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Bush to unveil global warming plan

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Facing mounting criticism over his failure to confront the problem of global warming, President Bush is set to announce two global warming research initiatives.

The multi-million dollar programs would be dedicated to researching the causes of global warming and developing technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, a senior administration official told CNN.

Bush is scheduled to make the announcements during a Rose Garden ceremony Monday morning, just hours before departing for his first presidential trip to Europe where global warming is one of a handful of issues expected to dominate the agenda.

Aides did not reveal the total dollar amount for the new programs, but said up to $25 million would be used to build climate observation systems in developing countries.

graphic Global warming

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The president was expected to encourage other industrialized nations to follow the example of the United States.

The president's proposals include "fully" funding research into "high priority areas" for climate change over the next five years, as well as strengthening research on new technologies at the nation's universities and national laboratories, the senior official said.

"The president wants responsible action on global climate change, and he is ready to take responsible action," said Andrew Card, White House chief of staff, on Fox News Sunday.

But what the White House calls "responsible," some critics have deemed insufficient.

"The president apparently is going to announce tomorrow that he's for more study, and frankly the time for study has to yield to leadership," said Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Connecticut

In his most detailed remarks to date on global warming as president, Bush will make the "detailed case" about his opposition to the Kyoto treaty, which requires the U.S. and other nations to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, said the senior administration official.

Voluntary reductions

Bush will call the treaty "flawed," saying that the emission targets are "arbitrary" and "not based on science," and that the treaty fails to cover developing countries such as China, the world's second largest emitter of carbon dioxide, according to the senior official.

"Kyoto was a flawed process," Card said on Fox News Sunday. "There isn't one industrialized country around the world that has ratified that treaty, and so that is a non-starter."

Bush will also commit the U.S. to working with the United Nations to "develop an effective and science-based response to global warming," the official said.

The president has ordered a cabinet level team to come up with alternatives to Kyoto. The group will issue a report Monday, which is being billed as a "status report", not a "final report", on the administration's review of climate change.

A memo prepared by the administration for members of Congress says the president will announce Monday that his cabinet team is trying to develop "creative ways to stabilize concentrations of greenhouse gases, drawing on the power of markets and technology."

One proposal under consideration is a voluntary system, offering incentives to industries to meet emission targets. But Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-South Dakota, said mandatory emission controls, which Bush has long resisted, are the only answer.

"We've tried all the voluntary options," Daschle said. "They have all failed. We know what we've got to do."

With Democrats controlling the Senate, and sensing the president is vulnerable on the environment, the White House appears to have adopted a damage control stance.

In the memo to members of Congress, the administration said the president would "take a leadership role in addressing the issue of climate change."

Pressure on the White House to act increased last week after the National Academy of Sciences, in a report requested by the president, found that global temperatures were rising, with man-made pollution viewed as the likely cause.

But the administration seized on uncertainties in the report, saying it was still unclear how much of the problem was attributable to humans and to what extent natural causes played a role.

• U.S. Global Warming site
• Climate Change
• Kyoto Climate Summit

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