Sunday, February 10, 2008

George W. Bush – Just call him Mr. Green

With a surname like Bush, Dubya couldn’t help but be green, right? It’s in his DNA right next to the politicking gene. The PBS documentary “Hot Politics” included a clip of one of Dubya’s speeches during the 2000 election campaign in which he clearly states that climate change is a huge issue. It’s so important that he pledged to pass mandatory carbon caps on American Industry. This was designed to make him appear more green than Gore, as blasphemous as that may sound. At the time, "Global Warming" Gore was only proposing voluntary caps. I followed the 2000 presidential campaign for a high school history class, but I didn’t remember Bush trying to out-green Gore. That clip was pretty twilight-zoney.

So after the “greenest” candidate won, one of the first things he did was send his newly appointed, climate-change-is-real EPA chief to Europe to represent the USA as a serious proponent of the dangers of global warming. Bush showed his support for EPA Chief Whitman by changing the administration’s stance on climate change in the middle of the Italian summit: it was no longer a fact according to Bush. It seems as though the decision was made after VP Cheney had a closed-door meeting with several coal and power company executives. The EPA Chief didn’t have any input whatsoever in the change. When she wanted to talk to Bush about it, she was told there was nothing to discuss. So much for loyalty in the climate change battle.

You may ask, “But doesn’t that take away his greenity?” No. The definition of green simply changed in what has now become a Bush administration trademark. In the new context, green applies to money, not environmental concern. But don’t blame Bush. Apparently, it has been American policy to side with the economic affects of reducing emissions rather than the dire affects of said emissions since experts first began exploring the issue in the 1980’s. Bush the First blatantly chose the American economy over environmental concerns (there's a clip of him saying so in "Hot Politics"), and Clinton never pushed meaningful legislation to the capitol floor (notably the Kyoto Protocol ratification). In terms of green presidents, Bush is par for the course. Let’s hope that dramatically changes January ’09 not just for our sake, but also for the sake of the globe.

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