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FROM THE EDITOR
Posted: 04/20/08

The Bush Approach To Climate Change

By JR Dieckmann

When President Bush delivered his speech on climate change in the Rose Garden this week, it was a mixture of hot and cold for both Democrats and Republicans. On one hand, he accepts that the issue of global warming is a concern for many Americans. On the other hand, he understands that radical measures to combat climate change would be detrimental to the economy and our way of life. He believes that these two opposing views can be reconciled with reason and compromise.

“Many are concerned about the effect of climate change on our environment. Many are concerned about the effect of climate change policies on our economy. I share these concerns, and I believe they can be sensibly reconciled,” says Bush.

It’s a sad day in America when politics demand that reality and facts must be compromised with hoax and myth to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. But that seems to be what our government spends most of it’s time doing these days.

In 1997, the Senate rejected the Kyoto treaty by a vote of 95 to 0, Bush pointed out. In 2002, he proposed legislation to cut “greenhouse gasses” by a moderate 18% through 2012. On Wednesday Bush announced a new national goal to gradually slow the growth of greenhouse emissions over the next 18 years and stop it’s growth by 2025.

This is certainly a more rational approach to dealing with the “problem” of greenhouse gasses, than the radical plan Congress included in the energy bill late last year. The plan does not attempt to end harmful emissions, but rather merely to slow, and by 2025, stop the growth of such emissions. It allows time and incentives for technology to be developed to aid in the slowing of emissions while protecting the economy from commercial regulations that could lead to sudden collapse and drive people out of business. You might look at it as a rational option and rebuttal to the plan the Democrats have in mind.

Bush sees no urgency in dealing with this issue of climate change, so it’s difficult to know exactly where he stands on it. Are the actions he is proposing simply being done out of political pressure, or does he really believe that there might be some truth in the Gore hoax? It appears from his proposal that he’s not taking any chances either way and is calling for a measured approach to appease the left while still protecting the economy and the business community.

Bush also understands that efforts by the U.S. alone will have no real effect on global air pollution as long as developing countries like China and India continue to increase their emissions and remain exempt from regulations. So Bush is taking his plan to the G8 summit with the condition that for the United States to participate in this effort, all nations must agree to do the same, including the before mentioned. He sees this as a global issue that must include all countries who contribute to it, and he is inviting other nations to submit their plans to deal with it as well.

He also recognized our need to reduce dependence on foreign oil, while preserving an affordable food supply, by promoting the development of “cellulosic ethanol” which does not require the use of corn to produce fuel and can basically be made from weeds.

“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.“

While saying nothing about increasing our domestic oil supply (he may have given up on fighting Democrats over that), he did encourage nuclear energy and other newly developed and developing energy technologies:

“We've provided billions of dollars for next generation nuclear energy technologies. Along with the private sector, we've invested billions more to research, develop and commercially deploy renewable fuels, hydrogen fuel cells, advanced batteries, and other technologies to enable a new generation of vehicles and more reliable renewable power systems.”

Bush also addressed the problem of the courts imposing draconian measures to control emissions by using 30 year old laws that were never meant to address 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.”

He then went on to caution Congress about passing legislation this year that would have destructive effects on the country and the economy. With lessons learned from watching this current Congress, Bush warned Congress about passing “bad legislation”:

“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 on American families without accomplishing the important climate change goals we share.

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 sharply increase gasoline prices, home heating bills for American families and the cost of energy for American businesses.

The right way is to adopt policies that spur investment in the new technologies needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions more cost-effectively in the longer term without placing unreasonable burdens on American consumers and workers in the short term.

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.

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.

The wrong way is to threaten punitive tariffs and protectionist barriers, start a carbon-based global trade war, and to stifle the diffusion of new technologies. The right way is to work to make advanced technology affordable and available in the developing world -- by lowering trade barriers, creating a global free market for clean energy technologies, and enhancing international cooperation and technology investment.”

Bush wrapped up his speech by emphasizing that any strategies to deal with “climate change” must be done on a global basis with all developed and developing countries carrying an equal share of the burden, and sharing in new energy technologies to reduce “greenhouse gasses.” Such strategies would replace the failed Kyoto Protocol when it expires in 2012 with a more doable and reasonable plan:

“Our objective [at the G8 summit in July] is to come together on a common approach that will contribute to the negotiations under the U.N. Framework Convention of global climate once the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012. This approach must be environmentally effective and economically sustainable.

To be economically sustainable, this approach must foster the economic growth necessary to pay for investments in new technology and to raise living standards. We must help countries in the developing world gain access to the technologies, as well as financing that will enable them to take a lower carbon path to economic growth.”

President Bush is proposing a plan to deal with the fears of those suckered into the global warming myth as well as recognizing that regardless of fears of man made climate change, some controls are needed to preserve clean air for all to breath. He also emphasizes that any action taken must be global in nature, with shared responsibility among all nations, and must not damage national economies with draconian limits and restrictions on industry. That is to say that any restrictions that would harm national economies must be balanced with new technology to affordably deal with the restrictions.

In the final analysis, we should all have cleaner air to breath, but Bush seems to see no urgency in dealing with the hype of “man made global warming.” His plan puts the brakes on the Kyoto Protocol and replaces it with a more reasoned approach that will protect industry and the economy, while developing new energy technology that will benefit not only Americans, but the entire global community.

Two questions remain however. Will the international community agree to Bush’s plan without modifying it too much, and how will Congress butcher this plan when they get their hands on it? Congressional Democrats are already publicly objecting to it because it does not include their socialist agenda but rather encourages a capitalist approach. It’s no secret that Democrats no longer favor or support capitalism in America. They believe that if the government isn’t doing it, it shouldn’t be done.

As the hoax of global warming looses traction with Americans, so too will the need for solutions to solve it, such as alternative energy and fuels. Environmental socialists won't stop their efforts to return us all to the stone age, but they will have a much more difficult fight on their hands. By 2025 it will be obvious that all this panic and chaos about man made greenhouse gasses warming the planet is a fraud and Congress will have a much more difficult time selling to the people as a viable and justifiable way to spend our tax dollars. They’re going to have to pin their socialist agenda on something else - like “global cooling.”