Big media claims, “President Bush is preparing an astonishing U-turn on global warming.” Since Bush already has had one not so astonishing U-turn, when he abandoned his 2000 campaign pledge to put a cap on carbon dioxide emissions, don’t hold your breath.
Let’s be clear. As NASA’s James Hansen just said, “I think we have a very brief window of opportunity to deal with climate change … no longer than a decade, at the most.”
So only two “U-turns” matter–those on a Green Arrow Only. We need a serious cap on carbon dioxide emissions to reduce absolute levels of emissions in the utility and industrial sectors, and we need a big boost in fuel economy standards to cover the transportation sector.
If Bush embraces these two policies, that would indeed be “an astonishing U-turn,” especially since the administration announced just one year ago, “What will never fly is a mandatory cap on carbon.”
Blogs like Grist have been doing a good job of covering this. But big media has not. Time quoted a Bush adviser saying about the GOP, Democrats, the oil and electricity industries, and environmentalists:
NOT! Progressives have been waiting at the table for more than a decade — conservatives have chained themselves to their beds.
Another story claims Bush will soon announce “a goal of stabilizing carbon dioxide levels in the global atmosphere at 450 parts per million by the year 2106.” NOT! On our current pace, we will hit 450 by around 2030, and be rising 3 ppm a year. Stabilizing at 450 ppm would require global emissions to peak within a decade and U.S. emissions would have to drop 80% by 2050, so “2106” is a red herring. If you overshoot to 550 ppm, the chances you could get back to 450 are small, since you would destroy the tundra and release huge amounts of greenhouse gases.
Most likely, this will be a Double-U-Turn, and will be back where we started.