton at the Clinton Global Initiative. So -- and we all thought that they were best of buddies.
So what'll happen instead? You know, "Looking ahead to future climate change negotiations, Blair said of such fast-growing countries as India and China, 'They're not gonna start negotiating another treaty like Kyoto.'" So what'll happen instead? Well, Blair said, "What countries will do is work together to develop the science and technology. There's no way that we're gonna tackle this problem unless we develop the science and technology to do it.' That's what the eco-realists have been saying all along, of course -- that they only feasible way to deal with the issue of these greenhouse glasses or grasses -- gases, rather, of global warming, is through technological breakthroughs, not Draconian cutbacks like Kyoto."
LIMBAUGH: In case you missed it at the beginning of the program, the Clinton global initiative today -- Tony Blair pulled Great Britain out of the Kyoto protocol. Ha, ha, ha! He can't kill it by himself. I mean, the European Union has to do that, but he said, "Look, we're not going to sign onto something that stunts our growth. This is idiotic! Nobody else will either."