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Calls to act on global warming precede Bush speech

发布时间:2019-02-27 03:09:04来源:未知点击:

By New Scientist Environment and Reuters Corporate leaders, politicians and evangelical Christians have joined with environmentalists to call for action on climate change in the run-up to President George W Bush’s State of the Union speech. The latest call came on Monday from a coalition of business giants – including General Electric, BP, Alcoa, DuPont, and Duke Energy – which calls itself the US Climate Action Partnership. The group called for a federal plan to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Bush is expected to avoid proposing just that in his speech at 2100 EST on Tuesday. Both GE and BP Plc, parent of BP America, are at the forefront of companies aiming to rebrand themselves as big players in a new clean, low carbon, economy (though see Environmental smoke and mirrors). Interest in Bush’s address is particularly keen because of what he said in his 2006 address – that “America is addicted to oil”, and that this addiction should be broken with technological advances and alternative fuels. Since then, environmental activists and others concerned about the impact of global climate change – more severe storms, destructive droughts, rising sea levels and higher insurance costs – have looked for substantial steps from the White House. Many have expressed disappointment. “I thought using the extreme rhetoric in 2006 – ‘addicted to oil’ – was a mistake, because it could make people expect extreme action, and there really hasn’t been,” says Ben Lieberman of the conservative think-tank, Heritage Foundation. Asked what the Bush administration has done in the last year to cut US dependence on oil, federal officials highlighted a $1 billion tax credit for construction of clean coal plants, a $16 million research programme into recycling nuclear fuel, $250 million to study new biological fuels, and a tightening of fuel efficiency standards for “light” trucks. But the US government’s moves have not impressed environmental groups. “We have a White House that has yet to deliver on its own rhetoric about ending our dependence on fossil fuels, and up to now has placed its emphasis on helping Big Oil,” says Betsy Loyless of the National Audubon Society, a US non-profit environment organisation. Bush is expected in his speech to call for a big increase in the use of ethanol, according to sources familiar with White House plans, but probably will not advocate limits on the emission of greenhouse gases (see President’s address to tackle energy and environment). That may not be enough for the US Climate Action Partnership, or the evangelical Christians and Harvard scientists who have banded together to fight global warming (see Climate change unites science and religion). The climate change issue also prompted bipartisan cooperation in Congress. Democrat senator Joe Biden of Delaware, who heads the Foreign Relations Committee, joined the ranking Republican, Indiana’s Richard Lugar, to introduce a resolution urging a US return to international negotiations on climate change. House speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California democrat who has long advocated environment-friendly policies, said on Friday: “It is important to our children’s health and their global competitiveness to rid this nation of our dependence on foreign oil and Big Oil interests.” Pelosi also announced the creation of a new congressional committee dealing specifically with global warming, and the House of Representatives passed legislation aimed at “Big Oil” that would roll back industry tax breaks and force energy companies to pay more in drilling royalties. Climate change is also set to dominate discussions this week at the World Economic Forum in the Swiss ski resort of Davos, where about 900 company chief executives and board chairmen are expected to rub shoulders with 24 heads of state. More on these topics: