Group Finds Voluntary Programs to Reduce Global Warming Pollution Do Not Work
WASHINGTON (June 11, 2001) - NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) today called on President Bush to demonstrate that he takes global warming seriously with actions rather than words. The president gave a speech this morning on global warming and will meet with European leaders this week to discuss the issue.
"President Bush says he takes global warming seriously, but he is stalling instead of acting to cut global warming pollution," said David Hawkins, director of NRDC's Climate Center. "The Bush energy plan, which calls for burning more fossil fuels, would actually accelerate global warming. A serious plan, on the other hand, would cut global warming pollution from coal and gasoline and increase our reliance on energy efficiency and renewable energy sources. We have the technology, what we need is political leadership."
NRDC outlined five ways to measure whether the president is really serious about addressing global warming.
- Serious reductions in global warming pollution from power plants. The president must repair his broken campaign promise to control all four pollutants, including carbon dioxide, from electric power generation. Exempting carbon dioxide, the main cause of global warming, is akin to entering a three-legged horse in the Kentucky Derby. That's not serious.
- Serious reductions in global warming pollution from automobiles. Higher fuel efficiency means lower carbon dioxide emissions, yet the fuel efficiency of new vehicles is at its lowest point since 1980. A new standard of 40 miles per gallon for all passenger vehicles is what's needed. The Bush energy plan only promised to think about starting a process to think about raising fuel efficiency standards. That's not serious.
- Serious increases in renewable energy. An energy plan to fight global warming should require increasing the amount of electricity produced from renewable sources to 20 percent by 2020. But the president's plan makes only vague promises to promote renewable energy. That's not serious.
- Serious increases in energy efficiency. The fastest, cheapest and cleanest way to meet our energy needs is to increase the energy efficiency of our homes, offices and factories by setting higher standards and offering more incentives. The Bush energy plan talks about conservation but places nearly all its eggs in the basket of ever more energy production. That's not serious.
- Serious international leadership. The United States is responsible for 25 percent of global warming pollution, yet has only 5 percent of the world's population. We should be leading the world by significantly reducing domestic emissions, instead of blocking international action by abandoning the Kyoto Protocol. The Bush policy blames the world's poorest countries. That's not serious.
"We can't afford to spend another decade just conducting research and pleading with companies to take voluntary action while emissions continue to rise," said Daniel Lashof, director of science for NRDC's Climate Center. "If the president wants to be taken seriously on global warming at home and abroad, he must take decisive action to reduce global warming pollution."