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Old 09-18-2006, 11:11 AM   #1
BlueStar
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Default Bush is preparing a U-turn on global warming

Bush 'prepares emissions U-turn'

By Geoffrey Lean, Environment Editor
Published: 17 September 2006

President Bush is preparing an astonishing U-turn on global warming, senior Washington sources say.

After years of trying to sabotage agreements to tackle climate change he is drawing up plans to control emissions of carbon dioxide and rapidly boost the use of renewable energy sources.

Administration insiders privately refer to the planned volte-face as Mr Bush's "Nixon goes to China moment", recalling how the former president amazed the world after years of refusing to deal with its Communist regime. Hardline global warming sceptics, however, are already publicly attacking the plans.

The rethink follows increasing pressure on the White House from Republican governors such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, the mayors of more than 300 cities, business leaders and Congress.

Over the past few days rumours swept the capital that the "Toxic Texan" would announce his conversion this week, in an attempt to reduce the impact of a major speech tomorrow by Al Gore on solutions to climate change.

The White House denied the timing, but did not deny that a change of policy was on its way. Sources say that the most likely moment is the President's State of the Union address in January.

Environmentalists expect the measures to fall far short of what is needed, but say this does not matter. "The very fact that Bush would reverse his position will liberate many Republicans to vote for meaningful pollution cuts," says Phil Clapp, president of the National Environmental Trust.

But Iain Murray, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Mr Bush's chief climate change cheerleader, is deeply alarmed: "We are left with the unpleasant conclusion that the only motivation is political."

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White House to unveil new global warming policy: sources

Washington (Platts)- The Bush administration plans to announce as early as next week a goal of stabilizing carbon dioxide levels in the global atmosphere at 450 parts per million by the year 2106, congressional and non-government sources told Platts Wednesday.

Such an announcement, if true, might lead to the establishment of new regulatory policies -- either voluntary or mandatory -- for the power sector and other sources of CO2 emissions.

But a high-ranking source at the White House Council on Environmental Quality rejected the suggestion, saying the administration has no plans to unveil any new climate-change policies.

Rumors that the White House plans to unveil a new global warming policy have been circulating since August 27, when Time magazine reporter Mike Allen, citing unnamed administration sources, wrote that President Bush's views on the phenomenon "have evolved."

Allen, in his article, quoted a Bush adviser as saying: "Only Nixon could go to China, and only Bush and [Vice President] Cheney, two oilmen, can bring all these parties kicking and screaming to the table."

With some exceptions, the energy sector has strongly opposed all legislative efforts to impose a mandatory cap on CO2 emissions, saying such an approach would have disastrous economic impacts.

Many scientists, conversely, say global warming will generate massive coastal flooding and other detrimental impacts if CO2 emissions are not curbed dramatically in the next few decades.

Currently, the atmospheric CO2 level stands at about 380 parts per million. A plan to stabilize it at 450 parts per million by 2106 technically would not be "new," given that the number was cited more than 40 times in a report that the administration issued forpublic comment on June 26.

One possibility is that the administration is going to seek to codify or otherwise finalize the CO2-stabilization approach articulated in the June 26 report, sources said.

Environmental groups, however, said they would not support such an approach. Dave Hamilton, director of the Sierra Club's global warming and energy programs, said that while the 450 ppm number was fine, the timeline is not.

"We've got to make 450 [ppm] by mid-century, not next century," he said, adding that the administration's plan "would not stave off the worst impacts of global warming."

Administration officials are set to testify at three Congressional hearings next week.

 
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