Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Gore: GHG emissions freeze needed now
September 19, 2006
Gore Calls for Immediate Freeze on Heat-Trapping Gas Emissions
By ANDREW C. REVKIN
Former Vice President Al Gore called yesterday for a popular movement in the United States to seek an “immediate freeze” in heat-trapping smokestack and tailpipe gases linked by most scientists to global warming.
Speaking at the New York University law school, Mr. Gore said that rising temperatures posed an enormous threat and that only a movement akin to the nuclear freeze campaign for arms control a generation ago, which he said he opposed at the time, would push elected officials out of longstanding deadlock on the issue.
“Merely engaging in high-minded debates about theoretical future reductions while continuing to steadily increase emissions represents a self-delusional and reckless approach,” Mr. Gore said. “In some ways, that approach is worse than doing nothing at all, because it lulls the gullible into thinking that something is actually being done, when in fact it is not.”
President Bush has opposed requiring cuts in heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide, saying a better payoff will come from a long-term effort to find or improve technologies that provide energy without emissions. The White House last night defended that approach.
“This administration is not just talking about climate change,” said Kristen A. Hellmer, a White House spokeswoman. “There are more than 60 programs in place aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions that do not hurt the economy or move jobs overseas.”
Senator James M. Inhofe, Republican of Oklahoma and chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, said the Gore proposals would create “economic calamity.”
Several representatives of industry groups said yesterday that the White House had been consulting with industry officials to consider a new energy initiative.
In his speech, Mr. Gore also renewed a longstanding proposal to replace all payroll taxes with taxes on pollution, including carbon dioxide. And he said the United States should rejoin the Kyoto Protocol, the climate treaty, rejected by President Bush that requires industrialized countries to cut emissions.
Mr. Gore has ridden a wave of attention since spring over “An Inconvenient Truth,” the popular film and best-selling book built around an illustrated talk on what he calls a “planetary emergency.”
His speech in Manhattan came ahead of a burst of planned discourse on global warming this week, including five Congressional hearings and three days of workshops at the Clinton Global Initiative, which are intended to solve the biggest problems hampering international development.
Philip E. Clapp, the president of the National Environmental Trust, a Washington group pressing for limits on heat-trapping gases, said he welcomed Mr. Gore’s speech.
“There is no excuse anymore to continue to increase our emissions,” Mr. Clapp said.