(U-WIRE) MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – In a 2000 presidential debate with former vice president and presidential candidate Al Gore, President George W. Bush said that in response to global warming and climate change, “I don’t think we’ve got all the facts.”
Throughout his presidency, Bush has been stuck in the position of needing to be seen as active against climate change, while at the same time, needing to be seen like he doesn’t quite buy into it by his supporters.
Bush has managed to dodge questions about climate change and other science-related questions like evolution, for example, by quaintly questioning their validity. (Bush said that the “jury was still out” on evolution.)
In June 2006, Bush summarized his approach to global warming.
“I think we have a problem on global warming. I think there is a debate about whether it’s caused by mankind or whether it’s caused naturally, but it’s a worthy debate,” he said. “It’s a debate, actually, that I’m in the process of solving.”
At a G8 summit in 2005, he rejected any ideas that appeared to be similar by the United Nations to the Kyoto Protocol, a measure that would reduce carbon emissions to pre-1990 levels by 2012.
But, with his presidency winding down and his presidential legacy in question, Bush has begun to reverse his position on global warming and has, at least, tried to appear like he’s taking a stand against global warming.
At a May 31 meeting this year, Bush said that he would like to see the United States become a “major player” in a carbon emission reduction policy in 2012, when Kyoto expires. Safely, of course, after Bush is out of office.
Last week, when the leaders of the world met at the United Nations, Bush skipped the entire day’s events and scheduled a meeting to discuss stopping global warming. But, according to the New York Times, he did attend dinner that night.
Instead, he held his own meeting later in the week to discuss more America-friendly policies.
According to the New York Times, Bush said at Friday’s meeting that “the nations that contribute most to global warming should all set goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” adding that he didn’t specify such goals, and called for nations to voluntarily meet guidelines.
It is this kind of attitude that shows Bush’s stance to be disingenuous.
If Bush genuinely wants us to combat climate change, he should shape specific policies that reduce our emissions now.
There should be no international tiptoeing, no vague outlines – we need solutions, not rhetoric.
On fighting global warming, Bush said Friday: “By working together, we will set wise and effective policies. That is what I am interested in – effective policies. I want to get the job done. We have identified a problem. Let us go solve it together.”
Hopefully Bush finally lives up to his rhetoric and begins to, as he says, “get the job done.”