Byline: Joseph Curl, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
President Bush today will announce his administration's new plan to protect the environment from air pollution, proposing gradual, voluntary reductions in emission gases that some scientists say cause global warming.
The announcement by Mr. Bush, who last March rejected the restrictive Kyoto Protocol, comes just days before the president travels to Tokyo for two days of meetings with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.
The president will propose for U.S. businesses to voluntarily track and reduce their output of greenhouse gases and tie goals for reductions to the U.S. economic growth rate in order to minimize the loss of economic efficiency.
Mr. Bush seeks to draw more businesses into a "registry" of companies that report their greenhouse gas output to the government with a view to trading newly created credits with each other, much as they can under Clean Air Act provisions aimed at curbing acid rain. Just 222 companies, mostly electric utilities, now register and report. The administration does not have a firm goal for how many businesses it seeks to attract to the program.
Mr. Bush also will propose tax incentives for farmers to plant carbon dioxide-absorbing trees, consumers to buy hybrid and fuel-cell cars and solar hot water heaters and industry to capture methane, a potent greenhouse gas, from landfills.
He would also use tax breaks to encourage wind and "biomass" energy generation, in which burning grass, trees and waste produces electricity.
According to a White House statement distributed to reporters last night, the administration is setting a goal of cutting the ratio of greenhouse gas emissions to gross domestic product by 18 percent.
That ratio fell by an average of 1.6 percent a year during the last 10 years, according to the government's Energy Information Administration.
Mr. Bush last year rejected the Kyoto accord because the restrictive emission reductions would have been too costly for the U.S. economy. The president was also unhappy that the accord would have exempted huge nations such as China and India. …