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.
- Is 450 ppm politically possible? Part 0: The alternative is humanity’s self-destruction
- Climate Progress Person of the Year
- The long journey from denier to delayer — Bush hits the climate alarm snooze button at G8
- Polluter appeasement — should we question the patriotism of deniers?
- Everybody happy? Bush signs do-little energy bill
- History Won’t Warm to “W”