If only Bush would follow his own good example on global warming

Wed, 2007-10-03 10:42Bill Miller
Bill Miller's picture

If only Bush would follow his own good example on global warming

The U.S. president, notorious for his long-standing opposition to fixed mandates to cut greenhouse-gas emissions, enacted legislation while governor of Texas that required energy companies to produce 5,000 megawatts of electricity from renewable sources by 2015. The legislation set penalties for those that failed to meet their requirements, and prodded them to invest in renewable energy.

In 1999, then-Gov. George W. Bush and his Texas legislature passed the Renewable Portfolio Standards Act, which spurred development of alternative energy, especially wind farms. Today, Texas leads the nation in wind-power generation; all due to Bush’s willingness to set firm mandates instead of letting businesses maintain the status quo.

As U.S. president in 2001, however, Bush rejected carbon-emission limits as a threat to economic growth. Largely on that basis, he rejected the Kyoto Protocol, which requires participants to reduce emissions by 2012 to an average of 5.2 percent below 1990 levels. He was whistling the same regressive tune last week at the September 28 meeting on climate change in Washington. What a difference two years makes!

In December, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change will hold negotiations to replace Kyoto when it expires in 2012. Bush can still play a useful role, but only if he follows his own earlier example.

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Comments

The problem with climate change politics is that a serious green politician is basically unelectable. Any meaningful attempts at solving climate change would be totally alienating to all but the greenest of voters, which reduces most politicians to meaningless platitudes at best.

The trouble with the Green party is some of their other policies. Elizabeth May is good on global warming, but has made stupid remarks in other areas; and why would anyone elect a one-issue candidate?

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In Canada and many other countries, the polling shows that a small "g" green candidate could do quite well, as long as they present a sound and balanced platform. A lot of so-called "Green" candidates, couple sound environmental stances with far-left proposals on issues like the economy and healthcare. 

In the US, whoever can tie a greenhouse gas reduction strategy with a solution to energy independence will be laughing all the way to the White House. 

Actually, I would have said some Green candidates in Canada are too right-wing economically. They definitely are not the same as the European Greens.

Hi VJ,

I like the Green Party. I think they have the best total platform in Canada. Which parts don't you like? Perhaps you find that Greens are too right wing. I like their blend of conservative and liberal. Any party that can easily be defined as right or left wing is not one for which I would vote. The dichotomy is counter-productive. On foreign policy, there are conservatives who call the warmongers liberals, and liberals who call the warmongers right-wing zealots. They're both right in opposing the war, but the definitions of the responsibe ideology are not congruent. I like what Dave Foreman used to say: "We're not left or right, we're out in front!" I think we'll make a lot more progress if we can leave our left-right baggage behind.

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Kevin, you may have already posted some version of this on your site, but a synopsis and discussion some of the latest US polling numbers are here:
http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2007/10/a-sea-change-in.html
"A Sea Change in Public Opinion"

Excerpts:

o Sixty-two percent of respondents believe that life on earth will continue without major disruptions only if society takes immediate and drastic action to reduce global warming.
o Sixty-eight percent of Americans support a new international treaty requiring the United States to cut its emissions of carbon dioxide 90 percent by the year 2050. Yet, Leiserowitz notes, the United States has yet to sign the Kyoto Protocol, an international treaty that would require the United States to cut its emissions 7 percent by the year 2012.
o A surprising 40 percent of respondents say a presidential candidate's position on global warming will be either extremely important (16 percent) or very important (24 percent) when casting their ballots. "With the presidential primaries and general election near," Leiserowitz said, "candidates should recognize that global warming has become an important issue for the electorate."
o Majorities of Americans, however, continue to oppose carbon taxes as a way to address global warming - either in the form of gasoline (67 percent against) or electricity taxes (71 percent against).
o Finally, 50 percent of respondents say they are personally worried -15 percent say a "great deal" - about global warming. "Many Americans, however, believe that global warming is a very serious threat to other species, people and places far away," said Leiserowitz, "but not so serious of a threat to themselves, their own families or local communities. Nonetheless, they do strongly support a number of national and international policies to address this problem."

Yep. This was the polling recently the Yale School of Forestry and Environment - these numbers are showing a slow upwards progression of concern in the US - also, slowly, but surely, US citizens are becoming more educated on the issue. 

Politicians should start take notice, the Iraq war can't last forever.  

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so more people see GW as a major threat and believe immediate and drastic action is required...or else?

Well I'd say that we, the public believe whatever we're led to believe about whats coming with climate change.

But there is no hope whatsoever for immediate drastic action.

No chance - No way - No how

Everybody should quit dreaming that this can can be turned around. It's a one way street. It goes wherever it goes and the speed of travel will only increase.

There is no stopping and no slowing and no maintaining speed.
Forget it.

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[x]

A study published by Geophysical Research Letters sheds new light on the connection between California's epic drought and human-induced climate change.

The study carries the decidedly wonky title, “Probable causes of the abnormal ridge accompanying the 2013-14 California drought: ENSO precursor and anthropogenic warming footprint.”

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