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[greenyes] Bush Administration Global Warming Position in Milan
NEW YORK TIMES - 12.11.03
White House Attacked for Letting States Lead on Climate

Several times at the talks now going on in Milan over a global warming
treaty, Bush administration officials have portrayed states' actions to curb
heat-trapping gases as evidence of American resolve.
But in this country, officials in many of those same states are strongly
criticizing the administration's statements, saying their efforts are no
substitute for federal action.

The focus of the criticism is a speech in Milan last Thursday by Dr. Harlan
L. Watson, the administration's chief climate negotiator. Listing a variety
of initiatives begun by states and communities, he said they were like
``laboratories where new and creative ideas and methods can be applied and
shared with others and inform federal policy - a truly bottom-up approach to
addressing global climate change.''
But in Washington State, Gov. Gary Locke, a Democrat, said the
administration was using state initiatives as cover for its own inaction.
``The states are taking action for one simple reason - because the federal
government is not,'' Mr. Locke said. ``For the White House to say it is
looking for leadership from the states is just an excuse to delay and
procrastinate. We are limited in what the states can do. We need a national
policy to address global warming.''
Administration officials and some industry groups say that Mr. Watson had it
just right - that having the states take the lead is in the best federalist
Still, even some groups often critical of environmental regulations said the
speech would cause trouble for the administration at home.
``It's not surprising that the administration, when it goes in front of an
international body like this, is going to brag about all the initiatives
undertaken on global warming at the state level,'' said Jerry Taylor,
director of natural resources studies for the libertarian Cato Institute.
``What's the alternative? To go and say we're taking no significant steps
and don't intend to in the near future?''
The text of the speech is online at
Some Republican governors are distancing themselves from the
administration's Milan position without directly criticizing it.
``They have not yet taken climate change on as a real issue and developed
policies,'' a senior aide to one such governor, George E. Pataki of New
York, said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. ``We are going to keep
pushing them.''
Mr. Pataki has led an effort to institute a 2005 regional cap for
heat-trapping emissions for states from Maryland to Maine, and is pursuing
New York legislation similar to California's new law requiring curbs in such
emissions from cars. Mr. Pataki also supports a federal limit on emissions
of carbon dioxide, the dominant heat-trapping gas, from power plants as part
of a broader cleanup of the plants.
The Bush administration opposes mandatory limits on the gases and state
efforts to curtail such emissions from cars. None of Mr. Pataki's proposals
involving mandatory curbs were among the projects described by Dr. Watson,
who focused on voluntary plans like inventories of the gases.

Peter Anderson
4513 Vernon Blvd. Suite 15
Madison, WI 53705
Ph:    (608) 231-1100
Fax:   (608) 233-0011
Cell    (608) 438-9062
email: anderson@no.address

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