At a March 29
press conference, President George Bush was asked about his position
on the control of CO2. He replied:
". . . circumstances
have changed since the campaign. We're now in an energy crisis. And
that's why I decided to not have mandatory caps on CO2,
because in order to meet those caps, our nation would have had to
have had a lot of natural gas immediately flow into the system, which
is impossible. We don't have the infrastructure able to move natural
to have an active exploration program. One of the big debates that's
taking place in the Congress, or will take place in the Congress,
is whether or not we should be exploring for natural gas in Alaska,
for example, in ANWR [Arctic National Wildlife Refuge].
think we should in order to make sure that we've got enough gas to
be able to help reduce greenhouse emissions in the country. See, gas
is clean, and yet there is not enough of it. And we've got pipeline
capacity problems in the country. We have an energy shortage.
"I look forward
to explaining this today to the leader of Germany as to why I made
the decision I made. We'll be working with Germany; we'll be working
with our allies to reduce greenhouse gases. But I will not accept
a plan that will harm our economy and hurt American workers."
Later in the press
conference, President Bush was asked about consultation with American
allies about the Kyoto Treaty. The President replied:
of the CO2 issue, I will explain as clearly as I can, today and every
other chance I get, that we will not do anything that harms our economy.
Because, first things first, are the people who live in America. That's
my priority. And I'm worried about the economy. I'm worried about
the lack of an energy policy. I'm worried about rolling blackouts
in California. It's in our national interest that we develop a strong
energy policy, with realistic, common-sense environmental policy.
And I'm going to explain that to our friends."
CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACTS REPORT:
Last year, the
National Assessment Synthesis Team released a draft version of a report
entitled, "Climate Change Impacts on the United States: The Potential
Consequences of Climate Variability and Change" (see FYI
#69.) This report, prepared under the US Global Change Research
Program, was completed in November. The team was co-chaired by Anthony
Janetos, Thomas Karl, and Jerry Melillo.
There are two
components of the report, the first being a recently published 600 page
"Foundation" report. Of perhaps greater interest to the public is the
154-page "Overview." Both are available for viewing and purchase at
The Overview is enriched by easily-understood graphs, maps, photos and
The Overview begins
by stating, "The Assessment's purpose is to synthesize, evaluate, and
report on what we presently know about the potential consequences of
climate variability and change for the US in the 21st century." It observes
that "present knowledge is limited," and later states, "Because we cannot
predict many aspects of our nation's future climate, we have used scenarios
to explore US vulnerability to climate change." Limitations and differences
in the scenarios are clearly explained.
confirm that our climate is now changing at a rapid rate. . . . The
science indicates that the warming in the 21st century will be significantly
larger than in the 20th century," the report declares. The Overview
then examines the projected consequences of a 5 to 9 degree warming
in average U.S. temperatures in the next century. Regional climate change
will vary widely, with some areas of the United States subjected to
more frequent heavy and extreme precipitation events while other areas
will become drier. Ecosystems will respond differently, with some vulnerable
systems, such as barrier islands, disappearing completely. Snowpack
changes in the West, Northwest, and Alaska are termed "especially important."
It is predicted that the food supply will remain secure, with varying
impacts on forest growth. Projections indicate that coastal areas and
Alaska's permafrost will be threatened. Adaptation will be necessary
to mitigate negative human health impacts. Climate change will very
likely magnify other environmental stresses. The Assessment cautions
that "uncertainties remain and surprises are expected."
An important contribution
of this report is its presentation of how climate change could affect
different areas of the United States. Policymakers will find these sections
of particular interest. Also explained are the possible impacts on five
specific sectors: agriculture, water, human health, forests, and coastal
areas and marine resources.
The report concludes
with a discussion of Research Pathways. It states: "It is vital to our
national interest that we meet these research needs so that we can,
with increasing certainty, address the critical question: How vulnerable
or resilient are the nation's natural and human resources and systems
to the changes in climate projected to occur over the decades ahead?
With the new vision of regional analysis and scientist-stakeholder partnerships
developed in the National Assessment, we have a powerful approach to
effectively address this complex question."