Inslee: Kennedy ‘Got Us To The Moon,’ But ‘Bush’s Energy Policy Wouldn’t Get Us To Cleveland’

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"Inslee: Kennedy ‘Got Us To The Moon,’ But ‘Bush’s Energy Policy Wouldn’t Get Us To Cleveland’"

On Thursday, President Bush will host a meeting of the world’s major emitters of greenhouse gases where he will push them to accept his misguided framework of “voluntary” reductions. Bush is using this meeting as an excuse for skipping yesterday’s conference at the United Nations where world leaders met to lay out an aggressive “road map” once the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.

Yesterday, ThinkProgress spoke with Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA), who sharply criticized Bush’s decision to skip the U.N. meeting and his destructive global warming policies. “Kennedy got us to the moon,” said Inslee. “George Bush’s energy policy wouldn’t get us to Cleveland.” From the interview:

[Bush] has this hallucination that somehow a voluntary system will cause the huge investment we need in high technology to be made. And we simply know that volunteerism is great for PTA bake sales, but they will not reorder the economic system of the world, and move to a clean energy technology. […]

But if we continue down this path of George Bush, with the rose-colored glasses, and he can wave his magic wand and suddenly everyone is going to make this investment. That dog just won’t hunt. And we’ve seen this sort of fictional policies before in his optimism that he was going to sprinkle success over Iraq and it’s the same thing with global warming.

Watch it:

[flv http://video.thinkprogress.org/2007/09/insleegw.320.240.flv]

Bush’s chief science adviser, John Marburger, recently said that manmade global warming is an “unequivocal” fact. But as Inslee notes, embracing rhetoric isn’t enough. He added that Bush has basically been reassuring his “friends in the oil and gas industry” that “we accept global warming, but don’t worry friends, we’re not going to actually do anything about it.”

The Bush administration has repeatedly resisted mandatory emission reductions and a cap-and-trade system. At the G-8 summit in June, German Chancellor Angela Merkel proposed that countries adopt a 50 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, “but had to settle for compromise language after President Bush made it clear the United States would not agree to it.”

Yesterday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) wrote to Bush and urged him to support “mandatory national and international limits” on greenhouse gas emissions.

Transcript:

INSLEE: I can’t tell you what’s happening in the recesses of the White House, but what I sense is the White House sort of having a, what I call a “wink-wink” global warming policy. Meaning now we are sort of, we’ll at least rhetorically recognize the science, the overwhelming consensus of the science of global warming, but we just won’t do anything about it.

So telling their friends in the oil and gas industry, “We’ll sort of mouth the words ‘we accept global warming,’ but don’t worry friends, we’re not going to actually do anything about it.” That’s why George Bush has continued to insist on these massive tax breaks for his friends in the oil and gas industry.

That’s why he has refused to accept a cap and trade system. That’s why his administration refuses to put research and development money into the high-tech sources that we need. So it’s a wink and a nod attitude, it won’t get us where we need.

We need what Kennedy did. When Kennedy said we’re going to the moon, he put muscle and meat and some money behind it, and we got to the moon. That’s the kind of leadership we need. Kennedy got us to the moon, George Bush’s energy policy wouldn’t get us to Cleveland.

The President has attempted, and unfortunately been somewhat successful, in getting international efforts to deal with global warming. The reason is, that he has this hallucination that somehow a voluntary system will cause the huge investment we need in high technology to be made. And we simply know that volunteerism is great for PTA bake sales, but they will not reorder the economic system of the world, and move to a clean energy technology.

Right now we need to send signals to the investment community and those signals would be that your investments in solar thermal power, photovoltaic power, wind power, wave power technology, plug-in hybrids, hydrogen fuel cells. If we send signals to the investment community that there will be binding, legally enforceable measures to make those technologies profitable, we’ll get that investment.

But if we continue down this path of George Bush, with the rose-colored glasses, and he can wave his magic wand and suddenly everyone is going to make this investment. That dog just won’t hunt. And we’ve seen this sort of fictional policies before in his optimism that he was going to sprinkle success over Iraq and it’s the same thing with global warming.

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