Statement: 2008 State of the Union Response

PEW CENTER STATEMENT: 2008 STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS

Statement of Eileen Claussen
President, Pew Center on Global Climate Change


January 28, 2008

President Bush’s proposal tonight to invest $2 billion to deploy clean energy technologies in developing countries is a step in the right direction. A fair and effective global response to climate change is possible only with strong support from industrialized countries. But compared to the level of investment needed, and the $10 billion pledged two days ago by Japan, the president’s proposal appears modest at best.

The White House must go much further if it wants to be seen as a leader on climate action. At home, the president should work with Congress to enact a mandatory cap-and-trade bill to significantly reduce U.S. emissions. Abroad, the United States must sit down with other countries and negotiate binding international commitments. The so-called national commitments the administration is advocating would be little more than promises, providing no assurance that China, India, and other countries would hold up their end of the bargain.

American business and the American public are calling for mandatory federal action on climate change. At the major economies meeting later this week, other governments will be asking how the White House plans to deliver on its promises. President Bush should seize these opportunities to demonstrate that he is indeed prepared to meet the challenge of climate change.