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Bush's Climate Change Plan Is Seriously Flawed

February 14, 2002

President Bush's Climate Change Plan Is Seriously Flawed And Is Based On The Fallacy That Climate Action Will Harm The U.S. Economy

OAKLAND, Calif.--Redefining Progress argues that the climate change policy outlined today by President Bush is seriously flawed. The proposal is the latest remarkable failure by the United States to deal with an issue requiring immediate action.

"Despite the president's claim, his climate change plan will not put the United States on the road towards a sustainable economy," said Redefining Progress Executive Director Michel Gelobter. "It will lead to greater national security risks, enhanced dependency on foreign energy sources, and increased health and economic hardships having a disproportionate impact on low-income households, communities of color, and Indigenous Peoples."

"The United States, to our detriment, has once again refused to take the lead on climate change. As the greatest emitter of greenhouse emissions, we appear willing only to be the largest contributor to the problem," added Gelobter. "Our failure to act, moreover, is based on the false premise that taking action will seriously harm the U.S. economy."

The White House continues to ignore the wealth of research explaining how the United States can make significant cuts to greenhouse gas emissions while strengthening the economy, protecting jobs, and promoting social justice.

In fact, over 2,500 economists signed the "Economists' Statement on Climate Change" to make the point that there are market-based solutions, unlike those proposed today by President Bush, that can be used to make credible and significant greenhouse gas emission reductions. The statement, drafted in 1997 before the Kyoto negotiations as testimony to the power of such policies, declares in part:

"For the United States in particular, sound economic analysis shows that there are policy options that would slow climate change without harming American living standards, and these measures may in fact improve U.S. productivity in the longer run."

(The full text of the Economists' Statement on Climate Change is available on-line at

Subsequent studies sponsored by Redefining Progress and other organizations have outlined various policy solutions. For example, one Redefining Progress study examined the effect on 498 industries of using revenue from greenhouse gas emission charges to reduce payroll taxes and/or corporate taxes on capital income, such as retained earnings and dividends. The study found that 73-80 percent of industries, employing 78-92 percent of workers, would benefit from such environmental tax shifting plans.


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