Center for American Progress

RELEASE: President Bush Continues to Oppose Global Warming Solutions
Press Release

RELEASE: President Bush Continues to Oppose Global Warming Solutions

Background for President Bush’s Global Warming Speech

“After squandering seven years, President Bush still refuses to respond to alarm bells. His strategy announced today is like trying to douse a 10-alarm fire with a garden hose—it is completely inadequate.” — Daniel J. Weiss, Senior Fellow and Director of Climate Strategy

In Saginaw, Michigan, on Sept. 29, 2000, candidate Bush announced his energy policy and said: "We will require all power plants to meet clean-air standards in order to reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, mercury and carbon dioxide within a reasonable period of time."

On March 13, 2001, President Bush broke that promise. He wrote to Congress “I do not believe…that the government should impose on power plants mandatory emissions reductions for carbon dioxide, which is not a ‘pollutant’ under the Clean Air Act.”

Coal fired power plants are responsible for 27% of U.S. global warming emissions.

Total US GHGs in 2006: 7,075.6 MMTCO2

GHGs from coal-fired electricity: 1,937.9 MMTCO2

1937.9 / 7075.6 = 27%

Bush may claim that on his watch, U.S. greenhouse gas emissions have gone from 2005 to 2006. While that claim is true, the Department of Energy said it was due to “Weather conditions [that] were favorable for emission reductions in 2006 as both heating degree-days and cooling degree-days were lower than in 2005."

In fact, since Bush became President, total greenhouse gas emissions have increased from 2001-2006. The increase is 210 million metric tons, equivalent to an additional 30 million cars on the road.

President Bush may discuss incentives for research on "clean coal" technologies like carbon capture and storage (CCS) for coal fired power plants. However, in January, the Department of Energy killed the FutureGen power plant, which was a public-private partnership to build a coal fired power plant that would capture and store 85% of its CO2 emissions.

Dana Perino said yesterday that Bush would support incentives for new technologies to reduce global warming pollution. Yet he opposed efforts to expand and extend tax incentives for renewable energy sources and efficiency technologies this past December and twice in February.

President Bush’s speech ignores Pope Benedict XVI’s recent warnings about the moral responsibility to act now to slow global warming. He said “Before it’s too late we need to make courageous choices that will re-create a strong alliance between man and Earth. We need a…strong commitment to reverse those trends that risk making the situation of decay irreversible.”