Yet again, George the W has graced our television screens.
Yet again, George the W has peddled truthiness masquerading as serious policy concepts.
Yet again, George the W is at work to undermine American and Global security and prosperity.
Yet again …
The White House has sent out excerpts from the President’s coming “remarks on climate”. Let’s take a few minutes to decode them.
From the cover material sent to the press
The President’s remarks will also inform the Senate-scheduled debate on climate change legislation.
Hint, hint, Jim Inhofe (R-Exxon), here is where the President thinks you should go with your climate denier material. Let’s work together to ensure serial polluters serially profit off the health of Americans and the planet’s future.
In addition, the President will emphasize the importance of decisions on climate change regulation being openly debated and made by the elected representatives of the people rather than unelected regulators and judges.
Note key words: “elected representatives” rather than those “unelected regulators and judges”. This means that BushCo is concerned that, increasingly, judges are enforcing the law and calling violators to account. Perhaps this is because, time after time, courts are calling the Bush Administration to account for violating the law. Oh, yes, those laws passed by Congress and signed by Presidents. Those “unelected” are enforcing the laws passed by the “elected”.
As for the speech:
On the principles for effectively confronting climate change:
Gag reflex in full swing. George the W speaking to principles. (Want to speak about principles for Climate Change action, see here.)
Over the past seven years, my Administration has taken a rational, balanced approach to these serious challenges. We believe we need to protect our environment. We believe we need to strengthen our energy security. We believe we need to grow our economy. And we believe the only way to achieve these goals is through continued advances in technology.
We believe in and act on the need to ensure the profits into the pockets of our buddies in the polluting industries and fossil fuel extractors.
We believe in ignoring health implications.
We beliee in sacrificing tomorrow for pursuit of short-term interests and short-term concerns of special interests.
We believe in deception and truthiness, rather than truth and truthful.
I have put our Nation on a path to slow, stop, and eventually reverse the growth of our greenhouse gas emissions. In 2002, I announced our first step: to reduce America’s greenhouse gas intensity by 18 percent through 2012. I am pleased to say that we remain on track to meet this goal even as our economy has grown 17 percent.
“GHG intensity …” Well, this has nothing to do with reducing GHG emissions, it is a measure of the rate of growth for emissions per economic unit. And, well, George has had nothing to do with this … oh yeah, except for fostering even more outsourcing of American jobs.
When I took office seven years ago, we faced a problem. A number of nations around the world were preparing to implement the flawed approach of the Kyoto Protocol. In 1997, the United States Senate had passed a resolution opposing this approach by a vote of 95 to zero. The Kyoto Protocol would have required the U.S. to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The impact of this agreement would have been to limit our economic growth and shift American jobs to other countries while allowing major developing nations to increase their emissions. Countries like China and India are experiencing rapid economic growth which is good for their people and good for the world. But this also means that they are emitting increasingly large quantities of greenhouse gases which has consequences for the entire global climate. So the United States has launched, and the G8 has embraced, a new process that brings together the countries responsible for most of the world’s emissions.
Kyoto would have led to a shift of American jobs to other countries? What, we might ask, has happened in the absence of the US signing Kyoto? A movement of jobs into America?
On the new goal:
In support of this process, and based on technology advances and strong new policies, it is now time for the U.S. to look beyond 2012 and take the next step. We have shown that we can slow emissions growth. Today, I am announcing a new national goal: to stop the growth of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2025.
We must reduce emissions by 20+% below 1990 levels by 2020. George the W provides this great solution: let’s stop growth by 2025? Want to talk about dooming America, Americans, and the globe to catastrophic climate change? Then, listen to George the W.
To reach this goal, we will pursue an economy-wide strategy that builds on the solid foundation we have in place. As part of this strategy, we worked with Congress to pass energy legislation that specifies a new fuel economy standard of 35 miles per gallon by 2020, and requires fuel producers to supply at least 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel by 2022. This should provide an incentive for shifting to a new generation of fuels like cellulosic ethanol that will reduce concerns about food prices and the environment. We also mandated new objectives for the coming decade to increase the efficiency of lighting and appliances.
Yes, the Bush Administration was such a lead re CAFE fuel standards. George’s top priority since day 1.
And, can we get off the idiocy kicks of biofuels. Please. If George is promoting them, isn’t that an indication of their worth?
Taken together, these landmark actions will prevent billions of metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from entering the atmosphere.
To reach our 2025 goal, we will need to more rapidly slow the growth of power sector greenhouse gas emissions so that they peak within 10 to 15 years, and decline thereafter. By doing so, we will reduce emission levels in the power sector well below where they were projected to be when we first announced our climate strategy in 2002. There are a number of ways to achieve these reductions, but all responsible approaches depend on accelerating the development and deployment of new technologies.
Technology. Technology. Technology. The call of the delayer.
The reality is that new technology will be useful and is desireable. But, we can do a tremendous amount with what is already available. Tomorrow’s lightbulbs might be better, but you can cut lighting electrical use by 73% today by switching to CFLs. Similar options exist throughout the economy. Let’s deploy those today even while we work to develop the options for tomorrow.
On the problem of outdated regulations being applied to climate change:
As we approach this challenge, we face a growing problem here at home. Some courts are taking laws written more than 30 years ago to primarily address local and regional environmental effects, and applying them to global climate change. The Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act were never meant to regulate global climate change. For example, under a Supreme Court decision last year, the Clean Air Act could be applied to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles.
Can I say something, please, Mr President? Those laws were, without a doubt, designed to protect the air my children breath, the endangered species who live on this earth (or used to), and the environment in which we all breath/eat/drink/work/play/live … and your Administration, under your leadership, has studiously sought to undermine them. Don’t patronize us with an appeal to the ethos behind legislation that you have so determinedly sought to undermine.
Oh no, by the way, those evil activist judges. Those evil activist judges who are, in the majority, appointed by you and other Republican Presidents.
If these laws are stretched beyond their original intent, they could override the programs Congress just adopted, and force the government to regulate more than just power plant emissions. They could also force the government to regulate smaller users and producers of energy from schools and stores to hospitals and apartment buildings. This would make the federal government act like a local planning and zoning board, and it would have crippling effects on our entire economy.
On no, “original intent …” Again, Mr President, with all due respect (in other words, little to none), perhaps it is time to be actually enforcing those laws.
And “crippling”? What are you smoking because, to be quite honest, that is stuff that I don’t want to be touching. Going carbon pollution smart will mean being Energy Smart, and Energy Smart policies are the path toward prosperity, not impoverishment.
Truthiness without the truth …
Decisions with such far-reaching impact should not be left to unelected regulators and judges. Such decisions should be debated openly and made by the elected representatives of the people they affect. The American people deserve an honest assessment of the costs, benefits and feasibility of any proposed solution.
“Honest assessment …” Don’t make me laugh. Honesty coming from your mouth? Sadly, my children’s future is reliant on your words and actions … but not for much longer. How can anyone take this man’s words seriously as even making a mock pretence of representing truth?
“Unelected regulators and Judges,” those evil boogy-men. Do we want to mention that you, George the W, have appointed the majority of these? Are you suggesting, perhaps, that we should not trust your appointees with our future? On this, George, I would agree.
On the wrong way and the right way for Congress to approach climate change legislation:
Pay attention Nancy and Harry: George the W is giving you marching orders.
Courage, just a little, please. He was wrong on S-CHIP. He was wrong on Telecommunications Immunity. You have gained politically while the nation has gained from standing up against him. Courage, just a little, please.
This year, Congress will soon be considering additional legislation that will affect global climate change. I believe that Congressional debate should be guided by certain core principles and a clear appreciation that there is a wrong way and a right way to approach reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Bad legislation would impose tremendous costs on our economy and American families without accomplishing the important climate change goals we share.
That is right. “Bad legislation would impose tremendous costs …” Bad legislation that allows polluters to keep polluting, that does not adequately incentivized (not just financially) Energy Smart moves, that talks of solutions tomorrow, rather than today, “will impose tremendous costs … without accomplishing … important climate change goals …”
Now, as to “we share …” From your actions in your occupation of the Oval Office, it seems that your goal is to foster a change in the climate. Sadly, while I want a change in the Climate of Fear that you have fostered and fed on, I seek to reverse the moves toward catastrophic climate change, not to accelerate it.
The wrong way is to raise taxes, duplicate mandates, or demand sudden and drastic emissions cuts that have no chance of being realized and every chance of hurting our economy. The right way is to set realistic goals for reducing emissions consistent with advances in technology, while increasing our energy security and ensuring our economy can continue to prosper and grow.
The wrong way is to jeopardize our energy and economic security by abandoning nuclear power and our Nation’s huge reserves of coal. The right way is to promote more emission-free nuclear power and encourage the investments necessary to produce electricity from coal without releasing carbon into the air.
Okay, well, “abandoning coal” might be the right answer, George. Are you prejudging the technology? Hmmm …
And, the same could be said for nuclear power. The point about nuclear power is that all except the most extreme advocates do not see enough capacity for nuclear power to be anything other than part of the solution path, maybe not even one “wedge” in terms of requirements. It is not a Silver Bullet solution.
The wrong way is to unilaterally impose regulatory costs that put American businesses at a disadvantage with their competitors abroad which would simply drive American jobs overseas and increase emissions there. The right way is to ensure that all major economies are bound to take action and to work cooperatively with our partners for a fair and effective international climate agreement.
Notice that “unilaterally”, we can’t, after all, do anything until every last of the 6.5 billion people on earth have signed up to something. Oops … another one has been born. Need to start all over.
By not going green, by not being Energy Smart, we are already losing the race to a prosperous 21st century economy (and hampering our ability to prevent catastrophic climate change). Keep going the way we’re going, and 100% of our renewable energy systems will have to be imported from overseas (or be American factories putting together foreign-designed technology, with our sending $s after $s overseas for the rights to use that technology.
On technology as the key to addressing climate change:
We must all recognize that in the long run, new technologies are the key to addressing climate change.
I do not need to “recognize that … new technologies are the key …” Perhaps for where we need to be 30 years from now, the new technologies developed in the next 20 years have importance, but we must act starting the day before yesterday and we have tremendous amounts of capacity for change for the better already invented, tested, designed, and deployed … just not deployed enough. CFLs, CSP (CPV, CSTP), CHP, etc … just without leaving the letter C in abbreviations, I can come up with technology after technology that can be deployed, today, to help reduce the output of another C: CO2.
But in the short run, they can be more expensive to operate. That is why I believe part of any solution means reforming today’s complicated mix of incentives to make the commercialization and use of new, lower emission technologies more competitive.
Yes, this is true. “Part of any solution …” Perhaps, by the way, lowering the tax incentives for oil companies while increasing the tax incentives for renewable power? Mr President, are you going to lobby in favor of that measure?
First, the incentive should be carbon-weighted to make lower emission power sources less expensive relative to higher emissions sources, and it should take into account our Nation’s energy security needs.
Okay, I can buy into this. Weighting correctly and we stop building coal plants … cold.
Second, the incentive should be technology-neutral because the government should not be picking winners and losers in this emerging market.
Yup, I can generally buy into this. Sort of. We might want to spark early movement in new technologies, because newly deploying technologies merit more assistance than mature technologies.
Third, the incentive should be long-lasting. It should provide a positive and reliable market signal not only for the investment in a technology, but also for the investments in domestic manufacturing capacity and infrastructure that will help lower costs and scale up availability.
Well, this also is not insane.
So, Mr President, are you going to provide incentives for solar power, wind power, ocean power businesses to manufacture in the United States?
On putting America on an ambitious new track for greenhouse gas reductions:
If we fully implement our strong new laws, adhere to the principles I’ve outlined, and adopt appropriate incentives, we will put America on an ambitious new track for greenhouse gas reductions. The growth in emissions will slow over the next decade, stop by 2025, and begin to reverse thereafter, so long as technology continues to advance.
Forget “ambitious …” Stopping emissions growth by 2025 does guarantee one thing: no ice in the Arctic and likely none in Greenland and probably none in Antarctica. That is okay, after all, because ice is cold and we don’t like cold. Do we?
The strategy I have laid out today shows faith in the ingenuity and enterprise of the American people – and that is one resource that will never run out. I am confident that with sensible and balanced policies from Washington, American innovators and entrepreneurs will pioneer a new generation of technology that improves our environment, strengthens our economy, and continues to amaze the world.
Actually, what is laid out is an insult to Americans. You are failing to ask anything meaningful of them. This is not a call to greatness, to move a generation of Americans to something greater.
Okay, very simply, AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sadly, people will listen to him and report this as if he is speaking in good faith.
This is, after all, a rant of anger, frustration, and outrage. Others have pre-speech reactions, with more substance (even if as much anger and frustration and outrage …), such as Joe Romm at Climate Progress, the Climate Network, Grist Same as it ever was, and on Bush’s insulting of the Supreme Court and the legal system, I suggest Warming Law.
Congressman Ed Markey had this reaction:
By the time President Bush’s plan finally starts to cut global warming emissions, the planet will already be cooked.
The President’s short-term goal is to do nothing, his medium-term goal is to do nothing much, and his long-term goal is to do nothing close to what’s needed to save the planet from global warming.
On a day of faith in America, where the Pope and scientists all agree that we must act on global warming, President Bush’s paltry goals show little faith in American ingenuity and solutions to global warming.
He claims we must cooperate with other countries on climate-friendly technology, but his administration didn’t even send a participant to a major 60-country renewable energy meeting in Berlin last week. How can the American people have faith in this President’s climate goals when he doesn’t even show faith in his own rhetoric?
Finally, as I’ve written elsewhere, this could very well be a political positioning effort for McFlip, McFlop, McSame McCain to be a ‘maverick’. The disastrous Lieberman-Warner Coal-Subsidy Act will be portrayed as ‘radical’, Bush the W’s plan is not enough, and McSame McCain will come in, like a “Maverick”, with something in between, for a gullible media to portray him as somehow ‘moderate’ … a truthiness that doesn’t get any truer with repeating it over and over.