Environmentalists were optimistic last week that a new federal report acknowledging that emissions from automobiles and power plants have contributed to warmer temperatures in North America since 1950 would lead to a policy shift by the Bush administration on global warming. But despite the report, a White House spokesperson reiterated that President Bush still believes that the connection between carbon dioxide emissions and global warming is inconclusive, and that voluntary reductions are sufficient for the time being.
“The president’s policy is the same … we need to fill in the knowledge and the scientific gaps,” says White House spokesperson Trent Duffy.
The Bush administration opted out of an international treaty—the Kyoto Protocol—that calls on participating industrialized nations to curb emissions of so-called “greenhouse gases,” which nearly all scientists believe are causing global warming. According to the White House, implementing the mandate of the Kyoto Protocol would be too costly to the U.S. economy and would not restrict emissions from developing countries like China, which pose a huge pollution threat moving forward. Instead, the White House has called on American power plant and oil refinery owners to cut carbon dioxide emissions voluntarily.