Bush Administration on Carbon Emissions: We Don’t Care, and We Don’t Care if You Know We Don’t Care

Ever write something and only realize later what you were really trying to say? Ever write and publish something and then realize what you were trying to say?

This happened to me with the following post. Only after reading the comments (on Grist) did I realize the point. Even if you take the Bush administration at its word on global warming, you quickly see that they have no intention of acting to reduce carbon emissions. They say as much!

Here we go…

On a new blog called Terra Rossa–"Where Conservatives Consider a New Energy Future"–GOP pollster Whit Ayres argues that when President Bush at the G-8 summit declared his willingness to "seriously consider" carbon emission reductions over the next forty years, he took a "major step" in the direction of his environmental critics. Says Ayres: 

I don’t think anyone could argue that conservatives are not trying to compromise on the issue. While many conservative voters, politicians, and business leaders might prefer to take no action to limit carbon emissions, they have heard the call to action and are clearly working toward a cap they can live with.

Ayres claims the President has undergone a "sea-change" on global warming, but ignores these inconvenient facts:

    –No agreement to reduce carbon emissions came out of the G-8 summit, despite much pressure from Germany and Europe.

    –The President talks of "long-term" goals, but has committed to nothing but discussion.                                                                                                                              
    –Shortly after taking office, a White House insider admitted to Andrew Revkin of The New York Times [$] that the Bush administration intended to do as little as possible about global warming:


”There’s a sense in which everybody’s saying the American public doesn’t have the attention span or background to pay attention to this issue,” the official said. ”There’s still a hopeful perception around the White House that this has gone away.”

   –Not only did the President break a reassuring campaign promise regarding carbon emissions, but just this last year told a biographer that he was a "dissenter" on the "theory" of global warming.

So we have good reason to doubt the sincerity of the Bush adminstration, despite the bland assurances of progress from White House environmental chief Jim Connaughton. And in fact this past week the President himself, in his own words, has let us know exactly how high a priority he gives the issue. Four recent speeches–to a Southern Baptist convention, to a homebuilders convention, at a political fund-raiser, and at a nuclear power plant yesterday were put through a word processor, and the results show what is on the President’s mind, and what is not:

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