Saturday, January 27, 2007

Bush's War On Global Climate

Compare and contrast the following statements. First:
Keeping America competitive requires affordable energy. And here we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world. The best way to break this addiction is through technology. Since 2001, we have spent nearly $10 billion to develop cleaner, cheaper, and more reliable alternative energy sources -- and we are on the threshold of incredible advances.

So tonight, I announce the Advanced Energy Initiative -- a 22-percent increase in clean-energy research -- at the Department of Energy, to push for breakthroughs in two vital areas. To change how we power our homes and offices, we will invest more in zero-emission coal-fired plants, revolutionary solar and wind technologies, and clean, safe nuclear energy. (Applause.)
Tonight, I ask Congress to join me in pursuing a great goal. Let us build on the work we've done and reduce gasoline usage in the United States by 20 percent in the next 10 years. When we do that we will have cut our total imports by the equivalent of three-quarters of all the oil we now import from the Middle East.

To reach this goal, we must increase the supply of alternative fuels, by setting a mandatory fuels standard to require 35 billion gallons of renewable and alternative fuels in 2017 -- and that is nearly five times the current target At the same time, we need to reform and modernize fuel economy standards for cars the way we did for light trucks -- and conserve up to 8.5 billion more gallons of gasoline by 2017.
In each year's State of the Union address, in order to distract people from talking about the fact that, well, he really has no solution to the Iraq War, President Bush tosses out at least one or two grandious schemes that are guaranteed to grab headlines, and a couple of wonky technical points designed to catch the eye of people who aren't as bamboozled by health care insurance at the cost of bouncing an awful lot of people care insurance.

This was that "wonky" bit. If you read the two passages carefully...the first is from the 2006 State of the Union, the second from this year's SOTU...both deal with alternative energy programs he's proposed.

You'll notice, though, that the second proposal, albeit a bit more detailed than the first, is nearly identical. Last year, Bush pushed this tiny little marginal attempt to include alternative energy in the scheme of things as a national security issue: in the wake of Katrina, spiking oil prices, and of course, uncertainty over Iran and Iraq, it was the obvious way to pimp it.

And he failed.

This year, when global warming is universally accepted as factual and imminent, with the Oscar-nominated "An Inconvenient Truth" available now to anyone with a Blockbuster card, he's poised the issue as a way to combat "global climate change."

Newsweek has an interesting article this week on Bush's apparent position change. Nonsense. Bush has been humping this watered-down response to global warming for six years now, going back to June 2001. Admittedly, this was the first time he mentioned it in the State of the Union, but he's been road testing this theme for a long time, waiting for a moment he could safely jump on a bandwagon while maintaining political cover from the few crackpots who still think styrofoam is biodegradable and it ain't getting any hotter.

The promise Bush made in 2001, was weak and while on the face of things was kept...well, let's read the words:
Today, I make our investment in science even greater. My administration will establish the U.S. Climate Change Research Initiative to study areas of uncertainty and identify priority areas where investments can make a difference.

I'm directing my Secretary of Commerce, working with other agencies, to set priorities for additional investments in climate change research, review such investments, and to improve coordination amongst federal agencies. We will fully fund high-priority areas for climate change science over the next five years. We'll also provide resources to build climate observation systems in developing countries and encourage other developed nations to match our American commitment.

And we propose a joint venture with the EU, Japan and others to develop state-of-the-art climate modeling that will help us better understand the causes and impacts of climate change. America's the leader in technology and innovation. We all believe technology offers great promise to significantly reduce emissions -- especially carbon capture, storage and sequestration technologies.

So we're creating the National Climate Change Technology Initiative to strengthen research at universities and national labs, to enhance partnerships in applied research, to develop improved technology for measuring and monitoring gross and net greenhouse gas emissions, and to fund demonstration projects for cutting-edge technologies, such as bioreactors and fuel cells.

Even with the best science, even with the best technology, we all know the United States cannot solve this global problem alone. We're building partnerships within the Western Hemisphere and with other like-minded countries. Last week, Secretary Powell signed a new CONCAUSA Declaration with the countries of Central America, calling for cooperative efforts on science research, monitoring and measuring of emissions, technology development, and investment in forest conservation.

We will work with the Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research and other institutions to better understand regional impacts of climate change. We will establish a partnership to monitor and mitigate emissions. And at home, I call on Congress to work with my administration on the initiatives to enhance conservation and energy efficiency outlined in my energy plan, to implement the increased use of renewables, natural gas and hydropower that are outlined in the plan, and to increase the generation of safe and clean nuclear power.
Your eyes probably glazed over and you skipped ahead, so let me summarize for you.

Not one new technology has emerged from all the billions of dollars of research the Bush administration earmarked in 2001 for alternative energy sources or technologies.

Not one technology exists now that didn't exist then! Period. Some small advances have occured in fuel cell technology and other hydrogen-based fuels, and of course, hybrid cars are on the market, but both of those were driven by the free market and had little to do with the initiatives of the Bush administration.

As was said about his "new" Iraq plan, how are we to know these new commitments will work? Because he said they have to?