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President Bush has a habit of promising action on climate change—and then not delivering. In his campaign, he came out in support of mandatory curbs on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, only to quickly backtrack after becoming President. In 2002, he offered a ‘plan’ to fight global warming, but it was a meager collection of support for technology and voluntary targets. In May 2007, he issued an executive order calling for regulatory steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles by 2008, but his agencies never came out with an actual proposal for accomplishing those reductions. And last fall, he called a special climate summit to forge a new international path to tackling climate change, only to get skewered by the rest of the world after he offered no new solutions.
Now, the White House seems to be at it again. Bush has planned a Rose Garden speech for Wednesday, April 16. The Administration leaked a story to the Washington Times on Monday, saying that Bush would finally give up his opposition to mandatory curbs. But even as rumors of the plan begin to spread through Washington, the response already is that the proposal is far too little too late. For instance, Bush is expected to call for curbs only on emissions from utilities, not on any other sector of the economy. The emissions reductions targets he is expected to propose also will be criticized for being too small, and too far in the future, to do much good. The better approach, climate scientists say, is an economy-wide cap and trade bill, like the Warner-Lieberman bill now being considered by the Senate. Bush has already said that such a bill is unacceptable.
BusinessWeek correspondents John Carey and Mark Scott, cover the green scene, keeping on top of the business aspects of energy, the environment and climate change, as well as the technologies, policies, markets and people that are shaping how the earth's resources will be used in the century ahead.