An organization called Coal and the Environment is disseminating an interesting view of the Kyoto Protocol. According to the group, the protocol (and all it stands for) is completely misguided. As a bit of background, the Kyoto Protocol is an international treaty that sets concrete targets for developed countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming. Adopted in 1997, the Kyoto Protocol is a supplementary treaty to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Under the protocol, developed industrialized countries are subject to legally binding commitments to curb emissions of the six main greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride. The targets primarily are based on 1990 emission levels of these pollutants. In general, the treaty calls for industrialized nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 5% below 1990 levels. Commitments to begin achieving the targets were in effect as of 2008. Target goals are to be achieved by 2012. More than 130 countries are party to the Kyoto Protocol. The notable exception is the US, which has refused to ratify the treaty. The viewpoint of the Coal and the Environment group is that the Kyoto Protocol is misguided because the protocol hides the fact thatCO2 in air is the source of all food for humans and animals because it provides food for all agricultural products. “It is well known that carbon dioxide in air is absorbed by the green chlorophyll in plants, which retrieve carbon out of carbon dioxide. Later this carbon is used by the plants to build up the plant itself and most importantly the food we eat, cotton for our clothes, paper, etc.” the organization says. From this premise, the argument goes that burning fuel releasesCO2 , which becomes the main energy source for our food. So in fact, the person burning coal as fuel is providing food for plants and is actually performing an essential job that allows plants to grow and eventually to be used for essentials like food. The danger of implementing the Kyoto Protocol, the Coal and Environment organization says, is that it will cause a reduction inCO2 emissions that will cause the price of food to skyrocket. Another serious side effect of the move to limit the use of coal as fuel, the Coal and the Environment group says, is that it increases US dependence on foreign oil and gas. Obviously, this would jeopardize the country’s energy security. A historical example provided by the organization is the impact the Yom Kippur War (which began in Oct. 1973) had on oil prices. The report says that when Saudi Arabia stopped oil production during the Yom Kippur War, the price of crude jumped from $4.00/bbl to $35/bbl. This dramatic spike in the cost of oil had serious global repercussions. The consequences of an oil embargo today would be even more severe. So the end argument the organization makes is that the world should endorse coal as a fuel source because it is actually good for plants (and thus good for oxygen-breathing humans) and helps to protect countries like the US from the impact of dramatic changes in oil and gas cost and supply. Because I have received several emails from the Coal and the Environment group, I thought it would be considerate to reward perseverance with some web space. On the basis of that logic, I have shared their platform here. Although I do not endorse this viewpoint or defend the logic of the assumptions presented, I thought it might be interesting to take a look at an energy issue from another perspective. If you are interested in finding out more about this organization and its views, visit http://www.coal-and-the-environment.org/.