February 28, 2007
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Published July 1988 through June 1999
FROM VOLUME 6, NUMBER 11, NOVEMBER 1993
U.S. NATIONAL PLAN
On October 19, President
Clinton released his Administration's plan for reducing national greenhouse gas
emissions to their 1990 levels by the year 2000. Relying heavily on voluntary
actions by industry it has the approval of most industries, but has received
mixed reviews from environmental groups. The plan differs from the Bush
Administration plan released last year in its adoption of a timetable for
greenhouse gas reductions (announced by Clinton in April), and in its emphasis
on government-industry partnerships to achieve greenhouse gas reductions without
resorting to rigid regulatory actions. However, such actions will be sought
through legislation if industry fails to voluntarily make progress.
The plan consists of 50 initiatives affecting all economic sectors. Some are
expansions of existing programs, such as the successful Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) Green Lights project, while others are new. Two major
government-industry partnerships will be established. "Climate Challenge,"
to be run by the Department of Energy (DOE), will negotiate voluntary reductions
in CO2 emissions with electric power utilities. "Climate-Wise
Companies," to be administered jointly by DOE and EPA, will encourage
energy efficiency and emissions reductions in all sectors of the economy, and
provide technical assistance and public recognition for participating firms.
The plan does little to stem the growth of CO2 emissions from
the transportation sector, a serious omission in the eyes of those who favor
fuel efficiency requirements, since transportation is a large and growing source
of emissions. The White House will oversee the development of new provisions,
due in October 1994, to deal with this trend. The plan does not address emission
trends after the year 2000; that will be taken up by a White House group which
will make recommendations for long-term emission goals by the end of 1994. "Joint
implementation" projects involving other countries will not count toward
the current emission goal, but the State Department will lead a U.S. Initiative
on Joint Implementation to encourage and evaluate such projects.
The provisions of the plan are expected to cost the federal government $1.9
billion between 1994 and 2000, but should increase federal income by $2.7
billion. On the other side of the federal-industry partnership, industry would
recover its $61 billion investment by the year 2000 and would achieve another
$207 billion in energy savings in the following decade.
The Climate Change Action Plan is for sale by the U.S. Government
Printing Off., Mail Stop SSOP, Washington DC 20402 (202-783-3238).
Extensive discussion of the plan and reactions to it appear in Energy,
Econ. & Clim. Change, pp. 1-13, Oct.; Global Environ. Change Rep.,
pp. 1-3 and p. 4, Oct. 22; Environ. Rptr., pp. 1178-1179, Oct. 22; and
The New York Times, p. C4, Oct. 12. Shorter articles are in New
Scientist, p. 8, Oct. 30, and Science News, p. 263, Oct. 23.
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