Bush global-warming plan draws heated response
Jeffords: 'Like delivering the final divorce papers'
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- In a Valentine's Day message to the White House, the Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee called President Bush's plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions "A love letter to the status quo and the polluting past."
Sen. Jim Jeffords, an independent of Vermont, said real reductions of carbon dioxide emissions "appear to have completely fallen off the table" in the president's climate change policy.
"Today's new climate policy is like delivering the final divorce papers to the public and the world," Jeffords said. "And it is divorced from the reality of global warming."
"Greenhouse" gasses such as carbon dioxide -- which are emitted from cars, power plants and other industrial sites -- are often blamed for global warming; trapping warmth in the earth's atmosphere, causing a melting of the polar ice caps and volatile weather.
The administration plan seeks to reduce greenhouse gasses through incentives to business over the next 10 years. The plan includes setting mandatory targets to reduce power plant emissions by 70 percent by the year 2018.
The president's largely voluntary plan contrasts sharply with the tougher mandatory measures for the United States in the Kyoto Protocol, which was rejected by the administration because some developing countries were exempted from it.
But the voluntary nature of the emissions reduction plan, rather than mandatory reductions, is what rankles many of the president's detractors in the Senate.
"We've found that these voluntary programs just don't work," said Joseph Lieberman, Democrat of Connecticut. He pointed out that U.S. emissions are now 13.6 percent over the target set in the 1992 "Rio" treaty. Under that agreement, ratified under the former President Bush, Washington committed to achieving 1990 levels of greenhouse gas emissions by 2000.
"This policy breaks that commitment," Jeffords said. "And it fails to acknowledge that we are responsible for emitting 25 percent of the world's greenhouse gasses. Under this policy our share would continue to grow."
Bush unveils voluntary plan to reduce global warming
February 14, 2002
Japan casts aside Kyoto agreement: report
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