Washington, D.C. – Once again President Bush is the skunk at the garden party by rejecting the G8’s proposed reductions in global warming pollution. He rejected realistic, binding, specific reduction goals supported by the European Union. Instead, he wants yet more conversations about “aspirations” instead of the perspiration needed to achieve real emissions reductions in the United States. The United States and other nations talked for decades about global warming. Meanwhile, scientists tell us what we need to do: cap and reduce emissions from power plants, enhance energy efficiency, and produce cleaner cars and fuels.
Germany, Great Britain, and other G8 allies wanted agreement on a 50 percent reduction in global warming pollution by 2050 – the bare minimum scientists believe necessary to stave off the worst impacts of global warming. Nearly two dozen major corporations – including BP America, Alcoa, and General Electric – endorsed a 60 percent to 80 percent cut by 2050. Nearly three of five Americans want a cap and cut in global warming pollution that would achieve a similar goal.
President Bush claims he wants this dialogue to ensure that all the major polluters make reductions at the same time. However, he frequently takes unilateral action even when our allies object. Yet when it comes to global warming pollution reductions he insists on a multilateral agreement. Even if these conversations are part of the United Nations’ sanctioned process, it will still lead to the same result: delay, delay, delay.
President Bush continues to ignore the G8’s consensus to cut emissions or even set a specific reduction goal, while U.S. global warming pollution ballooned by 168 million metric tons since 2001 under his voluntary reductions program. And now he has a fig leaf to hide behind. Americans and the world must now look to Congress to take action to solve the world’s gravest environmental threat.
Daniel J. Weiss is a Senior Fellow and Director of Climate Strategy for the Center for American Progress.