LONG TERM STRATEGIES FOR REDUCING EMISSIONS OF GREENHOUSE GASES


The initiatives outlined in this Action Plan will continue to reduce emission levels from projected levels beyond the year 2000. However, this plan is unlikely to stabilize emissions at 1990 levels in the longer term under reasonable assumptions regarding economic growth, the diffusion of existing technologies, and new technology development. Therefore, the Administration will develop policies to address the longer term trends in greenhouse gas emissions. These policies must address technologies of energy supply and use, and condition markets for the long-term transition away from activities, fuels and technologies that generate large emissions of greenhouse gases.

The policies contained in the Action Plan are directed primarily at creating effective markets for investments in existing or nearly commercially-available technology that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The core of a long term strategy must ensure that a constant stream of improved technology is available and that market conditions are favorable to their adoption. The Action Plan is likely to stimulate a modest acceleration in technology development, but this impact is not readily quantified. Such gains will lay the foundation for the development of technologies that could contribute to significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in both the United States and abroad. But a long term economic and technology development strategy must quickly be developed in order for progress to continue on greenhouse gas emission reductions into the next century.

Research and development into the technologies that could contribute to greenhouse gas emission reductions will be a critical part of the long term effort. Research priorities to reduce energy demand include advanced building systems, transportation equipment and systems, and manufacturing technology to reduce energy and material requirements. Research priorities for low-carbon energy supply technologies could include sustainable biomass energy systems, advanced natural gas turbine and fuel cell technologies, cogeneration systems, energy storage systems, renewable energy technologies, hydrogen fuel systems, and continued research into nuclear safety and waste disposal options that could maintain the option of commercial nuclear power.

The Administration will begin a thorough evaluation of budget, technology, and economic policies that directly or indirectly affect future greenhouse gas emission trends. The mitigation of greenhouse gases in the U.S. and abroad should become a fundamental guiding principle of economic, energy, environmental, and international policies. A key component of the efforts will be an extensive consideration of transportation sector options. Much of the anticipated growth in greenhouse gas emissions after 2000 will be in the transportation sector. Even with actions taken under this plan, we expect that overall use of automobiles and trucks will increase as vehicles are added to the nation's fleet and as vehicles are driven greater distances. In order to continue emission reduction trends beyond the turn of the century, additional cost-effective measures will be needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions of individual vehicles and to increase America's transportation options, so that personal mobility can be enhanced while private vehicles can be driven less.

On September 29, 1993, the Administration announced a bold initiative aimed at dramatically reducing the impact of automobiles on the environment. This historic partnership with the major U.S. automakers has the goal of producing a new generation of world-competitive automobiles that are up to three times more fuel efficient than today's models -- and therefore would emit one-third the CO2 of comparable cars today -- while meeting all forthcoming standards for safety and conventional air pollutants. If successful, this highly efficient new generation of automobiles could begin to come into widespread production by 2010. This initiative holds out enormous long-term progress for the health of both the global environment and the U.S. automobile industry. But over the next 15 years, additional measures will be required to curb the rising trend of greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector.

PRESIDENT CLINTON IS DIRECTING: