Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Hot Off the Press: Bush's GHG Plan

The president today outlined a new strategy for curbing greenhouse gas emissions.

The strategy outlined was pretty broad (goal of having GHGs from power plants peak within the next 10 – 15 years and then decline afterwards). He rejected mandatory caps on GHGs saying such caps are unrealistic and economically harmful.

It seems that the main impetus for this is a fear that current laws might be used to address climate change (similar to what California is trying to do by saying that CO2 falls under the purview of the EPA).

As expected the Democratic Party did not like Bush’s proposal and said it falls short of what is required (to put it politely).

I don’t know if it’s really too little too late – basically anything you do is better than doing nothing I guess. Two things I found very interesting:

1. Bush said that unilateral action by the US is useless – he said that it will not make a dent in fixing the problem.

2. He said all responsible approaches for solving the problem depend on the development and deployment of new technologies.

In my humble opinion there are two problems with the above statements:

1. Perhaps it’s not fair if the US does something while India and China don’t do anything but what if we don’t have a choice? What if we must do something even if those countries choose not to? I bet if the US, Europe and other countries agreed on measures to curb GHGs India and China will have to follow suit, the pressure on those two countries will force them to join the rest of the world in curbing GHGs. Imagine if all these countries said they will not buy Chinese products unless the Chinese can show that the amount of CO2 emitted when making these products is in line with regulations.

2. I find it a bit unnerving that we are pinning all our hopes for solving the climate change problem on technology. What if technology can’t do it? Won’t it be too late when we find out?

Anyway, these are just my thoughts…

A link to the article from Yahoo News is included below:


ashlynn said...

The part of Bush's plan I find exceptionally odd is that he's focusing on the "quick fixes." I don't deny that raising fuel economy standards, increasing use of biofuels, and setting new efficiency standards for home lighting and appliances would help mitigate climate change. But those things seem like band-aids on a large wound. If those "small" steps would fix climate change, why haven't we done that already? It just seems too good to be true. Like most energy experts say, "There's no silver bullet."

I do think something needs to happen in Washington to take action against climate change. Something explicit - not pinning regualtion of CO2 on the Clean Air Act. New legislation puts everyone on the same page. But until Bush and Congress can make some strides, I feel like we're wasting time until someone else takes office.

ashlynn said...
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