Today, the Bush administration took a giant baby step forward to fight global warming and comply with a Supreme Court mandate to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant.
Unfortunately, the president’s executive order is 20 gallons short of a full tank. His fuel economy proposal undercuts more efficient Senate and House legislation. And his mandate to increase production of alternative fuels could actually increase pollution since it lacks safeguards.
President Bush has finally acted, but his plan is weak and lacks a road map to achieve energy independence while cutting global warming pollution.
Today, gas prices reached an all time record high in the United States. And, according to an international panel of climate experts, we have no more than eight years to freeze and reverse global warming pollution levels without facing serious consequences. The disastrous effects of global warming include rising sea levels, decreasing snow coverage, more severe weather events, worsening crop yields, and water shortages.
It is time to take serious, comprehensive action to achieve energy independence to cut global warming emissions by 80 percent by 2050. We can reduce our energy use and fuel consumption while cutting greenhouse gas emissions through the adoption of the following measures.
- The creation of a national cap on emissions, followed by mandated annual reductions.
- Economy-wide implementation of this cap that protects early adopters and provides opportunities for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and agriculture and forestry industries to participate.
- Potential for integration into international carbon credit trading markets in the future.
- Reinvigorate fuel economy standards to increase vehicle efficiency from the current fleet average of 24.6 miles per gallon to approximately 37 miles per gallon by 2025.
- Increasing the supply and use of sustainable low-carbon transportation fuels that emit fewer greenhouse gases than traditional gasoline without harming our environment or spiking food and feed prices.
- Establishing a renewable electricity standard that mandates 25 percent of all electricity come from clean energy alternatives such as wind and solar by 2025.
- Mandate the use of carbon capture and storage technologies with all new coal-fired power plants.
Responsible policies to achieve U.S. energy independence must also reduce global warming pollution. The president’s executive order is too little too late to end our “addiction to oil” or attack global warming.