More incomprehensible Bush on GW

Via Chris Mooney, I find Bush talking nonsense on GW again at a press conference. Chris Mooney thinks Bush is rubbish, but actually cuts the Bush quote off to early. Bush sez:

We — first of all, there is — the globe is warming. The fundamental debate: Is it manmade or natural. Put that aside. It is in our interests that we use technologies that will not only clean the air, but make us less dependent on oil. That’s what I said in my State of the Union the other day. I said, look — and I know it came as quite a shock to — for people to hear a Texan stand up and say, we’ve got a national problem, we’re addicted to oil… Being addicted to oil is a problem for our economy… Kyoto was a lousy deal for America. And I tell you why it was a lousy deal for America. It meant that we had to cut emissions below 1990 levels…

For a while, a fundamental debate has indeed been about demonstrating the fairly obvious: thats its manmade. But thats pretty well done now, outside of the far-out septics, of which Bush is one. But then Bush sez, “put that aside”… how can that make sense? Its a fundamental point; you can’t really progress without agreeing on it… or can you? Because Bush is *pretending* that the same actions apply regardless, with all this addiction to oil stuff. But then… if that was true, if addiction-to-oil-is-bad-so-we-cut-our-emissions-regardless is true, then there is no problem with Kyoto. So what he is saying doesn’t even make any sense on its own terms, let alone in reality.

10 thoughts on “More incomprehensible Bush on GW”

  1. Well…given the US coal reserves to which Bush alludes, reducing dependence on foreign oil could conceivably come about without GHG reducing emissions. Rather than shipping in crude, any number of coal-to-oil schemes are being pushed by the coal industry and western state governors.

    [Could be. But that would of course *increase* emissions, since coal is the most carbon intensive fuel around, never mind the efficiencies of the oil-for-coal process -W]


  2. Yep. That’s exactly my point although I didn’t articulate it clearly. When he dismisses global warming and moves onto the oil addiction, he is making sense within his own framework. It just doesn’t make any sense in reality.


  3. Actually, on reflection I think it could be worse. I’d interpret his comments about the ‘controversy’ as basically saying that under no circumstances is he going to admit it’s our fault (that would be political suicide). However, regardless of whether it’s our fault, the fact remains that we can affect the climate and that the climate is getting hotter, so if we don’t want to boil to death we need to do something.

    The next part of his speech backs this up:

    I have — much of my position was defined early on in my presidency when I told the world I thought that Kyoto was a lousy deal for America. And I tell you why it was a lousy deal for America. It meant that we had to cut emissions below 1990 levels, which would have meant I would have presided over massive layoffs and economic destruction. I believe the best way to put technologies in place that will not only achieve national objectives like less addiction to oil, but also help clean the air, is to be wealthy enough to invest in technologies, and then to share those technologies with parts of the world that were excluded from the Kyoto Protocol.

    Basically, it appears that he’s saying that the Kyoto protocols were in some sense a retrograde step – cutting emissions by eviscerating the economy. He felt that an approach with less of a downside was to hope like hell that we’d get sufficiently advanced technology to make emissions reduction economically plausible and even beneficial.

    Not being a climate bod I have no idea whether this makes any sort of sense, but I can see why someone would think that way. My main worry is that he’s gonna have a hell of a time selling it to Americans who love to drive gas-guzzlers – so far they’ve completely ignored the merits of ecologically-friendly engineering.

    [The Kyoto-would-be-disasterous stuff is the std answer; its not really plausible, but it clearly frightens enough people to work! -W]


  4. You can see his dilemma – admitting addiction to oil after invading (1) Aghanistan, and (2) Iraq an oil-producing country – is pretty much confessing what motivates his foreign policy (among other much darker/bizarre motives).

    Talk of doubling output in Iraq from 3million to 6million barrels a day, just goes to show how real the current US addiction to Oil is (20million barrels day). I don’t think China or Russia would take kindly to the US invading any more Oil producing countries, nor can he accuse Chavez in Venezuela of any saddam like crimes, as an excuse.

    Most Mathematicians and you’d think Astro Physicists would agree the problem is not one that can be measured in billions of years, but at best in billions of seconds (20-50 years).

    The US is one thirsty mother that could suck Middle East reserves unless (1) it limits its daily dependance, and (2) it starts to reduce its daily consumption, and moves to alternative fuels, today if not yesterday.

    That just to address the problems with gaz guzzlers, road haulage + cheap internal flights. Add to that the demands from industry, woops dependance on coal? even liquified coal (retrograde step) and the total CO2 emissions are…

    Modern technology is not going to ‘clean-up’ the problem. Modern technology needs to prevent the problem getting worse. The analogy would be smokers lungs – the only way to ‘clean up’ your lungs is to stop smoking. Some smokers put their faith in science & lung transplants. But which other planet would son of Bush suggest the US invade to rob them of their atmos-sphere to transplant to Earth?


  5. Just comparing the recent speech to an older speech from 11 june 2001, which has:

    There is a natural greenhouse effect that contributes to warming. Greenhouse gases trap heat, and thus warm the earth because they prevent a significant proportion of infrared radiation from escaping into space. Concentration of greenhouse gases, especially CO2, have increased substantially since the beginning of the industrial revolution. And the National Academy of Sciences indicate that the increase is due in large part to human activity.

    Given that, does the new speech represent a rhetorical step back?

    I can’t tell. The old speech seems deliberately ambiguous. Maybe it doesn’t matter. There’s been no effort at mitigation, and no effort at adaptation. There has not even been much effort to adapt to the climate we already live in.

    [I would say that the new and the old are functionally near equivalent; the old one being slightly stronger because the role oF GHG’s in the warming is explicit -W]


  6. Bush’s remarks may have a sort of internal logic from the right (perverse) point of view. Maybe Bush believes:

    1) The US should reduce oil imports (though not necessarily fossil fuel consumption) for purely geopolitical/strategic reasons.

    2) Global warming should indeed be mitigated – by making other countries restrict their greenhouse-gas emissions.

    It doesn’t have to be moral, logical, or an effective foundation for planetary stewardship. It just has to shore up the current Republican voter base. It’s just “have your cake and eat it too.”


  7. “Our country, the United States is the world’s largest emitter of manmade greenhouse gases. We account for almost 20 percent of the world’s man-made greenhouse emissions. We also account for about one-quarter of the world’s economic output. We recognize the responsibility to reduce our emissions. We also recognize the other part of the story — that the rest of the world emits 80 percent of all greenhouse gases. And many of those emissions come from developing countries.”



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