National Wildlife Federation Welcomes President’s Thaw on Global Warming

NWF   |   January 24, 2007

National Wildlife Federation welcomes President Bush’s shift on global warming, which was announced by the White House this afternoon in anticipation of the President’s State of the Union remarks tonight.

As the global warming issue heats up across America, the President’s position on global warming is beginning to thaw.

The White House today for the first time said it would work to halt the growth of U.S. global warming pollution from oil, which stands in stark contrast to the president’s five-year old policy of allowing pollution levels to increase indefinitely. While the shift is a step in the right direction, the President’s policy proposals do not measure up to the urgency of the global warming threat to the future of America’s security, wildlife and economy.

The president has dipped a few oars in the water, but he has not fully turned the ship to the right destination. We need to be cutting global warming pollution from gasoline and all other energy sources, and we need to start now with a mandatory program that guarantees results. We need to set goals to cut emissions from all sources, including automobiles, by 20 percent over the next decade. The president’s plan is neither comprehensive nor adequate.

The White House announced today that the president tonight will proclaim ‘the goal of reducing U.S. gasoline usage by 20 percent in the next ten years.’ According to the White House announcement, ‘The president’s plan will help confront climate change by stopping the projected growth of carbon dioxide emissions from cars, light trucks, and SUVs within 10 years.’ America’s dependency on oil currently accounts for about 40 percent of U.S. emissions or carbon dioxide, the pollutant most responsible for global warming. The Department of Energy recently projected that carbon dioxide emissions from oil will grow by 11 percent over the next 10 years and by 29 percent by the year 2030 without action.

The new energy goals cast a puzzling shadow on the Bush Administration’s tactics just last week. President Bush opposed the just-passed House bill to shift billions of dollars of oil subsidies to alternative energy sources. We hope that the overwhelming bipartisan support for that bill, which passed 264 to 163, was a wakeup call for the president. A key question for the president now is whether he will reverse his position as that bill moves through the Senate.

The new White House plan calls once again for opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for drilling, which will sacrifice one of America’s great unspoiled areas. President Bush isn’t listening to the millions of Americans who understand we cannot meet our energy needs by forever spoiling our wild places. Moving to new clean energy alternatives is the only long-term solution to the problem.

We look forward to working on a bipartisan basis in the new Congress to advance effective global warming policies, and to work with the Bush Administration where we have common ground. Recent polls demonstrate that the vast majority of Americans believe global warming is a serious threat and they want our government to act. Leaders in Congress have already announced their intention to move much more aggressively on global warming with binding measures to broadly curb global warming pollution, and the National Wildlife Federation will be assisting those efforts as our top priority.

Published: January 24, 2007