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Hagel Praises Bush's Climate Change Initiative Far More Responsible Approach than the Kyoto Protocol

February 14, 2002

Hagel Praises Bush's Climate Change Initiative Far More Responsible Approach than the Kyoto Protocol

Washington - U.S. President George Bush will today layout a comprehensive, forward-looking proposal to address the challenge of climate change. The following is a statement by U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) on the President's plan:

"I support the President's strong and common sense leadership on this issue. He is moving forward to reduce the intensity of our greenhouse gas emissions, increase funding for science and technology, and work with the other nations of the world.

President Bush's proposal relies on American ingenuity and technology, not arbitrary international mandates. It recognizes the uncertainty in the science of climate change, and the gaps in our knowledge, and funds new scientific initiatives to ensure we can learn more about how our climate changes and why. The President outlines ways to work with other nations, particularly developing nations - who are left completely out of the Kyoto Protocol. The President's plan ensures that the American economy, the engine of growth and hope for much of the world, is not choked off by draconian measures.

The Kyoto Protocol would have eliminated millions of jobs in America. It would have driven our economy downward. It would have eliminated opportunities for investment, such as clean energy technology, in developing countries. It would have driven a stake through any hope of prosperity for America. The Kyoto Protocol is a fool's errand. It's not a global treaty - it exempts many of the world's largest emitters of greenhouse gases. The President was right to reject the Kyoto approach. The U.S. Senate would have done the same if President Clinton had ever seen fit to send the treaty to the Senate.

President Bush's proposal today takes the right approach to a complicated issue:

He articulates an achievable goal to reduce the greenhouse gas intensity of the U.S. economy by 18% over the next 10 years. It will take work on our part to reach this goal, but it can be done through a strong push in voluntary initiatives and improved technology. The Energy Information Administration reported today that voluntary reductions by U.S. industry increased in 2000. This approach is very similar to what Japan has laid out -- a voluntary system among industry to seize the initiative and reduce emissions to a stated goal.

He directs the Secretary of Energy to expand and enhance a registry program for industry and individuals to record their progress on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The President recognizes the positive role U.S. agriculture can play through carbon sequestration. His plan provides $3 billion over the next 10 years to programs that would save or remove roughly 35 million metric tons of carbon each year.

He dramatically increases funding for scientific research and the development of new technologies. The President's budget includes $4.5 billion for climate change programs in 2003 - including new tax credits for renewable sources of energy.

And the President reaches out to the rest of the world, particularly to developing nations. He allocates nearly $400 million next year to work with these countries. Our partnerships with developing nations can help increase the efficiency of their energy use, and reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions. Something the Kyoto Protocol doesn't even attempt to do.

Many parts of the President's proposal are similar to legislation I introduced last summer with my colleagues - Senators Craig, Murkowski, Domenici, Roberts, and Bond. Working together, here in the Senate, and with the White House, we can take action that will reduce the intensity of our greenhouse gas emissions, increase our knowledge of climate change, challenge the ingenuity of American industry and technology, and protect the lifeblood of our economy."