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President Bush is speaking out against increasing fuel efficiency and emissions standards in response to a ruling handed down by the Supreme Court this week.

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had the authority to regulate heat-trapping gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2). The President, as well as the domestic automotive companies, Ford and General Motors (GM), have opposed such regulations for the past several years, stating that the costs will hurt the industry.

Lacking federal action, several states have taken up the issue, most notably California, which has passed into law a bill that will require the states CO2 emissions to be reduced by 25% by 2020. Other states in the West and Northeast are passing or considering similar measures.

The automotive industries have long claimed that such regulations will increase production costs and harm the industry, spending millions on lawsuits in attempts to overturn emissions and fuel efficiency regulations. However, when examining the fiscal earnings for the automotive giants, one can see that they bleeding money as it is because of this issue. Almost every other industrialized country has higher emissions and fuel efficiency standards than the United States. Those include Japan, Germany, Great Britain, France, Taiwan, and even China. California’s plan, which has been lambasted by GM and Ford, would increase the standards for automobiles in the state by 2011 to the point that China requires right now. The emissions standards are so much higher in other countries that many of them no longer allow American-made automobiles to be sold in their countries, and so GM and Ford have seen a serious drop in sales and incoming money.

Honda and Toyota, in the meantime, are seeing steady growth and are not having the same kinds of fiscal problems that the American automotive industry is having.

President Bush has also stated that the U.S. should not have to increase its standards until the rest of the world does as well. He stated: “Whatever we do must be in concert with what happens internationally. Unless there is an accord with China, China will produce greenhouse gases that will offset anything we do in a brief period of time.” First, as stated above, China has higher standards than the U.S. does.

Secondly, this is an embarrassing lack of leadership by the United States. We should not be waiting for “what happens internationally.” We should be leading the way, head and shoulders above everyone else. Instead we are lagging far behind. Instead of racing to achieve energy independence and cut back on our need for coal and foreign oil, we are languishing in the Age of Petroleum.

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