Image from Señor Codo
The key word here being "voluntary," of course. Methinks the EPA's inspector general may have been a bit too charitable in even saying they have "limited potential" -- though I guess the term may be appropriate for describing the Bush team:
The most laughable part of this is that the White House actually seems proud of the fact that the U.S. is "well on track to meet, if not exceed" an 18% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2012. Disregarding this "achievement" for the moment, it's important to note that a lot of the data on which the administration is basing this number was provided by the most polluting companies -- which clearly have no incentive to fudge the numbers a bit. Oh, and another thing:
The Environmental Protection Agency's Inspector General's Office said industry's unwillingness to participate and unreliable data that casts doubt on claimed reductions are hindering efforts to control some of the most potent greenhouse gases from aluminum smelters, landfills, coal mines and large farms.
At best, the 11 different programs, all but one of which were launched during the Clinton administration, would achieve a 19 percent reduction in methane, sulfur hexafluoride and other non-carbon dioxide greenhouse gases projected to come from those industries in 2010, the EPA IG's office said in a report Thursday.
The report does not cover efforts to address the most plentiful greenhouse gas — carbon dioxide — or the biggest sources of it, transportation and electric power plants.
The IG report's conclusion that "additional policy options" (see: emission standards and regulations) will be needed to reduce emissions beyond the White House's target is a no-brainer. But since the Bush administration has adamantly refused to apply the Clean Air Act to regulating GHG emissions (despite, you know, the Supreme Court telling it to do so), going so far as to childishly leave EPA's e-mails unopened, it's pretty clear any such "policy option" will need to wait until next year, at the earliest, to see the light of day.
One can only hope. Given the progress climate change legislation like the Lieberman-Warner bill has been making in the Senate -- keep in mind it's a fairly modest bill at that -- I'm not even sure how successful a President Obama/McCain would be in the short-term in getting a similar law passed. A Democratic Congress would probably help, but there's always the worry that public opinion, influenced by record energy prices, could shift away from any bill that would directly or indirectly raise the price of fossil fuels.
Via ::Associated Press: EPA: Few volunteering to cut greenhouse gases (news website)
More Bush environmental incompetence
::White House Won’t Open EPA Emails on Global Warming, Part Two: The Funnier Version
::Bush Administration Puts Hands Over Eyes, Chants LaLaLa I Can't Hear You!
::Bush's New (Old) Tack on Climate Change: Watch Me Pretend to Care