Letter to Senator Hagel:
13 March 2001
March 13, 2001
The Honorable Chuck Hagel
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Senator Hagel:
Thank you for your letter of March 6, 2001,
asking for the Administration's views on global climate change,
in particular the Kyoto Protocol and efforts to regulate carbon
dioxide under the Clean Air Act. My Administration takes the
issue of global climate change very seriously.
As you know, I oppose the Kyoto Protocol
because it exempts 80 percent of the world, including major population
centers such as China and India, from compliance, and would cause
serious harm to the U.S. economy. The Senate's vote, 95-0, shows
that there is a clear consensus that the Kyoto Protocol is an
unfair and ineffective means of addressing global climate change
As you also know, I support a comprehensive
and balanced national energy policy that takes into account the
importance of improving air quality. Consistent with this balanced
approach, I intend to work with the Congress on a multipollutant
strategy to require power plants to reduce emissions of sulfur
dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and mercury. Any such strategy would
include phasing in reductions over a reasonable period of time,
providing regulatory certainty, and offering market-based incentives
to help industry meet the targets. I do not believe, however,
that the government should impose on power plants mandatory emissions
reductions for carbon dioxide, which is not a "pollutant"
under the Clean Air Act.
A recently released Department of Energy
Report, "Analysis of Strategies for Reducing Multiple Emissions
for Power Plants", concluded that including caps on carbon
dioxide emissions as part of a multiple emissions strategy would
lead to an even more dramatic shift from coal to natural gas
for electric power generation and significantly higher electricity
prices compared to scenarios in which only sulfur dioxide and
nitrogen oxides were reduced.
This is important new information that
warrants a reevaluation, especially at a time of rising energy
prices and a serious energy shortage. Coal generates more than
half of America's electricity supply. At a time when California
has already experienced energy shortages, and other Western states
are worried about price and availability of energy this summer,
we must be very careful not to take actions that could harm consumers.
This is especially true given the incomplete state of scientific
knowledge of the causes of, and solutions to, global climate
change and the lack of commercially available technologies for
removing and storing carbon dioxide.
Consistent with these concerns, we will
continue to fully examine global climate change issues -- including
the science, technologies, market-based systems, and innovative
options for addressing concentrations of greenhouse gases in
the atmosphere. I am very optimistic that, with the proper focus
and working with our friends and allies, we will be able to develop
technologies, market incentives, and other creative ways to address
global climate change.
I look forward to working with you and
others to address global climate change issues in the context
of a national energy policy that protects our environment, consumers,
For the letter that engendered this
response, please click here: Hagel
|Lavoisier the Man|
Bio and Image
|Click above for latest SOHO sunspot images.|
Click here for David Archibald on solar cycles.
|Where is that pesky greenhouse signature?|
Click here for David Evans's article.