The U.S. Senate had the wisdom, in the late 1990s, not to ratify the anti-global-warming Kyoto Protocol treaty. In fact, by unanimous vote, senators refused even to consider ratification.
The treaty placed punishing, mandatory energy use restrictions on some nations while exempting heavily polluting countries such as India and Communist China from the same restrictions on emissions of "greenhouse gases."
The United States was roundly criticized by environmental activists as being "out of step" for our refusal to go along with the economy-crippling Kyoto Protocol.
But now, our neighbor to the north, Canada, is also apparently willing to be considered "out of step" by environmental extremists: Canada has announced that it is withdrawing from the Kyoto Protocol.
Canada's environment minister, Peter Kent, put in stark terms the harm that adhering to Kyoto would do to his nation: "To meet the targets under Kyoto for 2012 would be the equivalent of either removing every car, truck, ATV, tractor, ambulance, police car and vehicle of every kind from Canadian roads or closing down the entire farming and agriculture sector and cutting heat to every home, office, hospital, factory and building in Canada," he said.
In addition, Canada faced $14 billion in penalties if it did not meet the emissions targets laid out by Kyoto.
Canada also wants to reserve the right to develop its ample domestic oil supplies -- something that would be made difficult if not impossible by Kyoto.
The decision makes Canada the first nation officially to renounce Kyoto, though Japan and Russia have already said they will reject any new requirements the treaty might impose. It's entirely possible that more nations will pull back as well.
If they do, we can scarcely blame them.