Sunday, June 3, 2007

Doh! Some Europeans Are Wary Of Bush's Sudden Flip-Flop On Climate Change

Here's an interesting headline from the International Herald Tribune:

"Europe wary of Bush's motives on global warming"

The article is by Mark Landler and he says:
For six years, Europeans have pleaded with President George W. Bush to seize the initiative in the campaign against global warming. Now that he has, many here are even more frustrated.

Bush's unexpected announcement Thursday that the United States would gather together the world's largest emitters of greenhouse gases to seek a long-term global reduction in emissions has thrown Washington's European allies, particularly Germany, off balance.

The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, will convene a meeting of the leaders of the world's richest nations here in the coming week, at which she plans to push for much the same goal as Bush, albeit using very different means.

On the eve of the Group of 8 summit, Bush's vaguely worded proposal has muddied what had been shaping up as a black-and-white showdown between Europe and the United States.

Merkel's environment minister, Sigmar Gabriel, warned that Bush's plan might prove to be a "Trojan horse," impeding her efforts to get an agreement on deep emissions-reduction targets in Germany while defusing criticism that the United States is a hurdle to the broader climate effort.

"Bush torpedoes Merkel's climate plans," said a typically skeptical headline in the German financial newspaper Handelsblatt.
I don't blame the Europeans for being skeptical about Bush's sudden change-of-direction on this issue.

I do blame Americans for not being skeptical enough, not just about this issue but about everything this administration says. But that's another story ... unless it's the other side of the same story!

Remarkably, after all these years of incessant lying, some Europeans are still taking the little chimp at his word. Thus
for Merkel's chief climate adviser, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Bush's plan is a welcome sign that the United States has re-engaged in the debate [...]

"It's clearly an indication that the Bush administration wants to contribute to solving the problem," Schellnhuber said in an interview.
Oh, is it?

If Hans Joachim Schellnhuber is right, if "the Bush administration wants to contribute to solving the problem" we'd better mark the calendar!

I think Herr Schellnhuber should be reading Bob Parry, who has a much clearer view of this particular situation:

Bush's Global Warming Foot-Dragging
George W. Bush snared front-page attention for his supposed shift on global warming, but the President’s tepid “aspirational goals” – and comments from his NASA chief that a hotter planet might actually be beneficial – continue to reflect Bush’s long-held doubts about the urgency of the problem.

Since running for the presidency in 2000, Bush has justified his foot-dragging on the issue, in part, through reliance on coal-industry-financed research embracing the same notion expressed by Bush’s NASA administrator Michael Griffin, that global warming may turn out to be a good thing.

For instance, in a major energy policy address on September 29, 2000, candidate Bush turned to research from the Greening Earth Society, a think tank financed by the Western Fuels Association, a cooperative owned by seven coal-burning utilities.

In the speech, Bush offered the surprising assessment that technological breakthroughs, such as the Internet, were draining the nation’s electrical grid and required construction of many new power plants, including coal-fired generators.

“Today, the equipment needed to power the Internet consumes 8 percent of all the electricity produced in the United States,” Bush declared, an assertion that drew little press attention but astounded many energy experts who consider the Internet and similar advances, on balance, a way to improve productivity and reduce energy demands.
And guess what? The grounds for that claim turned out to be specious! Who could have known?

Bob Parry has a lot more, of course.

Caveat Europa!