I don’t know why anybody expected this man to have anything intelligent or productive to say on this topic this time around.
Here are the three things you need to know about Bush’s speech — the same three things you needed to know about his previous speeches on the subject:
- Bush’s speech is not meant to advance serious efforts to address climate change, but to thwart the efforts of others. This has been true of all three speeches he’s given — see Dan Froomkin on this. This time around, it’s meant to thwart Congressional Democrats, who show every sign of being on the verge of passing a carbon cap-and-trade bill.
- The targets Bush does announce would doom the planet. Last time around it was improving the “carbon intensity” of the economy — that is, releasing less CO2 per unit of GDP, even though total CO2 would continue rising. This time around, it’s “halting the growth” of U.S. emissions by 2025. By way of contrast, international folks are pushing for a peak in global emissions by 2020. If U.S. emissions keep rising until 2025 — and that’s what Bush is calling for, rising CO2 emissions for another 17 years — efforts to keep global CO2 levels below 450ppm, or even 550ppm, are futile, and unthinkable human misery lies on the horizon.
- The Republican Party will not accept even the weak initiatives Bush lays out. This piece in Roll Call ($ub. req’d) tells the story:
Years after President Bush torpedoed the Kyoto global warming treaty, he is expected to outline principles this afternoon for passing legislation to reduce carbon emissions, but it’s unclear how much support he will find among Congressional Republicans.