- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 24, 2007

WILMINGTON, Del. — President Bush yesterday said his call for new technology to reduce gasoline use is the backbone of a strategy to get past the Kyoto Protocol-style global-warming policies called for by Europeans and many Democrats.

“We can get beyond the pre-Kyoto era with a post-Kyoto strategy, the center of which is new technologies,” Mr. Bush told employees of DuPont, the giant chemicals research firm, as he sought to take his State of the Union energy proposals beyond Washington.

It was a curious backdrop for those comments, given DuPont’s membership in the United States Climate Action Partnership, a group of 14 major companies and environmental groups that on Monday issued a call to adopt a Kyoto-style carbon caps program — exactly the solution Mr. Bush opposes.

Still, the president was received warmly during his 28-minute speech. He frequently praised DuPont’s research efforts, which he said can bring the country closer to his new energy goals.

In his Tuesday address to Congress, Mr. Bush called for reducing gasoline use by 20 percent from projected use in 2017. He proposed expanding the use of renewable-fuel alternatives, such as ethanol, that are blended with gasoline, which would account for a 15 percent reduction, and proposed raising automobile-fleet fuel-efficiency standards to save an additional 5 percent.

“Congress, I’m hopeful, recognizes the great potential in new technologies, that we’re able to have a new mandatory fuel standard and new [fuel-efficiency] standards for our automobiles, all aiming to make us less dependent on oil,” Mr. Bush said.

Democrats on Capitol Hill are pressing the president to adopt strict controls on carbon emissions, which most scientists think to contribute to global warming. European leaders have called on the U.S. to follow their lead in establishing caps on emissions.

But Mr. Bush consistently has opposed government-imposed mandates, instead arguing that technology can reduce emissions without hurting the economy.

Much of what Mr. Bush is talking about is speculative.

Ethanol, the fuel replacement currently in use, is made from corn, but using ethanol in fuel already is straining the nation’s corn supply.

Also, there is a limit to how much ethanol can be mixed with gasoline, and it is too low for ethanol to cover the entire 15 percent reduction Mr. Bush wants from replacement fuels.

That’s why the president is pushing for research to develop alternatives to ethanol, and yesterday he said he has committed billions of dollars to develop new technology.

As for another of Mr. Bush’s proposals, development of a hydrogen-powered car, the president yesterday acknowledged it is “still a dream,” and the reality is probably 15 years away.

Joining Mr. Bush at his speech yesterday were the state’s sole House member, Rep. Michael N. Castle, a Republican, and one of its senators, Thomas R. Carper, a Democrat. Meanwhile in Washington, the state’s other senator, Joseph R. Biden Jr., a Democrat and chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, was holding a hearing taking a critical look at Mr. Bush’s Iraq policy.

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