Monday, June 04, 2007

Cheap Talk From Bush On Global Warming

Frankly, we'd rather see George W. Bush continue in his role as a global climate change denier rather than his weak embrace of the issue late last week.

This is a pretty typical conservative move--pretend to embrace an issue with rhetoric--one that shows why it is all the more important that Democrats in Congress move PROMPTLY to put a strong bill on the President's desk during this legislative term. He may well veto it, but at least it will separate rhetoric from action.

All Bush is doing now is stalling. The science of global climate change, not to mention the ongoing reality before our very eyes, has made it virtually impossible to simply deny warming anymore. Dick Cheney and Oklahoma's Sen. James Inhofe are about the only ones still clinging to the flat earth view of the climate change world--no doubt they also think it's still "unproven" that smoking causes cancer, too.

Most conservatives, however--including all the GOP presidential candidates--now accept global warming as a fact, but don't really want to do much about it. And that's where we are with Bush.

Bush now says--at the end of his incompetent presidency--that we should start to talk about what to do down the road so that maybe, by 2012, we can put in place some "aspirational" goals to reduce global warming later in this century.

Bush rejects out of hand a German proposal to limit the worldwide temperature rise this century to 3.6 degrees fahrenheit (which would translate to a much higher rise at the poles). He says it's "impractical."

Bush, and many other conservatives, have an odd way of looking at the economic costs of limiting global warming. In their calculus, any tax or cap and trade system is a "cost," but they ignore the costs--such as the $100 billion in Katrina damage--of doing nothing.

They also fail to factor in the economic benefits of new technologies--manufacturing solar panels, wind turbines, electric batteries, fuel cells, etc.--that will accrue to those nations that take the lead on these issues. Already, the U.S. is falling behind in these critical technologies, ceding leadership to Europe, Japan and China, while we continue to invest in and protect old technologies--oil, coal, gasoline engines, etc.--that WILL decline as the century progresses.

The only thing Bush is right about is the need for China and India to join in action on global climate change. But while Bush uses the exclusion of China and India from the Kyoto accords as an excuse for us to do nothing, China, at least, is starting to realize on its own that the magnitude of the problem requires aggressive action. Indeed, China is embarking on a major campaign to build new, mostly carbon neutral, nuclear plants throughout the country. China's political system is capable of responding to the challenge much faster than ours (as opposed to India, which is likely to be paralyzed).

The bottom line is that Bush is proposing to do only one new thing: talk. Talk is cheap. Our children and grandchildren deserve better.


The Green Miles said...

Not all the GOP presidential candidates accept the scientific consensus on global warming ...

X Curmudgeon said...

Thanks for the follow-up, Miles. Yes, I should have worded that more carefully--not only Fred Thompson, but some of the minor candidates don't embrace the science on global warming. But then, coming from a party where everyone tries to distance themselves from the "theory" of evolution, we shouldn't be all that surprised.

Unknown said...

One can only marvel at the ignorance per the global warmer doom and gloomers who claim that CO2 has something to do with global warming. Facts are that there is no scientific correlation that has passed any valid scioentific peer review; namely it is pure theory. May I suggest you google William Kinimonth "Unmasking an Inconvenient Truth" and then you'll see what a true peer review on the subject looks like and you'll realize that Bush's position is one that won't bankrupt and unemploy millions of workers due to establishing policy on carbon restrictions, which in fact is only pure theory, and weak theory at that.