Bush climate speech follows Luntz playbook: “Technology, technology, blah, blah, blah.”

drinking.jpgBush has given us a new drinking game: Down a shot whenever the President uses the word “technology” in a climate speech. You’d get 19 shots for today’s 21 minute speech!

As predicted Bush closely follows the Frank Luntz playbook on how to seem like you care about the climate when you don’t. Bush stated the basic do-nothing message well:

Our investments in research and technology are bringing the world closer to a remarkable breakthrough — an age of clean energy where we can power our growing economies and improve the lives of our people and be responsible stewards of the earth the Almighty trusted to our care.

Translation: “If we had those technologies today, then maybe we could take genuine action now. But, darn it, people, we don’t. We can’t grow the economy and be responsible stewards of the earth quite yet. We are close, though, so be patient already and stop with all those calls for mandatory regulation. Sheesh!”

Since this is the main message of the shrewd Luntz-led delayers, who realized years ago it could be politically dangerous to be seen as opposing all action on global warming, let me repeat Luntz’s advice from his 2002 and 2005 memos to conservatives [both must-reads for progressives]. In his 2002 “Straight Talk” memo on climate change messaging he writes:

Technology and innovation are the key in arguments on both sides. Global warming alarmists use American superiority in technology and innovation quite effectively in responding to accusations that international agreements such as the Kyoto accord could cost the United States billions. Rather than condemning corporate America the way most environmentalists have done in the past, they attack us for lacking faith in our collective ability to meet any economic challenges presented by environmental changes we make. This should be our argument. We need to emphasize how voluntary innovation and experimentation are preferable to bureaucratic or international intervention and regulation.

This is what I call the technology trap, where clean energy technology is used to delay action, rather than to foster action, on climate change.
Luntz reiterated this point in an early 2005 strategy document “An Energy Policy for the 21st Century“: “Innovation and 21st-century technology should be at the core of your energy policy.” Luntz repeated the word “technology” thirty times in that document.

In an April 2005 speech describing his proposed energy policy, Bush repeated the word ‘technology’ more than forty times. This time Business Week recognized that Bush was following Luntz’s script and noted “what’s most striking about Bush’s Apr. 27 speech is how closely it follows the script written by Luntz earlier this year.” The article also pointed out “the President’s failure to propose any meaningful solutions.” Indeed the article’s headline was unusally blunt for the much-maligned MSM:

Bush Is Blowing Smoke on Energy

Hitting all the points in a noted GOP pollster’s playbook, the President’s plan is driven by politics not policy. Worse, it won’t cut oil dependency.

Can we get some similarly cogent press coverage of Bush’s climate speech today?

6 Responses to Bush climate speech follows Luntz playbook: “Technology, technology, blah, blah, blah.”

  1. Ron says:

    50 activists, Greenpeace USA chief, arrested in global warming protest

    Washington, DC, United States — 50 activists, including Greenpeace USA Executive Director John Passacantando, were arrested in front of the US State Department building in Washington DC for participating in a global warming protest.

    They were out in full force calling upon the US to sign the Kyoto protocol, and to protest President Bush’s diversion of effort: a polluter’s summit he called for representatives of the European Union, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, Japan, Canada, India, Brazil, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Australia, Indonesia and South Africa.

    What’s the goal of this meeting? To persuade other countries to undermine the United Nations negotiations and substitute real, binding measures with voluntary pledges.

    Join Kyoto

    If George Bush was serious about solving global warming, he would join with 175 other countries, and sign the Kyoto Protocol.

    The countries meeting in Washington account for over 90% of emissions worldwide. Real action by those gathered in Washington could deliver massive cuts in emissions under the Kyoto Protocol. But this would require binding, mandatory targets for industrialized countries, which the US rejects.

    The Big Emitters meeting is a distraction from the valuable and constructive work within the United Nations leading up to the climate talks in Bali, Indonesia. What the world needs is a strengthened Kyoto Protocol and a “little less conversation, and a little more action.”



    I’m shocked that the boys at Greenpeace don’t know that the US signed Kyoto way back in 1998, under Clinton/Gore. The Senate hasn’t ratified it; but Bush CAN’T sign it – it’s already been signed.


    Words of the Wise

    “We need to radically and intelligently reduce human populations to fewer than one billion.” – Paul Watson, Co-Founder of Greenpeace, current Sierra Club board member

    “Human happiness, and certainly human fecundity, is not as important as a wild and healthy planet…Some of us can only hope for the right virus to come along. -David Graber, biologist, National Park Service

    “If I were reincarnated, I would wish to be returned to Earth as a killer virus to lower human population levels.” -Prince Phillip, World Wildlife Fund

    “To feed a starving child is to exacerbate the world population problem.”
    -Lamont Cole, ecologist, Cornell University

    “Cannibalism is a radical but realistic solution to the problem of overpopulation.” -Lyall Watson, biologist, author

    “We, in the green movement, aspire to a cultural model in which killing a forest will be considered more contemptible and more criminal than the sale of 6-year-old children to Asian brothels.” -Carl Amery, co-founder German green movement

    “Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring about?” – Maurice Strong, senior UN advisor, director of the Temple of Understanding

    “I am on the board of corporations who contribute both to environmental problems and their solutions. And I am on the NGO side: the Earth Council and other organizations.” – Maurice Strong

  2. IANVS says:


    Hey, you’re not one of those oil lobbyists trying to censor & re-write the science, are you?

    Here, let Jim Hansen set you straight.

  3. David B. Benson says:

    Well, some forms of technology might help. Follow

    for awhiile and you’ll see what I mean.

    Of course, there are also brain-devouring ameoba which prefer warmer climates…

  4. Simon D. says:

    Joe – The sad part is that the Bush / Luntz approach is working with some of the domestic press. In following the coverage in the mainstream press, it seems like the Bush Administration is gaining ownership of this vague “technology-based” approach to combating climate change. Clever branding, done perhaps to set up a false showdown between “technology” and actual emissions reduction policies that the Bush Adm will hurt economic production. I wouldn’t care… expect the language may win over enough countries to blow up the UN post-Kyoto process.

  5. similar B. says:

    ahem i am a student who is supposed to like do an assighnment to persuade bush to sigh the kyoto protocol and now i am very confused on what to write. does anyone know how to criticise a person respectfully

  6. Bryce says:

    Dave Benson: “Of course, there are also brain-devouring ameoba which prefer warmer climates…”

    You know, I don’t like Glenn Beck much either, but there’s no need to be gratuitously insulting.