If this was the moment he was going to secure his green legacy, like many other occasions in his Presidency, President Bush failed miserably.

When yesterday he called for a national goal of halting the growth of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2025, his voluntary target fell well short of what most leading scientists say is needed to avoid dangerous climate change.

Bush’s proposal, which and was widely criticized by Democratic lawmakers and environmentalists, would rely on technological innovation for success.

Although it was the administration’s most definite public statement yet on global warming, it is seen as far too little, far too late.

Several Democratic lawmakers even mocked Bush’s announcement, saying they expect the next president to sign a climate bill into law. The Senate is planning to vote on legislation in June that seeks to halt the growth of greenhouse gas emissions in 2012, 13 years before Bush’s deadline, and all three presidential candidates are expected to back that timetable.

Barbara Boxer, the chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, called Bush’s plan the “height of irresponsibility.” Edward J. Markey, the Democrat, who chairs the House select panel on global warming, said “the real headline for today’s announcement should be, ‘Bush pledges to do nothing before January 20, 2009, the day he leaves office.’ “

Failed again, George…