The Sun Sets in the East: White House Climate Change Talking Points

Last week, the White House sent out within the Adminstration talking points in advance of this week’s Climate Change discussions in the UN (which, as Meteor Blades reminds you, Bush won’t attend except for dinner tonight) and next week’s Climate Change Conference .

These talking points, as you will see, seek to turn day into night, top to bottom, and convince us that the sun sets in the east.

Just remember, Don’t Worry, Be Happy …

Or, if you live in the reality-based world, protest Friday!

In the face of serious news that catastrophic warming now unavoidable, the White House is passing around its talking points re Global Warming.  

Sent out Wednesday, 19 Sept, to Bush Administration officials from the Executive Office of the President by Martin E. McGuinness, Special Assistant to the President for Legislative (see p 887) this material begins:

You may recall that in May the President announced a major international  initiative on energy security and climate change, and this approach was largely endorsed by the G-8 leaders in June.  The President made good on this initiative by inviting world leaders to send their representatives to a meeting of major economies that will take place next week, on September 27-28.

Ah, there is a meeting this coming week … but, well, you wouldn’t want any Administration inadvertently talking about that UN session, would we.

Would those at the UN meeting be less likely to be participants in the Coalition of the Denying?

In any event, this meeting is to be about “climate change” and “energy security” … Have to say, these are two critical arenas, but the wording is clearly Luntz speak.  The focus should be at the interacting perils of Peak Oil (and other energy concerns) and Global Warming. We must chart a common course through the perfect storm humanity faces in the coming decades.

17 major economies plus the UN are expected to participate in these meetings next week, including major emerging markets like China and India.

This meeting matters, as Bush will push these countries to endorse more fossil fuel burning, to ignore the reality staring us all in the face about the pace, path, and implications of Global Warming.

The meeting kicks off a process to develop a new post-2012 energy security and climate change framework by the end of 2008.  

This is a two-part objective, in my opinion.

  1.  Kick the can down the pike on US action another year, through this Administration.

Spend the next 15 or so months in negotiation and inaction, always having the excuse that X can’t be done because, somehow, it will interfere with sensitive international negotiations.

According to the NYTimes Bush to Skip U.N. Talks on Global Warming

Mr. Bush hopes to persuade the nations that produce 90 percent of the world’s emissions to come to a consensus that would allow each, including the United States, to set its own policies rather than having limits imposed by binding international treaty.

This process looks like a run-out-the-clock tactic for the Bush Administration. After 7 years of obstruction the administration is trying to appear to take action through the end of their administration.  They realize that this may be their last chance to lock in a weak agreement before a new US administration with a stronger position on global warming comes into office.

Global Warming threatens America, our future, and the Bush Administration seems determined to stall for time. Time while we all further damage the planet.

  1.  Negotiate something internationally that will, VP Cheney (R-Exxon) hopes, hog-tie the next Administration from being appropriately pro-active in confronting Global Warming in the international community.

Sign a “Climate Change” treaty the day before the Democartic President is sworn in, creating a serious complication as to how to proceed.  

Now, back to the memo’s description of what is happening.

Leaders will:

  • Launch a process for identifying a long-term global goal to reduce greenhouse gases
  • Discuss technology pathways and near-term national strategies to promote energy security and reduce greenhouse gases
  • Construct work programs for key sectors, such as advanced coal and transportation, and
  • Agree that we should strengthen emissions reporting and harmonize how we measure our reductions

Wow, doesn’t it sound good … it all sounds so positive … finding cooperative paths for reducing GHG, setting objectives, finding measurement tools for tracking progress.  For some reason, however, it is hard to take this at face value, isn’t it?  

Read the words, does this suggest any path for near term action, for taking serious steps in the interim between today, the identification of long-term objectives, and strengthening of reporting?  No real discussion of what can and should be done NOW, in the interim while a larger treaty conception could be develop.

Play kick the can while whistling Don’t Worry, Be Happy!

The various agencies involved have the lead in rolling out information related to this meeting to the Hill, but I wanted to personally touch base with you as well.  CEQ, State, DoE, USDA, EPA and DoC officials will be available this Friday, September 21 from 9:00 – 10:00 am in 2200 RHOB to provide an overview of the meeting and answer questions.

The Rayburn House Office Building?  Think Nancy Pelosi was invited? How about Ed Markey? The Energy Independence and Global Warming Committee staff? (Okay, maybe the minority.)

The President will be addressing those gathered for these meetings and I will share those remarks with you as soon as I am able to do so.  If you or others you know wish to attend the speech, likely to be Friday morning at the State Department, just let me know.

This Friday, 28 September, at the US State Department, George the W will speak on Climate Change … or will he … never can be sure, can we?

Hope this helps, happy to answer any questions you may have.  

Answer questions. … Hmmm … think the floor is open to the American public?

On 7 Septemer, Stephen L Johnson, EPA Administrator, participated in
Ask the White House where “the long-term challenge of global climate change” was discussed. (Notice, again, “long-term” suggests we can put it off and “climate change” is the Luntz-speak version.) Within that discussion,

Therese, from Illinois writes:
Many scientists do not believe that gas emissions, have nothing to do with global warming, and that the warming is a natural phenomenon. Why should the United States submit to more rules and regulations, that continue to destroy our freedom ?

Stephen L. Johnson
Earlier this year, scientists from around the world concluded that the global climate change we have seen over the last 50 years is very likely the result of human activity. As a scientist myself, and someone who has worked at EPA for over 27 years, I support this conclusion.

Okay, given the chance, Johnson (directly) rejects those who reject science. And, admits to “very likely” human causation. Kudos … but, well, it doesn’t stop there.

Like you, the Bush Administration believes that U.S. efforts to address climate change should not adversely impact the continued growth of the U.S. economy, and such efforts must also be done in concert with international efforts to effectively address this global issue.

How to phrase this, Economy Uber Alles?

Now, for some odd reason, I tend to think that these were not free-form questions, randomly selected …

Thus, the question remains, think that George W. Bush is ready to answer my questions?

Yours?

The American citizens’?

Are you kidding me?

Well, there will be a rally outside the day of Bush’s speech, coordinated by Climate Emergency:

Here’s the scoop: In a clearly manipulative move, George Bush is inviting top leaders from around the world to Washington, D.C. Sept. 27th and 28th to officially convey his “deep concern” about global warming. His proposed fix: more useless “voluntary” measures and huge subsidies for “clean coal” and nuclear energy. The event is clearly meant to undermine real international efforts now underway to achieve mandatory greenhouse gas cuts under the Kyoto process.

Well, far better said than I.  Manipulative is, of course, the polite way to phrase this.  But, what is the point:

Top ministers and heads of state from around the world will be attending Bush’s conference as well as a great concentration of national and international media. We need to show up and loudly proclaim our own message: George Bush doesn’t speak for us! We want real climate action now!

Now, for the talking points …

Please sing “Don’t worry, Be Happy” to yourself while reading this. Among other things, it is the appropriate intellectual level for being able to take this material seriously.

While I have you, here are some of our TPs on the subject:

Be prepared to see the points that you will be reading in the traditional media reporting on the Climate Change meeting.

  • This Administration has done more for the environment and addressing energy security and climate change than any other in history.

What?  Huh?  

Black is White.

Night is Day.

The Sun Sets in the East …

2007 is 1984.

We live in a Brave New World.

Well, okay, perhaps it worthwhile to quote a “Kennedy, “George W. Bush will go down in history as America’s worst environmental president.” And, well, that was four years ago …

Hold it, maybe it is true if we change just a few words  … a “for” to “to” … “This Administration has done more to the envionment and to worsen energy security and Global Warming …”

To paraphrase Bill Clinton,

Ask yourself:

  • Are we better off on Climate Change/Global Warming than six years ago?  
  • Are you happy with how much you pay for a tank of gas? Do you feel more secure on energy?
  • Are we better off on Peak Oil and energy security than six years ago?  
  • The President has devoted $37 billion to climate change since 2001 and has requested $7.4 billion more in 2008 for dozens of voluntary, incentive-based, and mandatory programs.

Of course, the challenge, how do we count such things?  What is in that $37 billion?  And, how much of this is the Bush Administration increasing budget priorities?  

And well, the talking points are out there, being used. To quote Johnson Ask the White House, “Since 2001, the Bush Administration has invested $37 billion – more than any other country – not only to better understand the science of climate change, but to invest in technologies that will help address this global challenge.”  Sound familiar?  Very good at talking the talking points, for speaking truthiness with a straight face.

  • Since 2001 President Bush has consistently acknowledged that climate change is occurring and humans are a contributing factor.

And, well, Johnson is on the record that “on June 11, 2001, President Bush commented, “First, we know the surface temperature of the Earth is warming…there is a natural greenhouse effect that contributes to warming…and the National Academy of Sciences indicates that the increase is due in large part to human activity.” Repitition, repitition. After all, they know that White House reporting pool is unlike to be checking too many facts as that web thingy is so confusing.
But

Huh …

Wow, how can anyone say things like this with a straight face. For example, in
June 2006, George W. Bush said “I have said consistently that global warming something is a serious problem. There is a debate over whether it’s manmade or naturally caused.”  Well, the first sentence is clearly not true and, well, the second does seem to contradict this talking point, doesn’t it?

Note, by the way, the 2001 point, perhaps because they don’t want to deal with Governor Bush’s comments on Global Warming causation

Some of the scientists, I believe, haven’t they been changing their opinion a little bit on global warming? There’s a lot of differing opinions and before we react I think it’s best to have the full accounting, full understanding of what’s taking place. 11 Oct 2000

Well, that was then, you say.

Now, well, now, he accepts that there is such a thing as scientists …

  • The President treats climate change seriously and is taking aggressive, yet responsible action to reduce our greenhouse gases based on the best available science.

Don’t you love codewords?  

“Best availabe science …” This from the people who question evolution?  “Sound Science” is that science which fits the political agenda of the Republican Party.

“Responsible action” … is that action responsive to Exxon-Mobil?  

What a caveated statement that leaves it with little meaning.

  • The President is committed to a portfolio of actions that fosters economic growth, achieves emissions reductions through technology investments, and includes developed and developing economies.

Huh?  Committed?  With how many $10s of billions?  

  • The President is working actively on programs in the U.S. and with international partners to first slow, then stop, then ultimately reverse the growth of greenhouse gas emissions.

Actively?  Sort of like how he acts with the “Democrat Party” in Congress to seek bipartisan solutions to key national challenges?

  • The President’s policies are working – the U.S. is seeing the same rate of progress in slowing the growth of greenhouse gases, if not better, than European counterparts while experiencing robust economic growth.

Okay, ever heard the term “Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics”.  I will grant that, somehow, there is a mathematical defense of this statement.  Mea culap, but i simply do not find it truthful.

  • In 2006, it is estimated U.S. absolute CO2 emissions declined 1.3% while the economy grew 3.3%.

Wow, the economy grew 3.3%?  I assume that includes inflation.  And, how many more industrial jobs were exported overseas, reducing that sectors pollution. And, well, 2006 was an extremely hot year. Did that perhaps contribute to reduced heating pollution? And, remember the shock of over $3 gasoline in 2006 and (some) reduced driving?  

And, let us reverse things for a moment. The Bush White House will be asserting that we had robust economic growth while reducing CO2 emissions in a meaningful, measurable way.  Hmmm … Anyone else see this?  How can they argue that reducing emissions would be bad for the economy?  Why not have 1.3% C02 reductions year in, year out?  How can they argue that we had economic growth with emissions reductions and then state that reducing emissions is bad for the economy?  How … oh yes, because they are allowed to speak out of both sides of their mouths without challenge.

Above are the talking points.  

My comments just start to providethe counter-points to these Truthiness points …

Please, prime the machine with answers. Fact Checking. Other points to use this week.

In any event …

Don’t Worry, Be Happy … whatever it is will soon pass …

Whistling our way to a hotter planet …

Ask yourself:  Are you doing
your part to

ENERGIZE AMERICA?

Are you ready
  to do your part?

NOTES

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