Bush to push for climate legislation?
This is in the Washington Times, so take it with a very large grain of salt:
President Bush is poised to change course and announce as early as this week that he wants Congress to pass a bill to combat global warming, and will lay out principles for what that should include.
Specifics of the policy are still being fiercely debated, but Bush administration officials have told Republicans in Congress that they feel pressure to act now because they fear a coming regulatory nightmare. It would be the first time Mr. Bush has called for statutory authority on the subject.
Is this a heartening shift toward bipartisan unity or a backhanded attempt to water down legislation while he still can? Discuss.
UPDATE: It seems the WaTimes was on to something. Here’s a chunk from the White House briefing today:
Q Can you talk a little bit about this reported global warming initiative, the timing on that, and what that would entail?
MS. PERINO: Sure. I think that Steve Dinan did a pretty good job this morning of capturing where we are in terms of the discussions. This is — I would say right now there’s no presidential statement scheduled, although that could change.
Just a little bit of background on this. So the President of the United States over the past several years has been working on a series of climate change initiatives. One of them last year — it was in the 2007 State of the Union, he announced the 20-in-10 program, which is to reduce traditional gasoline use; replace it — replace 20 percent of it with renewable or alternative fuels within 10 years. Congress passed that bill. It passed fairly quickly and it didn’t quite go as far and as fast as the President wanted it to. It’s more like 20 percent in 15 years. But the President was happy to sign the bill.
In addition to that, last June, for those of you who were there at the G8 — actually right before the G8, in May of 2007, the President of the United States had a conversation about — had a speech about moving forward to make sure that we had a post-Kyoto process, post-2012 process, which we are now entering into; and one that would include the developing nations — in particular, China and India — because if you don’t include the developing nations and their emissions continue to rise, and we ratchet ours back, basically what you do — all of the economic models show that you shift jobs from here over there, and you continue to increase emissions because they don’t have any limits, and you’ve not solved the global problem of global climate change.
So we entered into the G8 last year with a major economies meeting process. This has been well received. We had the first meeting in September of 2007. There’s another meeting I think — there was a meeting in Bali with the U.N. framework convention on climate change in December 2007. In January I think there was another meeting. And then this coming Thursday and Friday, there’s yet another major economies meeting that’s going to be hosted by President Sarkozy in France. So the conversations that this administration has been having I would characterize as ones that have been ongoing, over many years, but increasingly so since last year as we initiated the major economies process.
So what you have now is two basic things. One, you have this major economies meeting coming up in which the President said, we all need to get to a goal by December 2008. Countries are working towards that and that — the goals would — I think the G8 this year is when they were thinking of every country being able to come forward and talk about what those goals are.
In our process, we say that you can have a goal, but then for your plan, you can come up with the — with your own plan. We’re not going to ascribe how you’re going to solve the problem to other countries. They’re going to have to come up with that on their own because everyone has different fuel mixes and different economic mixes and industrial tracts.
Secondly, the other thing that you have is a regulatory train wreck with many different laws, such as the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act. All have, coming up soon, regulatory paths on climate change that they were never meant to deal with; the original construction of these laws were never meant to deal with them.
And so what you have coming up in June now is a legislative debate. I believe Senator Reid has scheduled the first week of June to bring up a couple of the different bills that are on the path for debate on the Senate floor. And what the President and his team have been working towards is, one, our views on — on especially the Warner-Lieberman bill, are well known, we cannot support it. But our views on how to do this the right way are things that we are talking about. And so I think that’s what — that’s how I would characterize the conversation today.
Also, Revkin has some coverage over at DotEarth.