This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

April 23, 2008

President Bush Sets Goals for Greenhouse Gas Emissions

President Bush announced a new goal on April 16 to stop the growth in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2025. To reach that goal, the President also called for electric utilities to slow the growth in their greenhouse gas emissions so that they peak within 10 to 15 years and decline thereafter. As noted by the President, all responsible approaches to achieving such greenhouse gas reductions depend on accelerating the development and deployment of new technologies. Specifically, President Bush called for new policies that spur investment in the new technologies needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. The President also called for long-term incentives to make lower-emission power sources more competitive with higher-emission power sources.

The President's new goal is the first absolute goal for stopping greenhouse gas emissions on the federal level. Back in 2002, President Bush set a goal of reducing the nation's greenhouse gas intensity by 18% by 2012, and the United States is on track to meet that goal. However, greenhouse gas intensity is defined as the amount of greenhouse gases emitted per unit of gross domestic product, so in a growing economy, greenhouse gas emissions can increase even though greenhouse gas intensity is decreasing. In contrast, the new goal sets a specific date for a peak in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. See the President's speech and a White House fact sheet on the new goal.

Many of the nation's state governors are also taking climate change seriously, and on April 18, five governors gathered at Yale University to sign the "Governor's Declaration on Climate Change," which calls for a state and federal partnership to address the issue. The declaration also calls for continued support for state-based climate action plans and programs and for incentives to reward and encourage state actions to address climate change. A total of 18 states have signed the declaration: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Virginia, and Washington. See the pre-event press advisory from Yale University; the press release from Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell, who attended the signing ceremony; and the full declaration (PDF 100 KB). Download Adobe Reader.

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