The reasons behind the Bush Sr. administration’s hesitancy to sign the Kyoto Protocol are complex, but they can be boiled down to a few key factors. One reason was concern about the economic impact of the agreement. The Kyoto Protocol required endorsers to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to specific targets, which would require significant changes to the energy sector and potentially harm certain industries. The Bush administration was concerned that these changes would hurt the US economy, and that other countries would not be held to the same standards.
Another reason was a broader skepticism about international agreements and the role of the United Nations in global governance. Some members of the Bush administration felt that the Kyoto Protocol was an overreach of UN authority and would interfere with US sovereignty. They also believed that other countries, particularly developing countries, were not doing enough to address climate change and that the burden of reducing emissions should not fall solely on developed countries.
Another factor is the political polarization of climate change as an issue. In recent years, climate change has become increasingly partisan in the United States, with Democrats generally supporting more aggressive action to address the problem, and Republicans generally opposing such action. This has made it difficult to reach consensus on climate policies at the national level and has led to a patchwork of state-level policies and regulations.
Finally, there is also a sense among some Americans that international agreements on climate change are unfair to the United States, and that they would impose economic costs without providing significant benefits. This perception has been fueled by some conservative media outlets, which have portrayed climate agreements as part of a broader agenda to undermine American power and sovereignty.