ACHRNEWS

Bush Administration Report Says Climate Is Changing

June 7, 2002
WASHINGTON, DC — Making an abrupt change from its original environmental stance, the Bush administration has issued a new report, “U.S. Climate Action Report 2002,” stating that global warming will have a significant impact on the environment in this country in the coming years.

Although the report notes that the president wanted to “take a deeper look at climate change policy” and that, as a result of changes in U.S. climate, the nation may see such things as “extreme weather events,” the administration does not indicate any basic change in policy, such as acceptance of the Kyoto Protocol, which the president earlier rejected.

Instead, the report recommends that the United States continue to take efforts to “reduce vulnerability and adapt to climate change.”

These ongoing efforts at adaptation “address public health and environmental problems that are of urgent concern today and that may be exacerbated by climate change. Examples include reducing the spread of malaria; increasing agricultural and forest productivity; reducing the damages from extreme weather events; and improving methods to forecast their timings and locations.

“Besides benefiting society in the short term, these efforts will enhance our ability to adapt to climate change in the longer term.

“Challenges associated with climate change will most likely increase during the 21st century,” the report admits. “Although changes in the environment will surely occur, our nation’s economy should continue to provide the means for successful adaptation to climate changes.”

WORKING WITH OTHER COUNTRIES

In order to address climate change effectively, the report indicates, “Developed and developing countries must meet environmental challenges together. The United States is committed to helping developing countries and countries with economies in transition meet these challenges in ways that promote economic well-being and protect natural resources.

“This commitment has involved many players, ranging from government to the private sector, who have contributed significant resources to developing countries.”

Assistance can take the form of emissions control equipment and techniques and equipment to increase energy efficiency.

“Projects that target the transfer of soft technologies, such as capacity building and institution strengthening through the sharing of technical expertise, can help countries reduce their vulnerability to the impacts of climate change,” says the document.

“But whether hard or soft, technology transfer programs are most effective when they are approached collaboratively and are congruent with the development objectives and established legal framework of the target country.”

RESEARCH LEADER

“The United States leads the world in research on climate and other global environmental changes,” the report continues, “funding approximately half of the world’s climate change research expenditures. We intend to continue funding research in order to ensure vigorous, ongoing programs aimed at narrowing the uncertainties in our knowledge of climate change.

The administration’s new initiatives regarding climate change “are intended to result in significant improvements in climate modeling, observation, and research efforts. The long-term vision embraced by the new initiatives is to help government, the private sector, and communities make informed management decisions regarding climate change in light of persistent uncertainties.”

The report also addresses education and outreach, stating, “The goal of all of these endeavors…is to create an informed populace. The United States is committed to providing citizens with access to the information necessary to critically evaluate the consequences of policy options to address climate change in a cost-effective manner that is sustainable and effective.”

The complete report can be found on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website at www.epa.gov/globalwarming/publications/car/index.html.

Publication date: 06/10/2002