WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Clinton set a goal today to reduce global warming over the next decade by increasing U.S. use of technology that converts plants and trees into fuel, chemicals and electricity.
The president issued an executive order establishing a council to coordinate the federal government’s effort to develop a biomass research program, and setting a goal of tripling use of bioenergy and bioproducts by 2010. Biomass energy, generated mostly from wood and wood waste, is currently about 3 percent of the total U.S. energy supply.
Clinton called bioenergy a possible ``technological fix that can help us to meet our economic challenges, maintain our security, sustain our prosperity and ease the threat of global warming.″
Biomass technology uses trees, crops and waste from agriculture or forestry to make energy that can then be used as fuel for cars or power factories. It also can be used to create a variety of chemicals and products ranging from pharmaceuticals to glue, paint or even textiles.
The ultimate goal of Clinton’s order is to replace coal, oil, natural gas and uranium with cleaner, renewable biomass energy. If the goal of tripling biomass use by 2010 is met, annual greenhouse gas emissions would drop by more than 100 million tons, the equivalent of taking 70 million automobiles off the nation’s roads, the White House said.
Meeting the goal also would generate $15 billion to $20 billion in income for farmers and rural areas, White House officials said.
During a visit today to the Agriculture Department, Clinton appealed to Congress to approve $242 million in his fiscal 2000 budget proposal for research and tax credits to promote energy efficiency, bioenergy and other clean energies.
The executive order directs the secretaries of agriculture and energy and the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to prepare a report within 120 days on options for increasing biomass energy use.