U.S. predicting steady rise in greenhouse emissions
- U.S. predicting steady rise in greenhouse emissions
Bush administration draft report projects almost 20% rise in U.S.
emissions by 2020.
By John Heilprin
Sunday, March 04, 2007
WASHINGTON By 2020, U.S. emissions of the gases that lead to global
warming will be almost one-fifth higher than they were in 2000,
increasing the risk of drought and scarce water supplies.
That projection comes from an internal draft report from the Bush
administration that is more than a year overdue at the United
Nations. The Associated Press obtained a copy Saturday.
The United States already is responsible for roughly one-quarter of
the world's carbon dioxide and other so-called greenhouse gases that
scientists blame for global warming.
The draft report, which isn't completed, projects that the current
administration's climate policy would result in the emission of 9.2
billion tons of greenhouse gases in 2020, a 19 percent increase from
7.7 billion tons in 2000.
The administration will decide whether to do more than slowing the
growth rate of greenhouse gas emissions, which is its stated
goal, "as the science justifies," the draft report states. The
biggest source of the gases is the burning of fossil fuels, chiefly
oil, coal and natural gas.
Shortly after taking office, President Bush rejected the 1997 Kyoto
Protocol, a U.N. treaty that requires industrial nations to cut
global warming gases by 2012 by an average 5 percent below 1990
"We're on a path to exceeding levels of global warming that will
cause catastrophic consequences, and we really need to be seriously
reducing emissions, not just reducing the growth rate as the
president is doing," Michael MacCracken, chief scientist at the
nonpartisan Climate Institute in Washington, said Saturday.
The administration's internal draft covers inventories of carbon
dioxide and other greenhouse gases, projected environmental
consequences and policies to limit emissions and risk.
The White House Council on Environmental Quality has been
coordinating the draft report. A spokeswoman, Kristen Hellmer, said
it "will show that the president's portfolio of actions and his
financial commitment to addressing climate change are working. And
the president is always looking at ways to address our energy
security and environmental needs."
Among the consequences of a warming world anticipated in the report
is "a distinct reduction in spring snowpack in the northwestern
United States," which supplies much of that region's water, the draft
Warmer temperatures expected from more greenhouse gases
would "exacerbate present drought risks in the United States by
increasing the rate of evaporation," it says.