Bush to Endorse 'Intermediate' Emissions Goal

By Dan Eggen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 16, 2008

President Bush will endorse an "intermediate goal" today for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but he will not put forward any specific legislation or proposal on how the goal should be met, White House officials said.

In an afternoon address in the Rose Garden, Bush will also reiterate his long-standing opposition to mandatory emissions regulations without simultaneous agreements from large developing nations such as India and China, officials said.

"The president will announce tomorrow an intermediate goal that will lead to a long-term goal" through ongoing negotiations on global climate change, said White House spokesman Tony Fratto.

White House officials declined to release more details yesterday. But Bush's announcement appears unlikely to contain much in the way of new proposals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, according to environmental advocates and industry representatives.

Bush has long made clear that he does not support mandatory reductions without similar cuts in developing nations, and he objects to proposals on Capitol Hill to create a mandatory system for reducing the greenhouse gases that are a major cause of climate change.

"This basically sounds like the same quarterback calling the same play," said Daniel J. Weiss, director of climate strategy at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank. "It's just another way of Bush saying no."

But Scott Segal, a lobbyist and director of the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council, which represents power companies, said Bush's address appears to be aimed at sending a signal to Congress that the administration wants a role in the greenhouse gas debate.

"It doesn't come as any surprise that the executive branch would want to become more actively involved on legislation involving climate change," he said.

Bush's address will come on the eve of a round of international climate-change negotiations in Paris on Thursday and Friday. Administration officials spent the past week briefing congressional Republicans and industry representatives on their plans, signaling that they feel pressure to take action in light of a year-old Supreme Court decision directing the Environmental Protection Agency to determine whether carbon dioxide emissions endanger public health and welfare.

In a little-noticed speech in Detroit on Monday, an EPA official indicated that the Bush administration is not likely to regulate carbon dioxide. Margo Oge, who heads the EPA's office of transportation and air quality, told reporters it is "not realistic" for her agency to decide whether to regulate greenhouse gases by the end of Bush's term, according to the Associated Press.

Staff writer Juliet Eilperin contributed to this report.

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