April 16, 2008

Bush Speech on Climate Change Doesn’t Go Far Enough, Whitehouse Says

Rhode Island Senator Pushes for Mandatory Limits on Carbon Emissions

Washington, D.C. – President Bush’s remarks today on the nation’s global warming policy fall far short of the urgent action Rhode Islanders have demanded, said U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee who has sponsored legislation to address the impact of climate change on coastal communities and wildlife.

The President today said the United States should halt increases in greenhouse gas emissions by 2025, but did not identify any new initiatives that would adequately address this growing problem. The EPW Committee has approved much more aggressive legislation that would stop the growth in emissions by 2012 and take steps to reduce pollutants by approximately 65 percent by 2050. The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has said that pollutant cuts in this range are necessary to avert the catastrophic effects of global warming.

“President Bush’s new strategy to address climate change is neither new nor a strategy,” Whitehouse said. “Rather, it is weak soup from an administration marked by routine disregard for science and blind deference to the interests of big business. The President’s failure today to push for binding and mandatory limits to control greenhouse gas emissions, such as those contained in the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act, shows the administration’s continuing failure of leadership on environmental issues.

“Global climate change is an urgent problem, and Rhode Islanders have told me they want serious and immediate action to solve it. The President’s meager proposal is unfortunate for our environment and our country.”

Last year, Whitehouse introduced the Global Warming Wildlife Survival Act (S. 2204), which calls for a coordinated national strategy to help wildlife populations and habitats, including coastal and marine animals and ecosystems, adapt to stresses related to climate change. The bill was incorporated into the Climate Security Act (S. 2191), which passed the EPW Committee in December and now awaits consideration by the full Senate. Whitehouse also offered an amendment to the Climate Security Act, which passed in Committee, that would ensure that coastal and Great Lakes communities affected by climate change have the information they need, such as data on projected sea level rise, severe weather, and associated flood risks, to prepare for and adapt to global warming.


Press Contact

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921