"In reality, Kyoto was never about environmental policy," a White House aide told me. "It was designed as an elaborate, predatory trade strategy to level the American and European economies." The problem for Europeans has been that Bush refused to go along, ruining the desired leveling effect. The EU's industries have been devastated, while the U.S. has prospered.
Europeans' desire to bring U.S. prosperity down to their level is no conspiracy theory of American conservatives. Margot Wallstrom, the Swedish vice president of the European Commission, in 2001 (when she was commissioner for the environment) said the Kyoto Protocol was "not a simple environmental issue . . . this is about international relations, this is about economy -- about trying to create a level playing field."
The goal for the United States, economically, should be to maximize productivity and liberalize trade; if the Europeans don't want to play on that field, let them level their own.
UPDATE 12:45 p.m. central: There is, in fact, evidence that the policies prescribed by Kyoto will increase global warming; I refer you to the brilliant physicist Lubos Motl, with a stern warning that if you quarrel with him, you better come prepared - to say he knows his stuff would be a vast understatement...