Bush's Global Warming Plan a Mix of Giveaways and Research


DATE: February 25, 2002

BACKGROUND: President Bush has announced his voluntary plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 18 percent by 2010. The initiative would allot $4.6 billion in total climate spending over the next five years including $3 billion in funds for more research into climate change and new technologies. Among the proposals is a request for $40 million to fund "debt for nature" forest conservation programs with developing countries which would have U.S. taxpayers pay some of these countries' debts if they protect native forests.

The President's proposal proposes to spend about a billion dollars in FY2003 for climate research -- nearly the same as the $977 million budgeted for bio-terrorism research in the National Institutes of Health's budget.

TEN SECOND RESPONSE: This proposal would spend nearly the same amount on climate change research as it would on bio-terrorism research, and thus shows that President Bush is serious about serious scientific inquiry on climate change.

THIRTY SECOND RESPONSE: To date none of the empirical science shows that mankind is the cause of any significant climate change. In fact, most climate scientists believe climate change is overwhelmingly influenced by natural causes. Therefore, even voluntary reductions of C02 emissions are most likely unnecessary. Worse, voluntary restrictions could eventually lead to costly mandatory restrictions, which are what President Bush rightly refused to agree to under the Kyoto Protocol because they would severely harm our economy.

DISCUSSION: Below are some of the details of the proposal President Bush outlined in a speech February14:

1. A cap and trade system to let utility companies that have achieved more emission reductions "trade" credits to other companies, which haven't yet made the necessary changes to their equipment.

2. Establishes a cabinet level committee on climate change science to be led by the Secretary of Commerce and the Secretary of Energy. Includes $1.7 billion to fund basic scientific research on climate change and $1.3 billion for research on energy and sequestration technologies.

3. A related program, the "Clean Skies Initiative" would set new standards for power plants to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions from current levels, nitrogen oxide emissions by 67 percent and mercury by 69 percent. This would occur in two phases with one set beginning in 2010 and another occurring by 2018.

The President's entire proposal entitled, "Global Climate Change Policy Book" can be found at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/02/climatechange.html.

The National Institutes of Health press release for the FY 2003 President's Budget can be found at http://www.nih.gov/news/budgetfy2003/2003NIHpresbudget.pdf.

A detailed scientific discussion of the scientific facts on climate change can be found in "Global Warming Primer" at http://www.nationalcenter.org/NPA361.pdf.

For talking points on climate change and President Bush see: "Global Warming: Charges and Responses" at: http://www.nationalcenter.org/Bonn2001.html.

For a list of short papers on various aspects of climate change, visit: http://www.nationalcenter.org/Kyoto.html.

by Gretchen Randall, Director
John P. McGovern, MD Center for Environmental and Regulatory Affairs
The National Center for Public Policy Research

Contact the author at: 773-857-5086 or GRandall@nationalcenter.org
The National Center for Public Policy Research, Chicago office
3712 North Broadway - PMB 279
Chicago, IL 60613