An effective approach to climate change cannot be developed in isolation from other pressing needs. Rather, it needs to be addressed as part of an integrated agenda that promotes economic growth, provides energy security, reduces pollution, and also mitigates GHG emissions. Meeting these complementary objectives will require a sustained, long-term commitment by all nations over many generations.
The Administration approach balances the desire to achieve near-term results, protect the economy, and capitalize on scientific and technological innovation. Major elements of this approach include (1) implementing near-term policies and measures to slow the growth in GHG emissions; (2) advancing climate change science; (3) accelerating technology development and commercialization; and (4) promoting international collaboration.
For fiscal years 2001 through 2007, the Federal Government devoted about $37 billion to science, technology, international assistance, and incentive programs that support climate change objectives.
Near-Term Policies and Measures
In 2002, President Bush set an ambitious but achievable national goal to reduce the GHG intensity—that is, emissions per unit of economic output—of the U.S. economy by 18 percent by 2012. Based on projections of energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) in its Annual Energy Outlook 2002 (for CO2) and of other GHG emissions by the Environmental Protection Agency, the projected “business-as-usual” improvement in U.S. GHG intensity over this period was about 14 percent.6 The President’s objective, therefore, represents about a 29 percent improvement in the rate of improvement over the 10 years. Compared to the business-as-usual projection, the Administration estimated that achieving this commitment could avoid an additional 367 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MMTCO2-eq) emissions in 2012 and could result in cumulative savings of more than 1,833 MMTCO2-eq emissions over the decade.
This goal was set with the confidence that smarter policies would stimulate renewed investment in innovation and productivity. The Administration continues to implement many programs to help achieve this goal, including partnerships, consumer information campaigns, incentives, and mandatory regulations. These programs are directed at developing and deploying cleaner and more efficient energy technologies, encouraging energy conservation, and providing incentives for sequestration. Climate VISION is one of these programs.