The media keeps getting suckered by Bush on climate the way Charlie Brown keeps getting suckered by Lucy.
Let’s get this straight: A technology-only strategy cannot solve the global warming problem. So how can the Washington Post publish a basically favorable article about Bush’s technology-only “plan” — and do so the same week both the Congressional Budget Office and Senate Environment Committee explained that such a strategy can’t do the job?
The answer is that technology has sex appeal, and it is actually part of the answer. And that is precisely why conservative strategist Frank Luntz recommended making technology the cornerstone of the climate strategy for conservatives who want to appear as if they care about global warming but don’t actually want to do anything about it. This strategy is so good that Bush can get favorable PR for his plan even though he is cutting funding the most cost-effective technology strategy–energy efficiency.
The famous 2002 Luntz memo is available on the web–you MUST read this if you want to understand why U.S. climate politics at the national level is so divorced from reality — but many people and most of the media seem unaware of it. Heck, even smart people like Rafe Pomerance and William Fulkerson are cited in the Post praising the Bush plan.
That’s why I spend a chapter in my forthcoming book, Hell and High Water: The Solution and The Politics (William Morrow, January 2007) on this subject, which I call the Technology Trap. If we follow the Bush strategy, we doom the planet to catastrophic climate change. It is that simple.
We must have a price for greenhouse gases, as the CBO explains, and that means market-oriented regulations, like Bush’s father put in place for air pollution. But W follows the Luntz razzle-dazzle strategy: “We need to emphasize how voluntary innovation and experimentation are preferable to bureaucratic or international intervention and regulation.” Delay. Delay.
To sum up: As Climate Progress predicted earlier this week, Bush’s “astonishing U-turn on global warming” was a Double-U Turn. We are back where we started, taking no serious action to stop sea level rise of 20 to 80 feet. AAUGH!
UPDATE: Link to Luntz memo has been fixed. My apologies.