Home > AGW, bush, China, climate > Bush – hoist by own petard – prepares global warming initiative

Bush – hoist by own petard – prepares global warming initiative

More at the Washington Times:  http://washingtontimes.com/article/20080414/NATION/676175489/1001

And at the Wall Street Journal’s enviro blog:  http://blogs.wsj.com/environmentalcapital/2008/04/14/green-bush-white-house-to-push-climate-package/?mod=WSJBlog

And, finally, at a press briefing at the White House: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2008/04/20080414-3.html

But there are more questions than answers here about Bush’s motives and intentions.  Given Bush’s lame duck staus in the face of a Congress not controlled by Republicans, what is he hoping to achieve?  Is his focus on making some kind of breakthough with China and India, where he probably has the greatest room to act, or is he just trying to fend off the regulatory changes that his own recalcitrance – with the help of environmentalists and courts – have boxed his administration into regarding regulating CO2 under the Clean Air Act and protecting polar bears under the Endangered Species Act?


For convenience, I’ve excerpted the relevant portions of the press briefing (by Dana Perino) below:

Q You said this morning that the story that was in The Washington Times pretty much laid out where the administration was in terms of this global warming thing. It said, basically, that, you know, he was ready getting ready to propose something. So where are we, exactly, and —

MS. PERINO: No, I think if you read it carefully that is not exactly true.

Q Well, that’s what the lead says —

MS. PERINO: We’ll back up —

Q The lead says that “We’re poised to change course and announce as early as this week” —

MS. PERINO: Well, I didn’t say he got everything right. (Laughter.)

Q Okay. Well, maybe you can sum up more where we are and what we’re doing.

MS. PERINO: I will; let me sum up for you, and let me just walk you through —

Q And also is there a change of course?

Q What are you guys working on?

MS. PERINO: Well, for those of you who follow this issue — and I think that in the White House briefing room, reporters here have to dip in and out of this issue because you cover all the issues that we deal with at the White House. So let me take you back through just a little bit of what we’ve been doing.

Over the course of several years the President has advocated a range of policies, both legislative and regulatory, to address the global challenges of climate change. Last year in the State of the Union address, the President called for reducing traditional gasoline use by 20 percent in 10 years; it is called 20-in-10 program. In December of 2007 he largely got what he wanted, except it didn’t go as far and as fast as he wanted to, to help us wean ourselves off of traditional uses of oil.

Also, last May he gave a speech in which he said that the United States would lead an effort to establish a post-Kyoto discussion for nations of the world to address the global challenges of climate change, and that in this process we would work to include China and India and other developing nations who were excluded from the Kyoto process, and which we believe made it unworkable. So discussions have been ongoing in the administration to follow up on these policy processes.

After that speech in May last year, he went to the G8, in which he presented this to the G8 — and it was well received. Then in September of 2007 the President hosted a meeting here at the State Department, in which he gave a speech and talked about how the major economies of the world needed to work together to help solve this problem, and that we would all establish a national goal, and that each country would come forward with its own plan as to how they were going to reach that goal.

We are a part of that process as well. And so as we’ve moved along and to try to follow up and continue to be the leader in the major economies process, we’ve had ongoing discussions, and we have kept Congress informed along the way. That includes getting ready for this week’s major economies meeting, which is being held in Paris and hosted by President Sarkozy.

On a separate track — or at the same time, I should say — here in this country we are dealing with what we call a regulatory train wreck. We have several different laws that were never meant to deal with — to address climate change, heading down a path that we believe is not reasonable, nor sustainable, would hurt our economy, and is not good public policy. This would have the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act all addressing climate change in a way that is not the way that they were intended to.

At the same time on Capitol Hill, we are getting ready for a legislative debate. And Senator Reid, I believe, has called for the first week of June to be the one where they bring up these bills for debate in the Senate.

We have been in discussions with Congress. Internally, we have conversations. We have conversations with Congress to let them know where we are. And we have been not shy about saying that we don’t support legislation that is currently on the Hill. We think that it would be bad for the economy, and that it wouldn’t — ultimately, it wouldn’t address the problem. And so while there’s nothing on the schedule this week yet for the President to actually make a speech, we do have Jim Connaughton and Dan Price of the National — CEQ and the National Security Council, respectively, who are headed to Paris later in the week, to be there Thursday and Friday, and they’ll be representing the United States as we work towards the G8 time frame, which is in July, which will be held in Japan, in which these countries would lay out their national goals.

So we are having these discussions and we are moving forward and talking about how to deal with it.

Q The U.S. national goal, is that what you’re saying?

MS. PERINO: They’re working towards what we would establish as our national goal.

Q So it would have to pass Congress then, right?

MS. PERINO: We believe that the regulatory path that we are on right now is not sustainable; it will not solve the problems —

Q It’s a legislative proposal?

MS. PERINO: There are legislative proposals up there as well. We haven’t come forward yet and said definitively where we are, and that’s because we’re having a very robust discussion. And I think that it’s fair to say that in this administration there is — we have had more discussion about climate change in a thoughtful, deliberative way, a way that thinks about all the different aspects of it, from the way it would affect different regions of the country. And one of our big concerns is that developing nations in the Kyoto Protocol weren’t included.

So what happens in that regard is you have major economies like the United States who under the agreement would have had to ratchet down their emissions. So if we ratcheted down the emissions, that’s important, that would be a good thing. But if you ratchet down too far and too fast and the technologies can’t keep up, and you force businesses in America to find another place to manufacture, they’re likely going to go to a place that doesn’t have those emission limits or doesn’t have any sort of environmental control. And those jobs that we’ve seen over the past have moved to countries like China and India.

But the problem when you deal with a global problem though, is if you have emissions that are going up — if all you’ve done is move the emissions from here over to Asia, then you’ve not addressed the global warming problem, and that’s what we’re trying to do.

Q I don’t want to dominate here, but I just want to know what you’re mulling. Are you mulling a legislative proposal? Are you mulling executive action of some sort?

MS. PERINO: There’s a — well, there’s a basket of things that we are dealing with. And we are considering whether or not — we are considering how to move forward on the regulatory path that we have. We are considering how to respond to legislative proposals that are in front of Congress right now. It’s not as clear cut as I think you’re asking me to make it. There’s a range of issues that we have to work on.

Q How much urgency is there? I mean, you’re inside seven months to Election Day. How much urgency?

MS. PERINO: Well, we have a couple of different things. One, if you look to, like, the 20-in-10 program that we passed last year, we are in the middle of implementing that law and that is not easy. One of the things that was a part of that law was mandating 35 billion gallons of alternative or renewable fuels to replace traditional fuel use. Those regulations have to be implemented and that has to take place across the board.

But at the same time, while those things are ongoing, you have a legislative debate that you’re going to have in June. And we think that the reasonable and responsible thing to do is to have a conversation that takes into consideration all of the different issues and figures out what is the right way to do something and what is the wrong way to do it.

Categories: AGW, bush, China, climate Tags:
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.