In recent years, the U.S. debate on global warming policy has been stymied by the unachievable goals of the Kyoto Protocol. Cutting U.S. emissions by one-quarter in barely a decade, as agreed in 1997 at Kyoto by the Clinton administration, was never politically feasible.
Now the Bush administration, nearly a year after pulling out of the Kyoto Protocol, has finally announced its own plan for global warming. It takes a few important steps forward, but it falls far short of a grand strategy that would set ambitious long-term goals and a serious plan for achieving them. One of the important advances in the new Bush plan is that it offers a better way to measure progress on solving the global warming problem. It sets goals in terms of "greenhouse gas intensity."If the economy grows more rapidly than emissions, then the ratio declines. The administration seeks an 18-percent reduction in intensity over the next decade.