New Treasury Secretary Nominee Supports Mandatory Pollution Limits

WASHINGTON (May 30, 2006) -- A new government study shows that the Bush administration's voluntary approach to combating global warming is ineffective.

In its report issued Friday, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found the administration's approach to reducing global warming pollutants to be a flop. (Download the report here.)

Ironically, the administration's new nominee for Secretary of the Treasury, Henry Paulson of Goldman Sachs, has supported mandatory limits on global warming pollution and has set real targets to cut emissions in his own company.

Former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill also was an advocate for dealing with global warming. This policy break with his superiors in the administration was highlighted in his book, The Price of Loyalty.

"This is President Bush's second treasury pick who knows global warming is real and needs a real response," said David Doniger, policy director for the Climate Center at NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). "Will the president listen this time around?"

The report uncovered glaring shortcomings in two partnership programs -one at the Department of Energy and the other at the Environmental Protection Agency-that are supposed to encourage the private sector to reduce heat-trapping pollution. For example, of the 74 companies participating in the EPA program, only one quarter have committed to reduce their total global warming emissions. Another quarter merely are limiting their emissions growth, not reducing actual emissions. And the other half have set no targets at all. Both programs were also found to have no means to enforce any pollution-cutting goals.

"The government's own findings underscore the need for enforceable limits on global warming pollution," Doniger said.