Speeches By EPA Administrator
Administrator Johnson, Luncheon Address at the Major Economies Meeting, Washington, D.C.09/27/2007
|Good afternoon. It’s a pleasure to be a part of this international forum on climate change. |
At the U.S. EPA, we take the challenge of global climate change seriously, and so does President Bush. This is why the Administration is taking aggressive, yet responsible action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while strengthening the American economy. In fact, since 2001, the Bush Administration has spent more than $37 billion on climate change science, technology and tax incentive programs.
However, the challenge of global climate change is exactly that: global. And the goal we are working towards is stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations to prevent dangerous interference with the climate system.
Allow me to frame the challenge; how do we stabilize global emissions when energy demand will double or triple as by 2100? The answer is: We must transform the way the world generates and uses energy. To do so, we need cost-effective advanced technologies and policies to incentivize those technologies. And at a massive scale.
For example, currently about 0.05 gigatons of carbon dioxide is sequestered every year. This may need to increase 400 fold by 2100.
Another example: By 2100 bioenergy could require more land area than all crop land uses today.
This afternoon, I’d like to briefly highlight some of the ways EPA is working both at home and abroad to address this global challenge.
Our first area of focus is the power sector – responsible for approximately 40 percent of America’s domestic emissions and the first topic for this afternoon’s technology discussion.
Currently, EPA, the Department of Energy and others are exploring ways to burn the world’s most abundant fossil fuel – coal – more efficiently and with fewer emissions. We are developing technologies, such as carbon capture and storage, which have the potential to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired electricity generation. An important part of this effort is to ensure that carbon storage can occur at the massive scale that will be needed while safeguarding the environment and the health of our citizens. At EPA we have a well-established program regulating underground injection and we now are working to expand the program to address large-scale underground injection of carbon dioxide for low carbon power generation.
The second is the transportation sector, which accounts for approximately 1/3 of America’s greenhouse gas emissions and the second topic for this afternoon’s technology discussion.
One of the strategies to reduce carbon emissions from our transportation sector is through the President’s groundbreaking “20 in 10” legislation, which would reduce gas consumption by 20 percent in 10 years. In addition to encouraging Congress to pass legislation to improve fuel economy and increase the supply of renewable and alternative fuels, the President has directed the federal government to take the first step towards regulations, using his “20 in 10” plan as a starting point. We will issue a proposed rule regulating greenhouse gases later this year and are planning on issuing a final rule by the end of next year.
And finally, at EPA, we see environmental responsibility as everyone’s responsibility. This brings me to the last area we are targeting – industry and individual consumers.
Although EPA has many programs that target businesses and consumers, I want to focus on one that I hope is familiar to all of you – ENERGY STAR. This common-sense program, administered by EPA and the Department of Energy, encourages people to make energy efficient choices that are good for the environment and good for their wallets. In 2006 alone, by using ENERGY STAR products, Americans saved $14 billion on their utility bills, and prevented greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 25 million cars.
Since climate change is a global challenge, we have been exporting ENERGY STAR’s successes to our partners around the world. I’m pleased to report we have agreements with Japan, Taiwan, Canada, Australia, and the EU to use the ENERGY STAR label, and we are working with China to improve their energy efficiency labeling program.
The bottom line? America is committed to being a good global neighbor. And through this week’s meeting, we hope to initiate a process that will help us all become better stewards of the global environment while continuing to achieve economy sustainability.
I want to thank you for coming together to build a new path forward.
As a final note, I want to congratulate and thank everyone for the new commitment under the Montreal Protocol to accelerate the phase-out of HCFC’s. Not only will we speed-up the recovery of the ozone layer, the accelerated phase-out has the additional benefit of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. I appreciate Minister John Baird’s leadership on this effort and for hosting the 20th anniversary of this historic international agreement.
Once again, thank you all for joining us today. Working together, we can transform the way the world generates and uses energy.