Calling climate change "the most pressing environmental challenge of the 21st century," attorneys general from 11 states are urging President George Bush to reconsider his position on the issue. The 11 Democrats praise a May report by the US Environmental Protection Agency detailing the seriousness of the problem, but say the Republican president "has yet to propose a credible plan that is consistent with the dire findings and conclusions being reported." They continue: "Far from proposing solutions to the climate change problem, the administration has been adopting energy policies that would actually increase greenhouse gas emissions." To fill this "regulatory void," some states are implementing measures to reduce emissions within their borders. While supporting their efforts, the attorneys general warn that a state-by-state approach will create a patchwork of regulations that will increase business uncertainty and, ultimately, the cost of dealing with climate change. "By acting now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the Bush Administration can provide regulatory certainty to the business community, can spur private sector investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency, and can lay the groundwork to avoid the potentially disastrous environmental, public health and economic impacts of global warming," says New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. Bush, who dismissed the EPA report as being "put out by the bureaucracy," has pulled the US out of the Kyoto protocol and proposed a new climate change strategy that sets voluntary greenhouse gas intensity targets.
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