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Climate Leaders Partners Meeting, Washington, D.C.

Remarks of Governor Christine Todd Whitman
Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
at the
Climate Leaders Partners Meeting
Washington, D.C.

June 11, 2003

Thank you Kathleen (Hogan) for that introduction. When I look back over the past two and a half years at EPA, one of the accomplishments I am most proud of is the new partnerships we have forged in our efforts to improve the environment. President Bush and I both believe that building strong partnerships among government, industry, and communities is absolutely essential if we are to meet the goals we all share for cleaner air, purer water, and better protected land.

For too long there has been a perception by many that if environmental programs aren= t mandated then they aren't real B but we have worked hard to prove that voluntary partnerships are not only real, they are getting real results. You don = t have to look any further than the Energy Star program to see the type of real results I= m talking about.

In 2002 alone, Americans B with the help of ENERGY STAR B saved $7 billion dollars on their energy bills, saved enough energy to power 15 million homes, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to taking 14 million cars off the road. These are real results.

Through voluntary programs such as the Landfill Methane Outreach Program and the Coalbed Methane Outreach Program, we have had success in reducing the emissions of methane, another harmful greenhouse gas. Methane emissions today are actually 5 percent lower than they were in 1990, and are expected to remain at this level through 2020, even as our economy continues to grow. Again, real results.

Overall, EPA= s voluntary programs are having an important impact on the success of the President= s climate change plan. In 2002, all of our voluntary programs combined prevented more than 150 million tons of carbon from entering our air, the equivalent of taking 25 million cars off the road. The results speak for themselves and they send a clear message that our partnership programs are not only successful, but are also making a difference where it counts B in the health and quality of our environment.

Of course, the Climate Leaders program is an integral part of that success. When President Bush set our country on a course to reduce the greenhouse gas intensity of our nation= s economy by 18% over the next ten years, he knew it would take building strong partnerships to achieve our goal. It is those types of partnerships we celebrate today.

Through Climate Leaders, companies, such as those of you gathered here, commit to working with EPA in order to develop a comprehensive inventory of their greenhouse gas emissions and set aggressive long term reduction goals. Since Climate Leaders was launched in February 2002, it has grown from 11 charter partners to a total of 41 partners. Today, we are recognizing eleven of those new partners B representing a wide range of companies B from steel manufacturers to wine makers.

EPA looks forward to working with our new partners in the coming months to develop long-term emission reductions strategies that are both environmentally safe and cost effective. Not only are we celebrating our new partners, we are also recognizing three Climate Leader companies B Pfizer, St. Lawrence Cement, and Johnson & Johnson B who are announcing their emission reduction targets. They join seven other Climate Leader companies who have already set emission goals. Based on the commitments announced to date, Climate Leaders will prevent a total of 125 billion pounds of carbon dioxide emissions compared to business as usual. Those of you currently in the process of setting your reduction targets, I encourage you to finalize your goals and set them as high as you can.

I want to commend all of our Climate Leader partners for your environmental leadership and the example you have set for other companies to follow. By working together, we are proving the nay-sayers wrong B proving that partnerships are accomplishing lasting and beneficial change in the quality of our environment, proving that partnerships are the path to a healthier and brighter future for this and future generations. Thank you.