Before reviewing Bush’s “8-repetitions-of-technology” speech (reprinted below), let’s remember the words of the head of the IPCC, Rajendra Pachauri — who was handpicked by Bush to replace the “alarmist” Bob Watson:
“If there’s no action before 2012, that’s too late. What we do in the next two to three years will determine our future. This is the defining moment.”
And then we have today’s installment of Great Moments in Presidential Speeches (see Letterman compilation here):
Today, I am announcing a new national goal: to stop the growth of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2025.
In related news, Emperor Nero announced a plan to stop fiddling in 17 years. But, in the meantime, of course, we need to focus on new firefighting technology to start putting out the fire in, say, 10 to 15 years! As predicted (here), the headline of this post strangely reminds me of the post on Bush’s September climate speech: Bush climate speech follows Luntz playbook: “Technology, technology, blah, blah, blah.” Heck, this “new” speech even has a section titled:
On technology as the key to addressing climate change:
We must all recognize that in the long run, new technologies are the key to addressing climate change.
[And yes, I'm sure that the drinking game judge will, when he sobers up a bit, allow -- indeed, demand -- a drink for section titles even if Bush doesn't utter the word. So you should get 8 drinks lined up for "technology" and another 8 for "goal." I hope you have a strong stomach.]
And yet Bush has actually repeatedly cut the budget for key clean energy technologies and opposed clean energy subsidies (see here). Bush’s entire speech is just Luntz-programmed rhetoric. His call for utility emissions regulations is a rehashing of a 2000 campaign promise that he reneged on seven years ago (see here)! He is all hat and no cattle.
A MYSTERIOUS LOW-CARBON INCENTIVE
It is a very bizarre speech in that Bush is not explicitly calling for a carbon pricing mechanism, but rather for a mystery incentive “to make the commercialization and use of new, lower emission technologies more competitive.” The incentive “should be carbon-weighted” and “technology-neutral” and “long-lasting” — sounds awfully like a carbon price to me! But he says it should “make lower emission power sources less expensive relative to higher emissions sources” — as opposed to, I guess, making higher emissions sources more expensive. So rather than a price for carbon, it seems to be an anti-price for nega-carbon. Who knows? Who cares?
This incentive — and his entire climate strategy — looks and sounds like a lame duck to me. No, I mean that literally — it looks and sounds like Bush is lamely ducking the entire friggin’ problem, guaranteeing his legacy to future generations will be eight years of actively fighting all efforts to restrict greenhouse gas emissions — and this speech is one more example of delay and obstruction (see here). And that means historians will almost certainly recount that Bush’s biggest impact on the nation and the world — by far — was that he made it far more likely that the next 50 generations will suffer widespread desertification, extreme flooding and sea level rise, and the extinction of most species on land and in the ocean.
As for which quote from Yogi Berra best describe this speech, I see a tie between:
- “This is like deja vu all over again.”
- “You got to be very careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there.”
- “Slump? I ain’t in no slump… I just ain’t hitting.”
More reaction from Center for American Progress and Grist and Warming Law and Energy Smart and many others.
UPDATE: Wonk Room comments here.
Here is the entire speech (video available here):