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The Planet

Global Warming Solutions

The Planet, July/August 1997, Volume 4, number 6

What we should be doing:

  1. The Clinton administration should be negotiating a strong, enforceable and legally binding global warming treaty that protects our children's future by cutting global warming pollution 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2005.
  2. The president should raise miles-per-gallon (CAFE) standards to from 27.5 mpg to 45 mpg for cars and from 20.7 mpg to 34 mpg for light trucks, as the majority of the commission he appointed recommended.
  3. Increase research and investment into clean car technology like hydrogen fuel cells and improved batteries.
  4. Cut subsidies for oil and coal development. Increase funding for clean, renewable energy like wind and solar power.
  5. Raise energy efficiency standards for home appliances and electronics. Create incentives for homeowners and businesses to become more efficient.
  6. Require that any energy industry restructuring encourage energy efficiency and the use of clean, renewable technology, and that dirty, coal-fired power plants switch to cleaner natural gas.

What we are doing:

  1. President Clinton is negotiating a weak, unenforceable treaty based on risky trading schemes and "borrowing" pollution reductions from the future. He seeks to stabilize global warming pollution at 1990 levels by the years 2010-2015 (the George Bush goal put it off 15 years, but made it mandatory.)
  2. President Clinton appointed a commission to study global warming pollution from cars and trucks, but hasn't heeded the majority's recommendation to raise CAFE standards. Congress has frozen CAFE for the last several years. This year bills (H.R. 880 and S. 286) are circulating that would repeal the president's authority to manage CAFE standards. The White House has not actively opposed these measures.
  3. Chrysler and GM are pursuing fuel cells that run on gasoline, effectively perpetuating our addiction to oil and pollution of our atmosphere. The Clinton administration's Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles has yet to produce significant gains in fuel economy.
  4. Current budget plans include continued coal and oil subsidies. A recent spending authorization bill (H.R. 1277) sought to blend funding for clean, renewable energy with general research funds (including nuclear and coal). The Clinton administration has proposed increases in energy efficiency and renewable energy budgets, but Congress blocked many of them.
  5. New energy efficiency plans have been slow to materialize. After several years of delay, the administration recently adopted stronger standards for refrigerators.
  6. Coal-fired power plants continue to dominate the U.S. energy market. Projections indicate that utility deregulation may actually increase coal consumption.

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