jueves, abril 24, 2008

Empty Promises on Warming
It is a fact: If Bush is a dumb lier, Calderón is a dumber lier.


White House aides had billed President Bush’s Rose Garden speech last week as a major turning point at which the president would unveil an ambitious set of proposals to address the problem of global warming — a late-breaking act of atonement, as it were, for seven years of doing nothing.
Sadly, Mr. Bush’s ideas amounted to the same old stuff, gussied up to look new. Instead of trying to make up for years of denial and neglect, his speech seemed cynically designed to prevent others from showing the leadership he refuses to provide — to derail Congress from imposing a price on emissions of carbon dioxide and the states from regulating emissions on their own.
Mr. Bush’s main proposal was to halt the growth of emissions in the United States, chiefly from power plants, by 2025. This means, of course, that after seven years of letting emissions grow, he would allow them to continue to grow for another 17 years — and would come nowhere near the swift reductions in emissions that scientists believe are necessary to prevent the worst consequences of climate change.
We’ve been here before with Mr. Bush. A few years ago he grandly offered to reduce “carbon intensity.” The idea then was that carbon emissions could rise so long as they rose more slowly than economic growth. The president has never quite grasped the idea that the only way to reverse the process and prevent serious damage is actually to reduce emissions.
And how would Mr. Bush reach his own inadequate goals? Not surprisingly, there was no mention of government intervention. Mr. Bush argued that industry would do what it hasn’t done until now and voluntarily reduce emissions on a broad scale. He insisted that new technology, developed with public and private financing, would make that possible.
No one who cares about this problem disputes the need for major investments in cleaner ways of producing energy from existing sources like coal, in alternative energy sources like wind power and in carbon-free technologies that are now little more than dreams. But no one believes that industry will invest in those new technologies until existing ways of producing energy become too expensive. For that to happen, government will need to put a price on carbon emissions through a mandatory cap or carbon taxes, or some combination of both.
Mr. Bush again resisted that central truth and reaffirmed his opposition to both taxes and the mandatory caps that lie at the heart of a bipartisan Senate bill sponsored by Senators John Warner and Joseph Lieberman. And not only did he oppose new laws, but he also criticized states and the courts for invoking old ones, like the Clean Air Act.
Only a few months ago Mr. Bush pledged to obey a Supreme Court ruling that the act required the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate greenhouse gases. Now he warns that obeying the law could cause a “regulatory train wreck.”
It is hard to find anything redeeming in this speech, though it contains two obvious truths: This president has no intention of addressing climate change. The next president will have no choice but to do better.

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