On Power

On Government-Run Projects

While over 150 countries entered into the Kyoto treaty, it was rejected by the Bush administration due to the potential economic effects of mandatory emission reductions.  As a result, Climate VISION was initiated by the administration with the goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  Critics argue that this approach lacks teeth in that "(1) it arguably does not require any change on the part of industries beyond what would likely take place regardless of the initiative; (2) any change is voluntary; and (3) if they do institute a change, they are praised for making the change.  All in all, the Climate VISION initiative is safe and inexpensive for the “regulated” industries, especially when compared to a real limit on total emissions (rather than a reduction in the ratio of emissions) such as the one required under the Kyoto Protocol.” Is President Bush's Vision Impaired?

On Free-Market Competition

Climate Vision MOU Signature Page. Source: climatevision.gov

The heart of the Climate VISION initiative lies in the fact that it is comprised of voluntary agreements between the Department of Energy and the major emitting industries. These industries and the companies that comprise them set their own targets and develop their own methods and technologies to achieve them.  
 
" [T]he [Bush] Administration still believes that there are too many scientific uncertainties surrounding the issue of climate change to justify aggressive action.” US Business Actions to Address Climate Change  The result of these "uncertainties" is caution around the potential effects of "aggressive actions" such as hard targets for emission levels.  The fear is that setting mandatory emissions targets for industry would negatively affect the US economy, causing more harm than good.  
 
“In the on-going debate over whether it 'pays to be green,' the question of vulnerability under a climate change protocol needs to be reframed. This requires identifying for whom being green can pay and, secondly, how and when they can make that happen.” Is President Bush's Vision Impaired? The premise of Climate VISION is that by allowing the market to voluntarily regulate its own emissions, we can achieve both a healthy economy and a healthy planet.
 

On Territory

On Lifestyle

On Risk

On Prioritize Market Growth

“[T]he overall goal of the Bush Administration is to reduce the intensity of annual greenhouse gas emissions per dollar of gross domestic product (GDP) by 18 percent by 2012, through a range of voluntary actions.” US Business Actions to Address Climate Change

Advocates of this measurement argue that it allows for realistic and business-friendly emissions reductions.  “They [some US companies] are taking advantage of the lack of a mandatory United States Green House GAS (GHG) emission reduction program to set targets at their own pace and in their own way; a way that fits with their own strategic objectives. Often, these companies have chosen to initiate voluntary GHG reduction programs by drawing on the expertise of: industry associations (such as the Business Roundtable); non-profit organizations  (such as Environmental Defense, the World Resources Institute, and the Pew Center on Global Climate Change); and the federal government (such as the Climate Leaders Program).” Climate Change Strategy
 
One of the primary criticisms of the initiative is that its measurement is ratio-based rather than setting specific goals for emission levels.  “[Senator Jeff] Bingaman points out that the goals set by Climate VISION are flawed because they will be inherently affected by the increase in the service sector of the US economy’s growth, which is the fastest growing sector of the economy.  The growth of the service sector will increase the GDP without affecting greenhouse emissions.  Therefore, the ratio of emissions to GDP would decrease regardless of any reduction in emissions.” Is President Bush's Vision Impaired?
 

On Prioritize the Biosphere

Critics of Climate VISION argue that environmental health is treated as a far lower a priority than the financial security of the industries included in the initiative's agreements.  “While one might think that environmental enthusiasts would applaud this proposal, the only enthusiasts of this plan are those in the targeted industries.  This is because no change is mandatory, and it will most likely be of no benefit to the environment.” (Is President Bush's Vision Impaired?)  Further, the ratio-based measurement  allows for no changes in annual emission levels while still achieving the set goals.  “Nature does not respond to symbolic gestures,” said Lash. “As a response to the greatest environmental threat of the 21st century, this approach is timid, late, and unimaginative.”  (Jonathan Lash, president of the World Resources Institute in “WRI Cites Flaws in New White House Climate Initiative” 12 February 2003, accessed 6 July 2010.)

Background

“Launched in February 2003 by the Department of Energy, Climate VISION is a presidential public-private partnership initiative which seeks to promote President Bush’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas intensity by 18% over the next ten years.” (King et al 2004, 21)

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