The Bush era of energy policy has been one of contempt for the planet and the economy — all for the benefit of Exxon and its ilk. Now he wants to tie our future to even dirtier, deadlier, costlier fossil fuels. Today in West Virginia, President Bush declared his plan for a “sprint to the finish” of his tenure:
We all want to be environmentally friendly people, but we also want to have practical policies that deal with the problems we face today and the problems we’ll face tomorrow if we don’t get going.
What are these “practical policies”?
— “We use about 1.1 billion tons of coal a year. That sounds like a lot to me. It — and so the challenge is, how do we make sure that this reliable source of U.S. energy remains in the center of our strategy?”
— “First, we ought to be drilling offshore exploration, what’s called the Outer Continental Shelf.”
— “Secondly, we ought to expand oil production by tapping into oil shale.”
— “We ought to be drilling in Alaska.”
— “I believe that one really promising source of energy, so we can power our automobiles and become less dependent on foreign energy, is coal-to-liquids projects.”
This is a call for a “sprint to the finish” of civilization as we know it. The Wonk Room has explained how coal-to-liquids, oil shale, expanded offshore drilling would benefit no one but corporate polluters — and would dramatically worsen the climate crisis.
Two weeks ago, former Vice President Al Gore, Bush’s 2000 opponent, explained the roots of the Bush-era crises:
When we look at all three of these seemingly intractable challenges at the same time, we can see the common thread running through them, deeply ironic in its simplicity: our dangerous over-reliance on carbon-based fuels is at the core of all three of these challenges – the economic, environmental and national security crises.
We’re borrowing money from China to buy oil from the Persian Gulf to burn it in ways that destroy the planet. Every bit of that’s got to change.
But if we grab hold of that common thread and pull it hard, all of these complex problems begin to unravel and we will find that we’re holding the answer to all of them right in our hand.
The answer is to end our reliance on carbon-based fuels.
Standing before right-wing coal industry of West Virginia — which has devastated the state’s jobs, lives, and land — Bush claimed, “I love the fact that we’ve got people who understand the dangers we face, understand we’re facing ideological people that use murder to achieve their objectives, and want to hurt us again here at home.”
With his right-wing fealty to the fossil polluters who, if left unchecked, will destroy the planet, the president is describing himself.