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Whitman, Jeffords Clash Over Global Warming


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Source: ENS

The Bush administration continues to push the more "research" smokescreen rather than commit to solutions that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions and ways that we can somewhat, at least, help us to avoid or adapt to the effects of climate change. We may, though, have a congress that is creative enough and has the political will to actually act in our best interest. We can hope. This This Modern World cartoon by Tom Tomorrow is especially relevant.

Whitman, Jeffords Clash Over Global Warming

WASHINGTON, DC, July 30, 2001 (ENS) - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christine Todd Whitman says the Bush administration will address the problem of global climate change and greenhouse gas emissions by pursuing an approach that stresses research. Market based solutions, technology transfers to developing countries, and increasing cooperative research efforts with allies are also part of the plan.

"These efforts have recently borne fruit, particularly recent agreements with Japan and Italy to collaborate on climate modeling efforts and with El Salvador in a 'forest-for-debt' swap that will preserve tropical forests there that sequester carbon," she said in testimony before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. The United States declined to support the Kyoto Protocol, an agreement reached by 178 countries in Bonn July 23. The supplement to the United Nations climate treaty calls for industrial nations to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions an average of 5.2 percent below 1990 levels by 2012.

Whitman reiterated the administration's concerns about climate change. "The administration ... will leverage our national resources to enhance our scientific understanding of global climate change, and develop the advanced energy technologies that the world will need in coming decades to meet its energy and environmental needs."

The Bush administration will introduce legislation later this year to reduce major power plant pollutants, hoping to achieve public health and environmental benefits, she said.


The proposed legislation would require for reductions and a cap on emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx), sulfur dioxide (SO2) and mercury.

Whitman said the nationwide coordinated reduction of these three pollutants would result in thousands of avoided premature deaths, visibility improvements over large areas including national parks and wilderness areas, and recovery of many freshwater and coastal ecosystems.

The proposed legislation will not limit power plant emissions of carbon dioxide - a key greenhouse gas blamed for global warming.

The hearing July 26 was the first in a series of three or more hearings that will explore how air pollution from energy use affects public health and the environment, said the new committee chairman Senator Jim Jeffords.

A former Republican who changed the balance of power in the closely divided Senate when he resigned from the Republican Party to sit as an independent in May, Jeffords was critical of the Bush administration's global warming policy.

"Unfortunately, the President's policy backs away from a commitment to address carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. I am disappointed about that and the administration's position on the Kyoto Protocol. I am disappointed in the administration's approach to climate change and specifically their refusal to constructively engage the world in a solution," he said.

The administration can refuse to commit to the Kyoto treaty, withhold offering its own alternative to the framework outlined in the treaty, and reduce funding for implementing climate change reduction programs. "That is their choice," Jeffords said.

"But this Congress, this Senate, and especially this Committee will not let our international partners down. We plan to take steps to reduce our nation's contribution to this growing problem by working with industry to reduce carbon emissions," he pledged.

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