This Action Plan represents a major mobilization effort to stimulate federal agencies, companies, state and local governments, and citizens across the nation to do their part in addressing the challenge of global warming. But this is only the beginning. The nature of the climate change problem is inescapably long-term and only partly known today. We must estimate -- with some uncertainty -- the future effectiveness and economic impacts of policies we adopt now. In order to meet the goal of returning greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels, the President is committing his Administration to periodically evaluate the emission trends and program effectiveness, and to pursue additional policy initiatives if the trends indicate that our progress is insufficient to attain our goal. This is not a "set and forget" plan.
There are several mechanisms for monitoring emission trends. First, the Department of Energy, the Energy Information Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission continuously gather and analyze data on energy production, consumption, and greenhouse gas emissions. The Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 require that electric utilities employ continuous emission monitoring of CO2 emissions. Companies participating in the Energy Policy Act Section 1605(b) reporting program will supply timely information regarding their efforts. This will include utilities who take up the Climate Challenge and industrial firms who report their programs under the Climate Wise program. Finally, companies participating in the USIJI will provide information on the progress of overseas projects that may yield measurable emission reductions.
The Clinton Administration will review progress under the Action Plan on a biennial basis to report on current trends, adapt existing programs to evolving circumstances, and if necessary, propose additional administrative, regulatory, or legislative actions. This Action Plan is not a one-time policy development exercise but rather begins a process of continual improvement in energy, environmental, and economic policy. The Administration will continue to seek out opportunities for emission reduction that provide for economic growth and job creation.