President's Remarks Recognize Political Reality of Coming Action on Climate Change

April 16, 2008

Tony Kreindler, 202-572-3378 or 202-210-5791 (cell)

(Washington – April 16, 2008) Environmental Defense Fund today welcomed President Bush’s new recognition of the need for federal action to address climate change. By acknowledging that limits on global warming pollution in the U.S. are inevitable, today’s White House announcement marks a significant political shift in the debate over national climate legislation.
“The White House sees the handwriting on the wall and knows that regulations are coming one way or another. The administration is now inching closer to the table, and that can help move a bill in 2008. What remains to be seen is whether the President is willing to support legislation that gets the job done,” said Fred Krupp, president of Environmental Defense Fund. “On the details, he falls far short of the mark today.”
The test for the administration will be whether it ultimately supports a bill that puts a mandatory cap on greenhouse gas emissions, like the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act (S. 2191), which is expected to come to a vote in the Senate in early June. The bill would cap and reduce emissions roughly 19 percent below today’s levels by 2020 and 70 percent by 2050, putting the U.S. on a path to reduce emissions far enough and fast enough to help avoid the worst consequences of unchecked global warming.
The President’s plan by contrast would only slow and stop the growth of utility-sector emissions, aiming to have emissions peak in 2025. 
“Waiting until 2025 to stop the growth of greenhouse gas pollution means, for all practical purposes, admitting defeat,” Krupp said. “The president needs to set a much bolder goal if we’re going to succeed. His own EPA has said that we can do that and grow our economy at the same time.”
Although the President’s remarks today could contribute to the bipartisan effort in Congress to pass climate legislation this year, EDF strongly disagrees with elements of the President’s legislative principles, his assertions that the U.S. lacks the technology to make deep near-term cuts in emissions, and his concerns that effective climate action would cause economic harm. S. 2191 would achieve necessary emissions reductions through a market-based cap and trade system that manages costs to the economy and American families, gives businesses flexibility, and fosters technological innovation.
According to a new analysis from the Environmental Protection Agency, S. 2191 can be implemented without significant harm to the economy. EPA says U.S. gross domestic product will grow roughly 80 percent from 2010 to 2030 under the bill, just one percentage point less than GDP absent a climate policy.
In a separate analysis, business consulting firm McKinsey & Company found more than 250 existing and readily available options for reducing emissions across the U.S. economy roughly along the lines of S. 2191, many of which pay for themselves over their lifetime.
“The only thing we’re lacking now is political will. The American public wants action, the business community wants action. It’s time for Congress to act,” Krupp said.
About Environmental Defense Fund
A leading national nonprofit organization, Environmental Defense Fund represents more than 500,000 members. Since 1967, Environmental Defense Fund has linked science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships to create breakthrough solutions to the most serious environmental problems. For more information, visit