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White House Climate Change Event, Washington, D.C.

Remarks of Governor Christine Todd Whitman
Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
at the
White House Climate Change Event
Washington, D.C.

February 12, 2003

Thank you Secretary Abraham for that introduction.

I = m pleased to be here to highlight the important efforts that are underway within the federal government and the private sector to address the serious issue of global climate change.

Last February, President Bush announced an aggressive climate change policy designed 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, and the partnerships we are announcing today are exactly what he had in mind.

The leaders of American industry are answering the President = s call to work with the federal government and take voluntary actions to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions,

I commend you for your initiative and leadership on this issue.

I would like to take a moment to highlight the several partnerships in which EPA plays a direct role.

You know there are some who would have us believe that addressing greenhouse gas emissions is solely about carbon dioxide, but there are in fact six greenhouse gases of concern.

Perfluorocarbons have10,000 times the global warming impact of carbon dioxide, and for sulfur hexafluoride that number rises to 20,000.

That = s why it = s imperative we not fall victim to tunnel vision when addressing this issue. We must act in a comprehensive manner that focuses on all the various emissions that contribute to global climate change.

EPA has worked closely with the Semiconductor Industry Association and Aluminum Association over the past few years to reduce perfluorocarbon emissions, with both industries setting aggressive reduction goals.

Our partners in the U.S. magnesium industry have agreed to completely eliminate their sulfur hexafluoride emissions by the end of 2010.

Of course, reducing carbon dioxide emissions is still integral to our efforts on this front, and EPA is working closely with the Portland Cement Association to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by 10 percent per ton of cement product produced from a 1990 baseline by 2020.

All of these industry sector partnerships are helping us make bold strides towards improving our environment.

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 2001 alone, Americans B with the help of ENERGY STAR B saved $6 billion dollars on their energy bills, saved enough energy to power 10 million homes, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to taking 12 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.

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 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 building successful partnerships with them as we pursue our environmental goals.

The dedication and decision of the industries here today to play an integral role in our efforts to reduce greenhouse gases will stand as a noteworthy legacy of environmental stewardship.

And by continuing our work together we can ensure a clean and healthy environment for our generation and future generations to come. Thank you.