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[greenyes] Global Warming - Post Election Options

Experts see states as force in fighting global warming

By Stevenson Swanson
Tribune national correspondent

November 12, 2004

NEW YORK -- With the re-election of President Bush, state governments and
big business will likely be the biggest forces pushing policies and
developing innovative technologies aimed at reducing U.S. emissions of the
gases scientists say are causing global warming.

That forecast by leaders in the environmental and business communities is
based on the Bush administration's opposition to the Kyoto Protocol, the
international agreement that seeks to cut the amount of so-called greenhouse
gases that enter the atmosphere, where they trap heat.

The treaty requires industrialized countries to cut their emissions of
carbon dioxide and other climate-changing substances on average by 5.2
percent below their 1990 levels.

When the president rejected the treaty in 2001, he said the agreement was
fatally flawed because it excluded developing nations, such as China and
India. Forcing U.S. businesses to reduce their emissions while letting
companies in those countries off the hook would drive up the cost of
American products and cost jobs, Bush said.

An August report by an administration official indicated that the buildup of
carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere was the most
likely explanation for global warming, a shift from the administration's
previous position of emphasizing the scientific uncertainties of climate

But in a postelection interview with The Associated Press, Environmental
Protection Agency Administrator Mike Leavitt said Bush still believes that
rejecting the Kyoto accord was the right move.

Instead of mandatory programs, the administration favors voluntary measures
to reduce emissions from automobiles, power plants and factories. It has
also allocated several billion dollars to support the development of new
technologies, such as hydrogen cells that would power cars without producing
carbon dioxide. Those technologies are thought to be many years away from
widespread use.

"I can't see anything in the tea leaves that indicates things are going to
be any different in the next four years," said Eileen Claussen, head of the
Pew Center on Global Climate Change, a foundation that supports research on
the subject.

Meanwhile, emissions continue to rise, despite the first halting efforts to
address the problem. From 1990 to 2002--the most recent year for which
figures are available--greenhouse gas emissions rose 13.1 percent in the

In recent years, the focus of efforts to control future greenhouse emissions
has shifted to the state level. According to the Pew Center, at least 28
states have undertaken measures to reduce such emissions, including a new
Colorado requirement that large utilities there must produce 10 percent of
their electricity from renewable energy sources, such as wind power, by
2015. Voters approved that measure in last week's election.

And in September, a California agency said greenhouse gas emissions from new
vehicles would have to be cut 30 percent by 2016. Connecticut, Massachusetts
and New York have said they will follow California's standard.

In response, many manufacturers have begun to cut emissions, especially
large multinational corporations such as Ford Motor Co. and IBM, which face
tough regulations in countries that have adopted the Kyoto Protocol.

Peter Anderson, President
4513 Vernon Blvd. Suite 15
Madison, WI 53705-4964
Ph: (608) 231-1100
Fax: (608) 233-0011
Cell: (608) 698-1314
eMail: anderson@no.address

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