Outgoing US President George Bush's plans to cap CO2
emissions by 2025 have attracted scorn in Europe, where
the proposed measures are seen as insufficient and overdue.
However, the US is also critical of 'rhetorical' CO2
commitments and favours clean tech development.
"Today, I'm announcing a new national goal - to stop the
growth of US greenhouse gas emissions by 2025" - US President
George Bush said in a 16th April speech at the White House.
Better vehicle fuel efficiency standards, support for second-generation
biofuels, efficiency criteria for appliances, renewable
energy uptake and 'greener' building codes are all part
of the US strategy, Bush said. "These objectives are backed
by a combination of new market-based regulations, new government
incentives and new funding for technology research" - he added.
However, the plans were widely criticised - notably by European
delegates - during a 17-18 April meeting of major emitters
in Paris (Click
Here). The meeting was attended by delegates from
the US, France, Germany, Italy, the UK, Japan, China, Canada,
India, Brazil, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Australia, Indonesia
and South Africa.
"The president has made a disappointing speech that does
not match up to the global challenge" - said Sigmar Gabriel,
Germany's Environment Minister, at a press conference in Paris. EU
Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas also reacted critically,
saying the plans "will not contribute to the effective tackling
of climate change".
In addition, Andrej Kranjc, environment secretary for Slovenia,
which currently holds the rotating EU Presidency, expressed
his "disappointment" with the 2025 target, which is widely
seen as 'too little, too late' - compared with the
EU's commitment to slash GHG emissions by 20% by 2020.
The Bush administration is opposed to EU-style emissions
reductions commitments. "Sudden and drastic emissions cuts
that have no chance of being realised and every chance of
hurting [the US] economy" should be avoided, Bush said.
The position was echoed by James Connaughton, chairman of
the White House Council on Environmental Quality, at a press
conference during the major emitters meeting. "We try to steer
away from rhetorical commitments that have no prayer of being
met" - Connaughton said.
Despite the generally negative reception of Washington's
2025 targets, the US has also recieved praise for outpacing
the EU in terms of spending levels in clean technology research
and development. The US is "way ahead of the curve" in clean
tech development, said Yvo de Boer, who heads the UN's Climate
Change Secretariat, during the Paris meeting.
Most observers do no expect major progress in the US towards
a comprehensive CO2 cap-and-trade regime
similar to the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) until
a new presidential administration is voted into office in