The rumor is out. W is going to push for Global Warming legislation. According to that font of journalistic wisdom, The Washington Times,
President Bush is poised to change course and announce as early as this week that he wants Congress to pass a bill to combat global warming, and will lay out principles for what that should include.
Before we start planning the Devil’s ice-skating rink and before Al Gore begans tap dancing on the graves of Global Warming denial, there is that nasty little issue of details.
With the utterly inadequate Coal-Subsidy Act being (mis)repesented as the (fools’) Gold Standard in Global Warming legislation, one has to wonder quite seriously (and with real trepidation) as to what will come from W’s White House.
First, as I’ve warned and feared, the pressure is mounting to act now before the next President enters the Oval Office with an even larger Democratic majority on the Hill. Those who care about Global Warming issues and who have been arguing in favor of Lieberman-Warner seem to operate from a base assumption that George the W will simply veto anything that passes Congress. Well, just a minute …
Bush administration officials have told Republicans in Congress that they feel pressure to act now because they fear a coming regulatory nightmare.
That “regulatory nightmare”? How about instituting meaningful regulations that will dissuade serial polluters from continuing their violation of the air and water that your and my children breathe and drink? The “nightmare” they are seeking to avoid: actually bearing any responsility for how their actions and activities affect others, including the unborn. And, to avoid actually having to pay for the costs that they impose on others through their pollution.
Now, the Lieberman-Warner Coal Subsidy Act is already enough of a disaster. That bill utterly fails to pass must on even the most basic definitions of core principles that should guide global warming legislation:
- Meet scientific requirements: L-W doesn’t even meet a 50% chance of avoiding catastrophic climate change.
- Polluters pay: Almost 40% of L-W’s pollution permits will be given away, given a windfall profit to polluters who will bear lesser incentive to reduce their pollution.
- Socially equity: L-W will transfer financial resources from the ‘average’ person’s pocketbook into the bank accounts of major corporations.
Okay, so the Lieberman-Warner bill is bad, but it is already too much for John McCain to sign up to. Does this suggest that Hell is freezing over when it comes to George the W and Global Warming as a path to aid John McCain’s presidency? Give McCain a seemingly reasonable bill, one the media might will fawn over in ignorance, to make him seem a reasonable actor when it comes to actual legislation on Global Warming?
“This is an attempt to move the administration and the party closer to the center on global warming. With these steps, it is hoped that the debate over this is over, and it is time to do something,” said an administration source close to the White House who is familiar with the planning and who said to expect an announcement this week.
Yes, right now the majority of Americans understand that the Republican Party is out-to-lunch in its denial of reality when it comes to Global Warming. Thus, it looks like the White House planning a blitz to try to con the American public (through cooperative “journalists”) that this is (no longer) the case. Hmmm, wonder why they think a sleight-of-hand like this might work.
Not a done deal …
There is pressure on the White House to reject even a tepid move.
The Times regurgitates talking points about how wonderful US policy already is in this regard:
“U.S. taxpayers are already spending more than $40 billion a year to address climate change, and to date we’re achieving better results than the Europeans are under a bureaucratic regulatory framework. That should be kept in mind before any rash — or political — decisions are made inside the White House. Excessive regulations would come with significant economic consequences and additional costs for consumers.”
How many different ways to highlight that this truthiness goes past deception to flagrant untruths? In any event, this type of blustering right-wing opposition will help give cover to what will almost certainly be a highly flawed and wrong-headed proposal for the Bush Administration. Being able to hold up loud complaints from the even more lunatic fringe of the party, traditional media outlets will posit George W Bush’s proposals as somehow reasonable. As they are, without a doubt, going to be even worse than Lieberman-Warner, the pressure will be on to find a “compromise” between the already disastrous L-W and the likely utterly disastrous Bush proposal. In this discussion of political gamesmanship, the baseball of Hill strategy, reality and what science says is required will be shunted aside. That shunting aside, however, is not some casual issue to be accepted lightly.
When it comes to Global Warming legislation, the debate is about to change … and not for the better.