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White House Fools the Media Again with Warmed-Over Do-Nothing Climate “Plan”

By Joe Romm  

"White House Fools the Media Again with Warmed-Over Do-Nothing Climate “Plan”"

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lucy-2.jpgThe 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.

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6 Responses to White House Fools the Media Again with Warmed-Over Do-Nothing Climate “Plan”

  1. ReadyForChange says:

    You are completely correct – technology alone isn’t the answer. Market forces aren’t enough to solve global warming because the public isn’t educated enough to CARE enough to make the individual sacrifices needed on a large scale. Otherwise SUVs wouldn’t have sold so well ove the last 10 years. Its only been recently that SUV automakers have started to lose money – but that is more due to the spike in gas prices. If gas remains cheap and automakers keep pumping out gas guzzlers then thats what people will buy. That’s why the government NEEDS to step in and make a few regulations to give a jump start to the process.

    But we need to wake up traditional media and the sad fact is they won’t be reading this site. How will they know the truth when they don’t look for it?

  2. toys says:

    Just curious as to why 52% of MSM articles deny Global Warming and 0% of journals do? It isn’t all about money, is it? I couldn’t get the link to the Luntz article.

  3. Joe says:

    Great cartoon, Clay. Keep them coming.

    Ready, you are certainly right that the traditional media probably won’t be reading this site, at least not yet. But at least all of us can work to get out the facts, and if enough people shift over to the new media, that by itself will be a partial victory.

  4. [...] Now who would’ve though…when I said that Bush’s global warming program was half-assed and pathetic, I was right. Turning to the BBC for accurate news about the US, we find that one of the biggest companies behind the global warming deniers is none other than Big Tobbaco. [...]

  5. [...] Technology, Technology, yada, yada, yada. Straight from the Frank Luntz playbook on how to do nothing but sound like you really care. Fool me once…. [...]