Bush Addresses Climate Change in State of the Union Address

In his State of the Union Address last night, President Bush announced plans to address global climate change and energy dependence through a mandatory renewable fuel standard and increased development of solar and wind power.

Bush proposed cutting U.S. gas consumption 20 percent by 2017. In order to do that, he supported raising the mandatory fuel standard for renewable and “alternative” fuels to 5 times the current levels and raising fuel economy standards. He also mentioned increasing battery research for hybrid cars. “These technologies will help us be better stewards of the environment, and they will help us to confront the serious challenge of global climate change,” he said. Upon Bush’s recognition of climate change, members of Congress stood and clapped. Congress clapped for most issues, but there were fewer issues that got a standing ovation. It was the first time that the President has so bluntly addressed the issue of climate change. In a press release issued this morning, the Union of Concerned Scientists said that “if this fuel economy goal is required by law, it would save 550,000 barrels of oil per day in 2017, more than we currently import from Iraq. The increase would also cut global warming pollution by 95 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in that same year. This is equivalent to taking 14 million of today’s cars and trucks off the road.” While the President’s proposals are welcome by renewable energy advocates, many believe they do not go far enough. “The president convinced us that we have an energy problem, but he hasn’t convinced us that he has a solution. He defined a bold goal, but needs to give us the tools to reach it,” said Jerome Ringo, President of the Apollo Alliance. “Members of Congress from both parties have proposed legislation that goes farther than what the president put on the table. President Bush could be leading this march, but instead, he is falling to the back of the line,” said Ringo. In addition to more renewable energy, Bush called for a doubling of the U.S. strategic petroleum reserve, more development of coal and nuclear power and increased domestic oil exploration. According to energy policy analyst Scott Sklar, even though the president mentioned climate change, “the environmental groups got none of what they directly wanted towards establishing some sort of mandatory emissions caps.” Many of those environmental groups are hoping that Congress will introduce the caps that the President left out of his speech.
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I am a reporter with ClimateProgress.org, a blog published by the Center for American Progress. I am former editor and producer for RenewableEnergyWorld.com, where I contributed stories and hosted the Inside Renewable Energy Podcast. Keep in touch through twitter! My profile name is: Stphn_Lacey

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