The United States Goes Its Own

President George H. W. Bush's administration (1989-1993) opposed precise deadlines for CO2 limits, arguing that the extent of the problem was too uncertain to justify painful economic measures. However, in 1989 the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) was established and later authorized by Congress in the Global Change Research Act of 1990.

When President Bill Clinton took office in 1993, he joined the European Community in calling for overall emissions to be stabilized at 1990 levels by 2000, but this goal was not met. In October 1993 the United States, under the UNFCCC, released The Climate Change Action Plan detailing the nation's response to climate change. The plan included a set of measures by both government and the private sector to lay a foundation for the nation's participation in world response to the climate challenge.

The Action Plan called for measures to reduce emissions for all greenhouse gases to 1990 levels by 2000. However, the U.S. economy grew at a more robust rate than anticipated, which led to increased emissions. Furthermore, the U.S. Congress did not provide full funding for the actions contained in the plan.

Even though the United States had a comprehensive global warming program in place, Congress was reluctant to take steps to reduce emissions. However, the Clinton administration implemented some policies that did not

require congressional approval. These included tax incentives and investments focusing on improving energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies, coordinating federal efforts to develop renewable fuels technology, and requiring all federal government agencies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions below 1990 levels by 2010. President Clinton also established the U.S. Climate Change Research Initiative to study areas of uncertainty about global climate change science and identify priorities for public investments.

After President George W. Bush took office in 2001 he established a new cabinet-level management structure to oversee government investments in climate change science and technology. Both the U.S. Climate Change Research Initiative and the USGCRP were placed under the oversight of the Interagency Climate Change Science Program (CCSP), which reports integrated research sponsored by thirteen federal agencies. The CCSP is overseen by the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Council on Environmental Quality, and the Office of Management and Budget.

In June 2002 the George W. Bush administration released the third National Communication of the United States of America under the UNFCCC. The U.S. Climate Action Report—2002 ( oar/globalwarming.nsf/content/ResourceCenterPublica-tionsUSClimateActionReport.html) acknowledged that greenhouse gases resulting from human activities were accumulating in the atmosphere and that they were causing air and ocean temperatures to increase. It did not rule out, however, the still-unknown role of natural variability in global warming. In addition, the report reiterated that the administration planned to reduce the nation's greenhouse gas intensity by 18% over the following decade through a combination of existing regulations and voluntary, incentive-based measures.

The report also projected levels of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions through the year 2020. As shown in Figure 3.12 these emissions are expected to increase by 32% between 2000 and 2020. However, the rate of increase per five-year interval is expected to decrease over the entire projection period. This slowdown is expected to be implemented by developing and implementing cleaner technologies and fuel substitutions. The vast majority of greenhouse gas emissions is expected to be carbon dioxide. The breakdown of these emissions by sector projected for 2020 is shown in Figure 3.13. Transportation is expected to account for 36% of all CO2 emissions in 2020. In 2000 transportation accounted for 32% of CO2 emissions.

In July 2003 the CCSP published two major reports: Strategic Plan for the U.S. Climate Change Science Program and The U.S. Climate Change Science Program: Vision for the Program and Highlights

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