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Speeches By EPA Administrator

 

Advanced Vehicle Technologies Event Washington, D.C.

02/04/1998
             Carol M. Browner, Administrator
              U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
                               
                 Remarks Prepared for Delivery
              Advanced Vehicle Technologies Event
                         Washington, DC
                        February 4, 1998

     
     Thank you, Dr. Gibbons.  I am delighted to join you, Secretaries Pena and Slater, and Under Secretary Gansler for this important announcement -- one that heralds a new level of commitment to developing technologies that will help bring a safer, cleaner and healthier world for future generations.

      As the President said last week in his State of the Union address, global warming is for real.

     Modern industrial activity -- particularly the burning of fossil fuels -- is filling the atmosphere with carbon dioxide and other "greenhouse gases," which trap the Sun's heat in the atmosphere and cause the steady, gradual warming of the Earth's surface temperatures.

     The vast majority of the world's scientists have warned us that if we don't begin to tackle this problem now, we will leave a legacy of climate change and environmental damage that will greatly burden future generations.

     That's why President Clinton is determined that America shall lead the world in meeting the challenge of global warming by reducing greenhouse gases -- and doing so in a way that grows the economy.

     History tells us that we can do this -- we can meet the twin challenge of strong environmental and public health protection and strong economic growth -- because a healthy environment and  that strong environmental protection and economic progress really do go hand in hand.

     Today -- after more than a quarter century of strong measures against pollution -- the air we breathe, the water we drink and the land on which we live is cleaner and healthier.  And our economy is nearly twice the size of what it was when we began this process.

     The essential key to our success has been good, old American ingenuity -- businesses, government and academia working together to find new ways to reduce pollution, new ways to protect the public's health.

     Addressing the challenge of global warming means investing in new technologies and using America's technological leadership to develop new ways to make things, new ways to get where we want to go, to work and to play.

     So, in order to meet the global warming challenge, President Clinton has proposed to harness the power of the free market -- through $6 billion in tax incentives and research initiatives to encourage development of new anti-pollution technologies.

     One of the areas we hope to see great progress in the near term is in developing technologies for cleaner, more fuel-efficient motor vehicles.

     The fact is that motor vehicles contribute a quarter of the greenhouse gas emissions that causing global climate change.  And this contribution is growing.

     Today, a typical car wastes 80 to 85 percent of the energy contained in a gallon of gasoline.

     Global warming, of course, is not the only pollution problem caused by motor vehicles.  In our largest cities, motor vehicles contribute up to half of the emissions that cause smog -- one of our most serious urban air pollution problems.

      What Secretaries Pena and Slater and Under Secretary Gansler are announcing today is exactly the kind of cooperation that's needed to ensure future progress on advanced vehicle technologies.

     There are other, ongoing efforts, as well.  EPA, for example, has long been an active and enthusiastic participant in the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles -- PNGV -- an historic partnership between the federal government and the U.S. auto industry to develop vehicles with very low emissions and up to three times the fuel efficiency of today's conventional cars.

     The technologies developed under this initiative will lead to cars that are more fuel efficient.  We're talking about tripling the gas mileage of today's cars.  We're also talking about vehicles that emit fewer greenhouse gases and smog-forming emissions.

     Our industry partners within the PNGV partnership have agreed that stringent emission goals must be a requirement for successful new technologies.  As the Vice President stated clearly last July, "we will not trade off clean air" in order to improve vehicle fuel economy.

     And, in order to get these vehicles to market more quickly, the President is proposing -- as part of his $6 billion tax incentive program -- an income tax credit for consumers who purchase these advanced technology vehicles.

     EPA is also involved in a number of initatives to working with industry to produce cleaner, more fuel-efficient engines for trucks, buses, and construction equipment.

     These technologies are showing a lot of promise.  And we look forward to working with other agencies -- the Departments of Energy, Transporation and Defense in particular -- toward increasing our commitment to successful partnerships to make our world cleaner and healthier for future generations.

     It is a privilege to introduce the Secretary of Energy, Federico Pena, who has more to tell us about today's announcement and what it means for advanced vehicle technologies.  Secretary Pena....