20080416 bush carbon speech 18
President Bush speaks in the White House rose garden. Bush called for caps on growth of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2025. - 


TESS VIGELAND: Today in the White House Rose Garden, President Bush called for government limits on carbon dioxide emissions. He set a target of stopping the growth of greenhouse gases in the US by 2025. It's a major policy shift for an administration that has resisted curbs on the burning of fossil fuels.

Marketplace's John Dimsdale reports the president is jumping on board a trend that already has lots of momentum.

JOHN DIMSDALE: President Bush said he's worried the courts are trying to expand decades-old environmental laws to impose expensive regulations on businesses. He asked Congress to pass economically sustainable climate change laws.

PRESIDENT BUSH: The wrong way is to raise taxes, duplicate mandates or demand sudden and drastic emissions cuts that have no chance of being realized and every chance of hurting our economy.

In a few weeks Congress takes up a bipartisan bill that goes much farther than the president. It requires reductions in carbon pollution by 2020. Fred Krupp, at the Environmental Defense Fund, says the Bush plan is too modest.

FRED KRUPP: The President's goal is not ambitious enough to avert the serious economic costs of climate change. We have over 250 existing technologies that could begin to reduce emissions now. There's no reason to wait to begin reductions until 2025.

The White House goals depend heavily on technological innovations at electric power plants. Dan Riedinger, at the Edison Electric Institute, says the president's goal may be too ambitious.

DAN RIEDINGER: A lot of it does depend on what role, not just the utility sector plays in this, but all sectors of the US economy sharing the burdens, and I don't think anyone could predict right now what an appropriate time line will be.

All sides anticipate even stricter government limits on pollution from a new administration next year.

In Washington, I'm John Dimsdale for Marketplace.