Senate Democrats

President Bush: Not Getting the Job Done on Global Warming

At the G-8 Summit this week, President Bush has been working to weaken a proposal to cut emissions and limit global warming.  Unfortunately, this latest move by the President to undercut efforts to combat global warming is entirely consistent with his poor record on energy and the environment.  Next week, the Senate will be moving forward with energy legislation that will begin to address the issues the President has ignored.  Our plan will achieve reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions and help curb the risks of global warming by requiring the oil industry to start producing clean, renewable fuels in America rather those that contaminate our air and water and bringing more efficient cars, appliances and products to market. The cleaner our power sources, the fewer pollutants we produce and the easier our communities and our children breathe.

President Bush derails global warming initiative at the G-8 Summit.   “[T]he White House effectively derailed a climate change initiative backed by one of President Bush’s strongest European allies, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany. . . Specifically, Mrs. Merkel is pressing the Group of 8 to adopt a plan to cut emissions in half by 2050 and to limit the rise in global temperature to two degrees Celsius — terms the president’s chief environmental adviser, James L. Connaughton, said Wednesday the United States was not prepared to accept.”  (New York Times, 6/7/07)

The reviews are in: the Bush emissions proposal won’t get the job done on global warming

Boston Globe: Bush’s proposal a “ploy to avoid an international emissions cap.”  “The central drama on the Group of Eight stage promises to be President Bush’s refusal to include the United States in a consensus on setting targets and timetables for significant reductions in greenhouse gases and serious efforts to conserve energy. In a transparent attempt to pre-empt criticism of his stance against European calls for a cap on carbon emissions and a global carbon-trading program, Bush offered a climate change initiative of his own in a speech Thursday…But his insistence on countering it primarily with efforts to ‘harness the power of technology’ and reduce tariffs on new technologies amounts to a ploy to avoid an international emissions cap.” (The Boston Globe, editorial, 06/04/07

Chicago Sun-Times: “Good reason” to greet Bush’s emissions proposal with “plenty of cynicism.” “President Bush’s proposal to set a global goal for cutting greenhouse gas emissions was greeted with plenty of cynicism in America and around the world when he announced it last week, and with good reason. The United States under Bush has dragged its feet on the issue, and although his call for a specific target for cutting the gases that are blamed for global warming represents a major shift, critics called his proposal tardy, halfhearted and toothless. It’s going to take a lot more than his declaration that ‘the United States takes this issue seriously’ to convince the world that it really does. The United States never ratified the Kyoto Protocol that requires industrialized countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2012, because India and China were exempt and because of rational fears that it would hurt the economy. And Bush has rejected a plan backed by Germany, Britain and Japan that would pick up where Kyoto left off, aiming to cut emissions after 2012 to a level 50 percent below 1990 levels by mid-century. Instead, he now is pushing a plan for the countries that spew the most emissions — including India and China — to agree by the end of next year to a global target for reducing greenhouse gases.” (Chicago Sun-Times, editorial, 06/04/07 )

Salt-Lake Tribune: Bush may have “no real intention of purposefully walking the walk” on climate change. “George W. Bush may, finally, be getting serious about global warming. Or, with just a year and a half remaining in his second term, the president may be trying to fend off withering criticism at home and abroad by talking the talk, with no real intention of purposefully walking the walk. With his long and sorry record of denial and obfuscation regarding human-caused climate change, and international efforts to combat it, there is no way to judge the sincerity of Bush’s call Thursday for global cooperation to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions..” (Salt Lake Tribune, editorial, 06/04/07 )

New York Times: Bush has a history of “denial and obstructionism” on climate change. “President Bush has been feeling the heat on global warming. He’s been feeling it from Congress, from state governors, from the business community and, most recently and powerfully, from America’s closest foreign allies, who are fed up with his passivity on the issue and desperate for him to show some real leadership…Given Mr. Bush’s history of denial and obstructionism when it comes to climate change, there are good reasons to be cynical about this sudden enthusiasm, coming as it does on the eve of the meeting of the Group of 8 industrialized nations.” (The New York Times, editorial, 06/01/07 )

The poor Bush record on energy and the environment:

The Bush Administration let oil-industry lobbyists edit scientific reports to play down the threat of global warming.  “A White House official who once led the oil industry’s fight against limits on greenhouse gases has repeatedly edited government climate reports in ways that play down links between such emissions and global warming, according to internal documents.  Before going to the White House in 2001, he was the ‘climate team leader’ and a lobbyist at the American Petroleum Institute, the largest trade group representing the interests of the oil industry.  A lawyer with a bachelor’s degree in economics, he has no scientific training.” (New York Times, 6/8/05) 

Barely weeks into office, the Bush Administration pursued a disastrous environmental policy.  Gwen Ifill: “After barely more than 60 days in office, President Bush has placed a distinctive mark on U.S. environmental policy, rolling back campaign promises on clean air, reversing Clinton administration initiatives on drinking water, and promoting new oil exploration in previously protected regions. And now the White House is taking steps to have the U.S. withdraw its support for a landmark 1997 global warming agreement signed in Kyoto, Japan. …The president is also moving to roll back rules that ban development on 60 million acres of national forest, lift new limits on the amounts of arsenic allowed in drinking water, and undo new cleanup regulations for federal surface mines. Environmentalists are also worried that Bush administration officials will revoke actions that designated large areas of land as protected national monuments.” (Newshour with Jim Leher, 3/29/01) 

Bush administration energy policy was formed from an energy industry “wish list.”  “If you were in the oil and gas business, it was a meeting that dreams were made of. Nine days before George W. Bush was inaugurated, energy lobbyists gathered at the American Petroleum Institute’s offices in downtown Washington. Their agenda: to write a wish list. One participant remembers it fondly. ‘The tone was, ‘OK, what do you guys want? You are going to have the ear of this White House’…But many items on that board–and other lists scribbled by other energy lobbyists in other offices around town–found their way into the recommendations that the president will unveil to the nation next week. The API list, in fact, was forwarded to George Bush’s transition team, which sent it to the Interior Department. On March 20, Interior sent many of the same ideas to the Energy Task Force that Vice President Dick Cheney had convened on Jan. 29.” (Newsweek, 5/14/01)

The Bush administration relied almost exclusively on the energy industry for its energy policy recommendations. “A first review of the 11,000 pages of documents bolsters the contention of Democratic lawmakers and environmental groups that the Bush administration relied almost exclusively on the advice of executives from utilities and producers of oil, gas, coal and nuclear energy while a White House task force drafted recommendations that would vastly increase energy production.”  (Washington Post, 3/26/02)