The front-page headline in today’s WSJ (subs. req’d):
Bush to Call for Greenhouse-Gas Curbs
In a significant shift on global warming, President Bush will propose stopping growth in U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions by 2025 and signal that he is open to lawmakers reining in pollution from power companies.
An A.P. story updated at 8 a.m. this morning (here) begins similarly:
President Bush will propose a new target for stopping the growth of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2025.
But the WSJ goes on to say:
In the most specific part of his speech, Mr. Bush will carve out a more ambitious goal for power generators, source of about 40% of U.S. emissions. He will call for a halt in the growth of greenhouse gases from electric power plants within 10 to 15 years. He won’t propose specific legislation, but White House officials hope his goals could shape a growing congressional debate.
Whereas the A.P. goes on to say
The president also will call Wednesday for putting the brakes on greenhouse gas emissions from electric power plans within 10 to 15 years, according to a senior administration official familiar with the afternoon speech.
So is the Bush going to make two announcements (utility cap in 10 to 15 years and economy-wide cap in 2025) — or just the former? The WSJ is very confused:
The White House continues to oppose economywide caps on emissions, but it is not shutting the door to creative market-based approaches to particular sectors. That could include what’s known as a cap-and-trade system, in which companies buy and sell what amount to permits to emit global-warming gases such as carbon dioxide.
If that’s true, then Bush is just talking about capping CO2 emissions from electric utilities and he is not going to “propose stopping growth in U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions by 2025,” as that would be economywide. In fact, if that’s true, then the headline should be
Bush to Call for Increased Greenhouse-Gas Emissions
And if it’s true, then this story doesn’t even deserve to be on the front page of the Wall Street Journal for two reasons:
- Bush ran in 2000 on a plan to limit emissions from power plants, only to renege on the campaign promise two months into his term. So this announcement would in fact be a step backwards from a policy he dumped seven years ago.
- The Congress and all of the remaining presidential candidates have endorsed emissions cuts that are economywide and deeper and sooner (a 2020 target date).
If the media is so confused about climate policy, is it any wonder the public is, too?