Friday, April 6, 2007

Bush's Global Warming Strategy: Gum It to Death

A new climate report out this morning from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns that in the next century, temperatures will rise, droughts will worsen, and floods will become more prevalent. Here in America, the report is especially dire for the hurricane-prone Southeast and the already-arid Southwest.

But the Bush administration seems less concerned about protecting its citizens from disaster than with
looking out for its oil interests:

The United States, China and Saudi Arabia raised the most objections to the phrasing, most often seeking to tone down the certainty of some of the more dire projections.

The lead U.S. official at the meeting, Sharon Hays, said climate change is a global challenge that needs more study.

"Science in this area is evolving. Determination of the certainty that scientists can place any particular finding is important," she said. Pressed to describe changes sought by the U.S., Hayes would only say, "Every aspect of this report generated discussion."
The science of global warming has been clear for years -- it's not evolving any more than the Bush administration's denials of reality. There's very little difference between the above quote and this one:

"Global warming needs to be taken very seriously, and I take it seriously. But science, there's a lot -- there's differing opinions. And before we react, I think it's best to have the full accounting, full understanding of what's taking place."
That was presidential candidate George W. Bush on October 11, 2000. Nearly seven years later, Bush and friends are still studying the issue. Just last month, the undersecretary of the Energy Dept. offered only a halting admission of man's role in global warming.

But that's exactly the strategy the Bush White House takes on this and many other issues -- don't act, just talk until it goes away. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' chief of staff, Kyle Sampson, spelled it out in the middle of the
U.S. attorney scandal:
"I think we should gum this to death," Sampson wrote, and after rattling off a list of stalling tactics, added: "All of this should be done in 'good faith,' of course."
Our only hope is that Congress can pass strong, uncompromising legislation to combat global warming by tightening fuel efficiency standards, taxing carbon emissions, and encouraging development of new technology. President Bush can choose to veto it. After all, he is the decider. But for a president who is so concerned about his legacy, it would be a huge blow to leave a vetoed climate change bill as one of his last major acts.

You can help tell Congress that we don't need a watered-down compromise. Come to a
Step It Up 2007 rally to mark the National Day of Climate Action on April 14th. It's time to send a message to Washington that we won't accept inaction any longer.
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