Yesterday, President Bush gave a speech on the environment in which he called for a “national goal” to halt the growth of U.S. carbon emissions by 2025. In other words, Bush would allow unchecked and unlimited growth in carbon emissions for the next 17 years, and only at that point would he have the “goal” to halt the rate of growth of those emissions.
Today, however, White House spokesman Tony Fratto rewrote Bush’s policy. In the press gaggle this morning, Fratto insisted that the media was ignoring “the major news” Bush made yesterday: a “goal to halt carbon emissions”:
I think some people have overlooked the major news that the President made yesterday, which was committing a national economy- wide goal to halt carbon emissions. That was a very important piece of the puzzle to lay out there as we move forward in the international arena and domestically in addressing this issue.
Of course, Bush proposed nothing close to a goal to “halt carbon emissions.” He announced merely a goal to halt the growth of emissions, explaining that emissions should “peak within 10 to 15 years, and decline thereafter.” For this reason, Bush’s proposal was ridiculed by the international community — and recognized as a catastrophic approach by leading climate scientists:
To keep temperatures from rising above 3.5 degrees, the [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] said, industrialized countries would need to reduce emissions by 25 percent to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. The European Union has recommended doing that.
Bush’s goal would allow emissions to be 28 percent above 1990 levels in 2025, according to calculations made by the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group, that are based on U.S. government projections data.
Considering that Bush’s proposal would do nothing to mitigate the disastrous effects of global warming, it’s no wonder Fratto instinctively sought to significantly strengthen the president’s goals.