Among the many policy issues facing the world, few are as complex as global climate change. Countless scientific, technological and economic issues affect our understanding of the climate conundrum and our response to it. Huge uncertainties exist in these fields, and new climate observations, scientific studies and technological developments are constantly added to the equation. One fact, however, is indisputable: President Bush has crafted the strongest, smartest and most practical climate-change program the U.S. has ever had. No previous Administration has devoted as much Cabinet-level attention to the issue or provided such resources to climate-change science, technology and mitigation programs. America has never before engaged in so many bilateral climate-change partnerships with both developed and developing nations, including China, India, Japan, Australia, Canada and Italy, as well as the European Union.
Last February the President unveiled a comprehensive policy with three main goals: resolving uncertainties in the science, developing and deploying new technologies, and strengthening domestic and international efforts to increase energy efficiency, improve air quality and prevent greenhouse-gas emissions. Collectively, the Administration's initiatives set America on a path to slow the projected growth of emissions while developing the scientific and technological knowledge and economic strength needed to enable us to ultimately stabilize or reduce emissions, as science justifies such action.
For the first time, our strategy establishes a specific and realistic goal: to reduce America's greenhouse-gas emissions relative to the size of our economy 18% over the next 10 years. Although American businesses continue to improve their energy efficiency and productivity, the President's goal is to accelerate that trend an additional 30%--the equivalent of taking 70 million cars off the road or avoiding roughly 500 million metric tons of greenhouse gases. In fact, meeting the President's goal will require emissions reductions comparable with what the Kyoto Protocol parties hope to attain--but without the devastating economic consequences of the Kyoto approach.
The President's 2003 budget provides $4.5 billion for climate-related programs, a 17% funding increase. This includes $1.7 billion for basic research on climate change and $1.2 billion for research on advanced energy technologies. This funding, unmatched in the world, ensures America's leadership in efforts to develop important technologies such as a pollution-free, fuel-cell-powered car.