- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 14, 2001

President Bush yesterday pledged to spend an additional $120 million to study global warming, a move that Republicans hope will buy him some political cover as he prepares for his second visit to Europe next week.
But some environmentalists say the administration is still not doing enough to reduce greenhouse gases that they insist are causing the Earth's temperature to rise. They believe Mr. Bush is merely throwing research dollars at the problem instead of taking steps to reduce emissions.
Senior administration officials said the president is genuinely committed to fight global warming, although he remains adamantly opposed to the Kyoto Protocol as a burden on U.S. businesses and consumers. They insisted he is not stalling by taking more time to study global warming.
"If we were trying to punt this problem down the field, I don't think you'd have the Cabinet working day in and day out on this issue," a senior administration official told The Washington Times. "We do take it very seriously."
The official added: "We already are taking concrete steps that we think are important steps. But it would make little sense not to advance the research."
Another senior administration official said global warming is so complex that the White House is wary of forming too many conclusions without further research.
"It's a very complicated issue and the Cabinet wanted to dig in, the president wanted to dig in, and fully understand the science and the technology," the official said. "Frankly, I think that's the responsible thing to do."
The $120 million will be spent over the next three years by NASA. The largest amount, $50 million, will be used to study how the oceans and Earth's biosphere function as "sinks" that sequester carbon dioxide, a key greenhouse gas.
Another $22 million will be spent studying whether aerosols warm or cool the atmosphere. And $20 million is earmarked for analyzing the role that clouds may play in climate change.
NASA will pour $15 million into computer-modeling systems aimed at simulating various climate systems. Another $10 million will go toward linking these modeling systems with similar systems overseas.
The new funding was announced less than a week before Mr. Bush departs for his second visit to Europe. Last month, during his first visit, leaders of France and other nations expressed their disapproval at the president's declaration that the Kyoto Protocol was "fatally flawed."
The White House is sending a representative to Bonn this month for a conference on Kyoto. In advance of that conference — and the president's forthcoming trip to England, Italy and Serbia — the administration wants to remind the world that the United States spends far more than the European Union to fight global warming.
"We spend over $1.8 billion annually, which is 50 percent of the climate-change research dollars worldwide, three times as much as the next largest contributor, and more than the EU and Japan combined," an administration official said yesterday.
In addition, only one legislature in Europe, Romania's, has actually ratified the treaty.
Many conservative Republicans dismiss global warming as an unsound scientific theory.
They point out that some scientists and the press were warning about global cooling a quarter-century ago.
But Mr. Bush has repeatedly stated that global warming is a reality. Still, environmentalists view this assertion with suspicion and have placed more emphasis on the president's opposition to Kyoto.

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