WHEN a Bill passes through the House of Representatives and the Senate in Washington it has to go to the White House for signature by the President.
This week a new Energy Bill was passed overwhelmingly by both Houses of Congress and then taken on the short journey by car to the White House.
Nothing very remarkable in that, perhaps, except that the car was a hybrid, using a mixture of electricity and petrol. That symbolic choice was appropriate because the Bill provides for several major steps forward, both in reducing America's dependence on imported oil and in fighting global warming and climate change. It might have been even better legislation if President Bush had not forced the withdrawal of measures that would have required firmer action from oil companies and car manufactures by threatening to veto the whole Bill. As it is, however, the current average of 25 miles per gallon for automobiles will have to be increased to 35 mpg by 2020 and improved efficiency across the board is called for in most domestic appliances. THE determination of Congress to push through this Energy Bill will be seen as providing further evidence of the ground swell in the United States in favour of effective energy efficiency that has been observed already in individual cities and States. It augurs well for America's participation in the UN's forthcoming negotiations for a new Climate Change Treaty, once there is a change-over at the White House.


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