President Reveals Plan to Cut Greenhouse Gases
President Bush on Wednesday set 2025 as the target date for stopping the growth of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, but offered few specifics to achieve the objective in advance of an international meeting on climate change in France this week.
In a speech at the White House, the president said he is concerned that Congress might pass climate legislation that would hurt the country's economic growth. But he also said it is critical that all countries including China and India be aggressive in joining the rest of the world on an approach to cutting greenhouse gases.
"Like many other countries, America's national plan will be a comprehensive blend of market incentives and regulations to reduce emissions by encouraging clean and efficient energy technologies," Bush said. "We're willing to include this plan in a binding international agreement, so long as our fellow major economies are prepared to include their plans in such an agreement."
The United States and other countries agreed at a December 2007 meeting in Bali, Indonesia, to work toward firm targets for reducing greenhouse emissions by the end of 2009, as a follow-up to the Kyoto reduction targets that expire in 2012.
The president said the rise in the amount of greenhouse gases in the air has already been slowed, but he said emissions from power plants must stop growing in 10 to 15 years and level off by 2025 if the target date is to be met.
"To reach our 2025 goal, we will need to more rapidly slow the growth of power sector greenhouse gas emissions so that they peak within 10 to 15 years, and decline thereafter," he said. "By doing so, we will reduce emission levels in the power sector well below where they were projected to be when we first announced our climate strategy in 2002."
The development of new technologies is key to achieving that goal, he added. "There are a number of ways to achieve these reductions, but all responsible approaches depend on accelerating the development and deployment of new technologies," he said.
Environmentalists, long among the president's strongest critics, said his latest proposal falls short of European goals and is evidence that the White House refuses to take tough steps on climate change.
Bush, who leaves office in January, rejected new taxes, abandoning nuclear power and more trade barriers.
"If we fully implement our strong new laws, adhere to the principles I've outlined and adopt appropriate incentives, we will put America on an ambitious new track for greenhouse gas reductions," he said.
Global warming will top the agenda for the G-8 summit in Japan this summer.
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