President George W. Bush once again told the world that it should hurry up and wait for the United States to take binding tangible steps to cut its global warming pollution. Instead, he proposed a grab bag of small programs and reliance on waving a magic technology wand. These measures won’t make a dent in global warming.
His voluntary strategy to solve the problem is a proven failure. Under his voluntary method, U.S. emissions grew by 168 million tons during his tenure, or the equivalent of adding 23 million cars on the road. Since Earth Day began in 1970, we learned that clean up only occurs when polluters are required to make definite reductions within a firm deadline.
To begin, President Bush must reverse course and support—rather than oppose—congressional and state efforts to require more fuel efficient cars and renewable electricity from wind, solar, and other clean sources, and close oil company tax loopholes.
Next, President Bush should listen to our overseas allies and big U.S. corporations and agree to binding greenhouse gas reductions by a certain date. Anything less than such an agreement means that the United States will continue to add to the problem and speed the effects of warming.
The United States produced nearly one-third of the greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere. This nation has a moral responsibility to launch concrete clean up efforts now to slow global warming. President Bush’s remarks demonstrate that he will continue to dodge this responsibility, and threaten us all.
For more information, see the Center’s recent products on President Bush, Global Warming, and the United Nations: