Why would the White House and EPA not want to take measures to improve our atmosphere? Oh, duh, of course - follow the money to the oil companies!! The following looks tedious but is not too hard to read quickly:
Federal Judge Upholds California's Right to Tighten Fuel Economy Standards. By Bob Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle, December 13, 2007. "California's first-in-the-nation effort to limit cars' emissions of gases that contribute to global warming took a big step forward Wednesday when a federal judge upheld the state's right to control air pollution and dismissed a challenge by the auto industry. The ruling by U.S. District Judge Anthony Ishii of Fresno also was a victory for 16 other states whose laws or regulations on tailpipe emissions were modeled after California's 2002 statute. The 17 states represent nearly half the U.S. population, and their laws would effectively require automakers to cut greenhouse gas emissions nationwide, despite President Bush's rejection of mandatory national standards. The California law, however, cannot be enforced without the approval of the... EPA. The state asked the EPA two years ago for a waiver that would allow it to exceed federal clean-air requirements and regulate cars' greenhouse gas emissions starting with 2009 models. The EPA has never denied California such a waiver, but the agency has been lobbied by auto companies and by Bush's transportation secretary to deny the request. The state has sued the agency to force a decision, and EPA Administrator Steven Johnson has promised to decide by the end of the year. Ishii's ruling 'leaves the Bush administration as the last remaining roadblock to California's regulation of tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions,' said state Attorney General Jerry Brown, whose office defended the law. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed another groundbreaking law last year seeking a 25 percent reduction in all greenhouse gases emitted in California by 2020. He said Wednesday that with motor vehicles contributing nearly 30 percent of those emissions, 'it is imperative that we be granted the fuel waiver from the federal government.'"
Gore Blasts U.S. Obstruction in Bali. By Marian Wilkinson and Mark Forbes, The Age (Australia), December 14, 2007. "Former U.S. vice-president Al Gore has made a dramatic 11th-hour intervention at the faltering climate change talks in Bali, accusing his own country of obstructing progress and calling on other nations to forge a new deal without Washington. With less than 24 hours to today's conference deadline, the newly-awarded Nobel laureate last night made an impassioned plea to conference delegates to leave an 'open space' in a new climate change deal, and to hope it will be filled later by President George Bush's successor. 'I am going to speak an inconvenient truth: my own country, the United States, is principally responsible for obstructing progress here in Bali,' Mr Gore said, to rapturous applause." (For more on Gore's speech, go to Sify News' Al Gore's Oratory Electrifies Bali Summit.)
EU Gives U.S. Ultimatum. The Associated Press, December 13, 2007. "European nations will boycott U.S.-led climate talks next month unless Washington accepts a range of numbers for negotiating deep reductions of global-warming emissions, Germany's environment minister said Thursday. 'No result in Bali means no Major Economies Meeting,' said Sigmar Gabriel, a top EU environment official, referring to a series of separate climate talks initiated by President Bush in September. The U.S. invited 16 other 'major economies' to discuss a possible program of nationally determined, voluntary cutbacks in greenhouse gas emissions, as opposed to the binding targets favored by the EU and others now meeting in Bali. The U.N. climate chief warned Thursday that a deadlock between the U.S. and the E.U. over emissions cuts threatened to derail talks aimed at launching negotiations for a new global warming pact. 'If we don't get wording on the future, then the whole house of cards falls to pieces,' said Yvo de Boer, as [the summit in Bali] entered the final stretch. Washington... [is insisting that it is] taking steps to tackle rising temperatures and that many of its actions to promote energy efficiency and switch to cleaner technologies [are] going unnoticed by the rest of the world... But most environmentalists listening [to the U.S. presentation] Wednesday came away unconvinced. They said the U.S... -- which promoted ramping up energy efficiency, nuclear power, renewable energy and biofuels -- failed to include necessary emission reduction targets or discussions on setting a price for carbon dioxide pollution... 'The presentation was an impressive display of a variety of important initiatives, but the parts don't add up to a meaningful whole if there is no leadership,' said Kevin Knobloch, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists. 'What the United States desperately needs to do at these talks is make it very clear that we are ready to accept responsibility for our historic and current emissions and then help the rest of the world to the next round of binding commitments.'"
U.S. Succeeds in Blocking Specific Emission Targets in Framework for Post- Bali Talks. By Juliet Eilperin, The Washington Post, December 13, 2007. "U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon conceded Wednesday that the United States had succeeded in achieving one of its key objectives at the climate conference here, blocking a proposal that called on industrialized nations to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by 25 to 40 percent by 2020. Having jettisoned the idea of incorporating specific emissions targets in the framework that will guide international climate talks over the next two years, participants were hoping to find other ways to make meaningful progress here in the two-week-long meeting of nearly 190 nations. Ban, who told reporters that the initial U.N. negotiating proposal submitted to the conference might have been "too ambitious," said he and others would work to ensure that any climate pact finalized in 2009 will be much more specific than the consensus document expected to come out of Bali... Danish Climate and Energy Minister Connie Hedegaard said Thursday that European Union members would continue pressing to include a range of emissions targets as part of a final framework document. 'We all came here with the expectation that something has changed in American politics, which to some extent would be reflected here in Bali. It's still sort of strange to see the American delegation is not particularly engaged a lot in the debate, to put it diplomatically,' Hedegaard said in an interview. 'We think it's time for the U.S. to engage a little more in trying to come up with solutions.'"