President's Announcement Fails to Respond to the Severity of Global Warming Crisis

Having returned this afternoon from a bipartisan fact-finding mission to Greenland and European capitals that focused on global warming, I have to say I am disappointed by the President's announcement today. After years of inaction and denial, on the eve of the G-8 Summit, the President has finally acknowledged the severity of the global warming threat and agreed that we need a follow-up agreement to the Kyoto Protocol that he has spent most of his Administration studiously ignoring.

But today's announcement fails to respond to the severity of the crisis that most of the rest of the world has long since recognized. Instead of fresh thinking, the President today just rehashed the same stale proposals he has repeatedly put forward to the international community. Technology transfers and voluntary emissions targets are not enough to reverse global warming.

Yes, we must develop innovative energy technologies and disseminate them as rapidly as possible to both developed and developing nations. But the President fails to recognize that innovative public policies — featuring mandatory, market-based strategies to achieve significant cuts in greenhouse gas emissions — are also essential to achieving significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

Far from being innovative, the President's proposal duplicates activities already underway by the United Nations to build on the Kyoto Protocol and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The U.S.-sponsored meetings he proposes are likely to require considerable time and effort without advancing a new international agreement to address global warming.