Saturday, December 29, 2007

this is the sound of george bush covering his ass for posterity on climate change

Peter Baker is entirely too kind to de facto President George W. Bush in this long article on how his views on climate have changed over the past year. Baker, relying in large part on the usual current and former White House sources who won't let their names be used because they don't want to get in trouble (or are embarrassed by their own lies), says that Bush's thinking on climate has gradually changed because he's "found the science increasingly persuasive."

But there are hints at the reality. The familiar story about Dick Cheney in 2001 reversing Bush's campaign pledge and killing any plan to require cuts on carbon emissions from power plants. Nods to the fact that it is the changing political reality - including the efforts at state and city levels of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mike Bloomberg and other governors and mayors, the Democrats' victory in the 2006 elections, and even the changing attitudes among many businesses about climate change - that is more responsible for Bush's change of heart (such as it is).

Because after all, any statement that the science is so much certain now than in 2001 is pure crapola. The scientific consensus has been strongly in place since well before January 2007. The only change in the consensus in 2007 has been recognition that all the bad shit we worry could come from climate change may be happening even quicker than we'd feared.

And that of course, makes the Republicans' reprehensibly irresponsible legacy of delay and denial all the more appalling and indefensible. I say "Republicans" not "Bush" here because remember that the Republican party, the party of pandering to big energy and religious zealots, has been on a decades-long war against science. Most of the war on science has been merely embarrassing for America abroad, and has "only" cost us jobs and money as we lag behind in fields like stem cell research. The Republican war against climate change could cost trillions of dollars, billions of lives, and in the worst case, jeopardizes our global civilization.

Bush's climate change adviser Jim Connaughton says, "You ask, why now? Well, the convergence has finally happened, both internally and externally. Everybody's ready for the next step."

But the real answer to "why now?" is - "oh shit, we don't want to be seen by history as colossal fuck-ups or worse, as being purely in the pockets of Exxon and Detroit and the coal industry, and we don't want the voters to hold this against us Republicans."

As I've said before, when it comes to judging the sorry history of this incompetent, immoral, corrupt, and illegal Administration, I fear the verdict will be even more scathing about its ostrich-in-the-sand stance on climate change than about Iraq, torture or our Constitutional protections.

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