Environmental Defense recently expressed deep concern over the Bush administration's failure to reduce greenhouse gas pollution. This afternoon the administration will announce its Climate Leaders Partners program.
"This is yet another voluntary program that does not make up for the basic failure of the administration's greenhouse policy. For several years a variety of forward looking companies, acting on their own and with nongovernmental organizations, have committed to and made voluntary reductions of their greenhouse gas emissions. Despite their success U.S. greenhouse emissions are still climbing — and will only decrease through mandatory governmental policies. Under the administration's plan, however, greenhouse gas pollution goes up, not down," said Environmental Defense senior attorney Joe Goffman. "U.S. emissions of greenhouse gas pollution will go up by at least 12% over the next ten years, unless the administration joins the rest of the world in the fight against global warming."
The Bush administration withdrew the U.S. from the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change last year. Last November, ignoring the U.S. pullout, more than 170 countries finalized rules to implement the Protocol, paving the way for ratification by individual nations, which could put the Protocol into effect as early as this year.
"Earth is already beginning to show the effects of global climate change, and responsible nations are taking action," said Goffman. "As the world's largest producer of greenhouse gas pollution, it's well past time for the United States to join them."
The Kyoto Protocol is designed to cut pollution while growing the economy. Using a system known as emissions trading, pioneered by the U.S. to cut acid rain pollution, companies that reduce more pollution than required are able to earn money by selling the excess reductions to those that face difficulty in making their own cuts. This allows companies to make money by reducing pollution, and spurs the development of new clean technologies. For U.S. acid rain, the system worked so well that companies have made more cuts in acid rain pollution than the law requires, and at a fraction of the cost.
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