Speeches - By Date
Climate Protection Awards and Stratospheric Ozone Protection Awards Ceremony, Washington, D.C.04/22/2003
Remarks for Governor Christine Todd Whitman
Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Climate Protection Awards and Stratospheric Ozone Protection Awards Ceremony
April 22, 2003
Thank you Stephen (Andersen) for that introduction.
As we celebrate Earth Day, it = s an honor to be here tonight to recognize the type of leadership that is integral to sustaining a strong and healthy environment. Earth Day is a reminder for all of us the important role our environment plays in determining our quality of life.
Whether it= s breathing clean air during a morning jog, jumping into a clean lake on a hot summer day, or enjoying a hike with our friends and family, the environment impacts every aspect of our lives. Though EPA has been given the charge of protecting the environment, all of us share that responsibility.
Tonight, we recognize a group of award winners who have upheld that responsibility and demonstrated a strong commitment to addressing two important environmental issues B ozone depletion and climate change.
The implementation of the Montreal Protocol over the past fifteen years has resulted in tremendous reductions in the consumption of ozone depleting chemicals. Here at EPA, we have joined with a wide range of partners B scientists, government, business, the military, and public health groups B to phase out these harmful substances.
Through EPA = s market-based programs and industry leadership, the U.S. has virtually eliminated domestic production of chlorofluorocarbons (CFC = s) ahead of schedule and for only two-thirds of the original estimated costs. This is a remarkable accomplishment when you consider the millions of products and industrial applications that contained CFC = s two decades ago.
Though we have made much progress, the next fifteen years will be critical in seeing the job through. Under the President = s leadership, we are beginning to phase out the most significant remaining contributors to ozone depletion B HCFCs and methyl bromide. In addition, we continue to work closely with developing countries to provide the scientific and technological support they need to address ozone depleting substances.
Scientists are predicting with the full implementation of the Montreal Protocol that the ozone layer will recover in 50 years. To ensure that this prediction becomes fact, we must continue to work together. From Japan and Australia to right here in the U.S., the honorees for this year = s Stratospheric Ozone Protection Awards, are an integral part to our cooperative effort and to our ultimate success in restoring the ozone layer.
Of course, another environmental issue that reaches beyond our national borders is that of climate change. Recognizing the serious impacts of global climate change on the quality of our environment, especially our air, we are pursuing an aggressive climate change policy launched by President Bush to reduce the greenhouse gas intensity of the U.S. economy by 18% over the next ten years.
When the President made this commitment, he knew it would take building strong partnerships to achieve our aim. So, over the past year, EPA has launched two new partnership programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions B Climate Leaders and Smartway Transport.
Through Climate Leaders, companies commit to working with EPA in order to inventory their greenhouse gas emissions, set aggressive reduction goals, and report their progress.
To date, 39 companies have signed on and nine of them have already announced their greenhouse gas reduction goals.
SC Johnson has pledged to reduce emissions by 23% per pound of product by 2005 and IBM pledged to reduce their emissions of PFC = s B a highly potent greenhouse gas B by 10% between 2000 and 2005 to name just two. This is the sort of leadership we should expect B and encourage B from the corporate sector.
We have seen similar leadership in the transportation sector with our SmartWay Transport program. SmartWay is also a voluntary partnership between EPA and industry leaders designed to develop a comprehensive strategy to improve environmental performance of the freight sector by reducing harmful emissions and improving air quality.
SmartWay was launched in January of this year with 13 charter partners and the goal to achieve by 2012 annual reductions of up to 18 million metric tons of carbon, and up to 200,000 tons of NOX, which will save 150 million barrels of oil a year and is equivalent to taking 12 million cars off the road.
Unfortunately, there is a perception by many that if environmental programs aren= t mandated then they aren = t real B but I = m here to tell you that these 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.
Our Climate Protection Award Winners tonight come from as far away as India, where work to reduce power plant emissions has avoided 7 million tons of carbon emissions since 1996, to Seattle, Washington, where clean energy, solid waste, reduction, and recycling have helped lead to a 60% drop in municipal emissions since 1990.
These are real results, and every single one of our honorees tonight has had the same type of success.
For too long, business and industry were looked on as the enemy of environmental progress, but we have seen first hand the success that can be gained when we see them in the new light of ally and partner.
In doing so, we are reaching our goals and improving our environment, while at the same time allowing our economy to grow and our quality of life to endure.
We aren = t just talking about how to protect the ozone layer or what to do about global climate change, we are moving forward quickly and aggressively and actually doing something about it.
This Administration is fully committed to working with our nation = s industries and our global partners to building successful partnerships as we pursue our environmental goals.
The dedication and decision of the businesses, communities and individuals here are integral to our efforts to reduce greenhouse gases and protect the ozone layer, and your work will stand as a noteworthy legacy of environmental stewardship.
In a few moments, we will be presenting a special award, the first ever Lifetime Atmospheric Achievement Award. This year = s recipient, SC Johnson, has demonstrated a consistent commitment to both climate and ozone protection efforts. They were the first company to abandon the use of CFCs as aerosol propellants and led an aggressive advertising campaign to inform consumers about safer alternatives. SC Johnson also assisted our efforts to develop the Climate Leaders program and joined as one of our charter partners.
I want to congratulate SC Johnson on this noteworthy accomplishment, and commend all of our award winners for helping this Agency make not just Earth Day, but every day, a day to celebrate and renew our commitment to a healthy environment.