EPA: “The administration didn’t want to show a high-dollar value for reducing carbon.” How high? Only $2 trillion by 2020!

hannibal.jpgWhen will our long national nightmare finally end? When will the Bush Administration stop waterboarding future generations, stop cannibalizing their future?

The Washington Post reports today:

The Bush administration has decided not to take any new steps to regulate greenhouse gas emissions before the president leaves office, despite pressure from the Supreme Court and broad accord among senior federal officials that new regulation is appropriate now.

To defer compliance with the Supreme Court’s demand, the White House has walked a tortured policy path, editing its officials’ congressional testimony, refusing to read documents prepared by career employees and approved by top appointees, requesting changes in computer models to lower estimates of the benefits of curbing carbon dioxide, and pushing narrowly drafted legislation on fuel-economy standards that officials said was meant to sap public interest in wider regulatory action.

[Note to WP’s Eilperin and Smith: Double kudos for the ironic use of the word “tortured.”]

OK, it’s a dog-bites-man story for one of the FHA’s “Worst Leaders of All Time.” We’ve seen again and again that if anyone in the world knows how best to sap the public’s interest in energy and climate action, that would be President Nero Chamberlain Hannibal Lector Bush.

But one is drawn to the perverse genius of the climatic evil-doers in the White House, much as the villains in the best movies, like Silence of the Lambs, are always more interesting than the heroes. Consider the absurd analytical lengths the administration has gone to devalue the future benefits of climate action:

Some officials said the administration has also minimized the benefits of tighter fuel-economy standards by assuming that oil will cost $58 a barrel in the future, compared with its current price of $141.65. While the EPA calculated in a May 30 draft that stricter standards would save U.S. society $2 trillion by 2020, officials revised that figure last month — using the $58 estimate — to predict that they would save only between $340 billion and $830 billion.

[Note to Administration: Why stop at $58? Why not, say, $11, as we saw in the 1990s? Heck, why not assume OPEC pays us to take the oil off their hands?]

How ironic — one of the unintended consequences of the administration’s policies (non-policies?) that brought us soaring oil prices is that such prices make action on climate change more economically beneficial. I will return to this point in a future post. So what is the analytical reality?

Career EPA officials argued that the global benefits of reducing carbon are worth at least $40 per ton, but Bush appointees changed the final document to say the figure is just an example, not an official estimate. They prohibited the agency from submitting a 21-page document titled “Technical Support Document on Benefits of Reducing GHG Emissions” as part of today’s announcement.

I have not supported the idea of prosecuting the funders of disinformation for crimes against humanity. But I wish President Bush a very long life, so that such an option can be considered for him in the future.

And let’s not forget his stooges, like “EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson, a career official who previously oversaw pesticide regulations.” What does he have to say for his role in Bush’s crimes:

“I know some people are going to say we’re kicking the can down the road,” Johnson said as he faced a group of angry career officials. But he said that was not the case.

No, you are not kicking the can down the road. You are kicking your children and my children and everyone’s children in the head. You are cannibalizing their future.

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7 Responses to EPA: “The administration didn’t want to show a high-dollar value for reducing carbon.” How high? Only $2 trillion by 2020!

  1. Earl Killian says:

    One part of the WaPo story was indicative of what is really going on:

    “They argued that this increase in regulation should be on the next president’s record,” not Bush’s, said a participant in the lengthy interagency debate, referring principally to officials in the office of Vice President Cheney, on the White House Council on Environmental Quality, on the National Economic Council and in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

    I.e. what the White House fears is that their clients would perceive this as betrayal (hint: the White House does not consider the American people to be their clients).

    Then there was this:

    Hutto, a former Cato Institute intern and Bush campaign volunteer during the Florida vote recount in 2000, whose grandfather patented at least seven piston inventions for the Ford Motor Company, has “an anti-regulatory philosophy and concern about what regulation means for the American way of life. He would talk, for example, about not wanting greenhouse gas controls to do away with the large American automobile,” said the meeting participant.

    See, large autos are goal worth sacrificing our children to. Shameful.

  2. paulm says:

    Can a global economic depression save the world from Climate Change?

    This is an debate that we should seriously consider. How bad has Climate Change got…should we voluntarily shutdown our economies to fight Global Warming?

    Are we at a point, given the outcome of the G8 meeting, that it would be more beneficial for mankind and nature if our economies where to collapse now, rather than march on causing climatic catastrophe.

    I believe that this is a radical alternative measure which should should not be ruled out in our efforts to tackle Global Warming. What do you think?

    Part II – How could this be archived?

  3. Shannon says:

    “But one is drawn to the perverse genius of the climatic evil-doers in the White House”- so true! It keeps me up at night. How can you fight an evil so powerful and incisive while staying clean?

  4. John McCormick says:

    paulm, your foolish and dangerous notion:

    [that it would be more beneficial for mankind and nature if our economies where to collapse now]

    and your obscene call for ideas to put that into action:

    [How could this be archived?]

    are the very charges the strongest denialists use to paint we believers as near-terrorists.

    Why do you want to give them proof that we would sacrifice anything to tackle global warming….even welcoming a long-term global economic depression?

    I’ll have to check with my two children to see if they approve of you cancelling their future.

    John McCormick

  5. paulm says:

    I know it sounds radical, but there was a depression around the 30’s and look were we are at now just 70yrs later. If Climate Change keeps escalating wont that result in a worse, more permanent outcome? From the now desperate calls of our climate and economic experts it sounds like Hell & High water is just a round the bend.

    I am not calling for it to happen, I am calling for a debate on it to get some input from experts to see if it is an option. Global warming will be catastrophic – a depression shouldn’t. We need to look at all the paths forward to survival now I think!

  6. modview says:

    I’m not sure turning the issue of torture into a joke deserves any applause, if that’s what the Washington Post had intended. And even if it were some attempt at humor, I’m not sure how it is irony… unless I’m missing something about the definition of irony. Perhaps you could explain?

    Perhaps you meant sarcastic… though I would think using the issue of torture as sarcastic humor is also a bit beneath anyone trying to write serious journalism.

  7. Andy Bauer says:

    Let’s all agree that:

    1) Global Depression would be bad, and

    2) There’s a whole boatload of things to do that we haven’t even tried yet (see Joe’s piece on Wedges). And I mean good-ol-college-try tried.

    Think of the scene from ‘Titanic’ where there are two rich guys who think it’ll be cool to ‘go done with the ship’. Remember their faces when the water is at their ankles? That would be the look of regret. As in ‘I had other options, but I thought doing nothing in a showy sort of way would be neat’.

    PS. BTW – All the ‘experts’ have to be Moms and Dads.