According to the Washington Times, “President Bush is poised to change course and announce as early as this week that he wants Congress to pass a bill to combat global warming, and will lay out principles for what that should include.” However, “it is not clear exactly what Mr. Bush will propose.” Although this announcement comes as we head into the Earth Day weekend, Bush spokeswoman Dana Perino claimed it’s just a coincidence.
Stephen Dinan writes that Bush and conservatives are now focusing on the possibility that “runaway” global warming legislation will cause a “disaster” and a “nightmare.” Asked about the Washington Times story, Dana Perino warned today of a “regulatory train wreck with many different laws, such as the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act.” Perino all but admitted this leaked announcement is a “trial balloon” to try out new right-wing talking points — when she was asked when the Bush plan would be released:
It could be never.
In fact, it is not government action that is the potential runaway train wreck, as Bush administration officials have made clear:
- Howard Frumkin, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “CDC considers climate change a serious public health concern.”
- Dale Hall, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: “We need to do something about climate change starting yesterday.”
- Stephen L. Johnson, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: “Severe heat waves are projected to intensify in magnitude and duration over the portions of the U.S. where these events already occur, with likely increases in mortality and morbidity, especially among the elderly, young and frail.”
- Michael J. Savonis, Federal Highway Administration: “Warming temperatures are likely to increase the costs of transportation construction, maintenance, and operations. More frequent extreme precipitation events may disrupt transportation networks with flooding and visibility problems. Relative sea level rise will make much of the existing infrastructure more prone to frequent or permanent inundation.”
Their polluter-funded message of denial having finally been beaten back, the right wing is now attempting to subvert action by any means possible, including pulling the classic polluter claim that solutions are more dangerous than the problem.
But that will only be true if our response to climate change is designed by the polluters themselves.
UPDATE: A Siegel at Energy Smart debunks the Perino press conference.