So, Very Serious People are re-evaluating George W. Bush on the occasion of the opening of his Presidential Library.
For instance, did you know that “George W. Bush is smarter than you.” Well, that only proves you aren’t as smart as you think!
Still, Bush merits re-examination on the climate issue, at least if we are grading on a curve. In the light of Obama’s failure to pass a domestic climate bill or negotiate an international climate treaty, maybe people have been too harsh on Bush.
In December 2008, for instance, I wrote a post with the headline quote, “Bush will go down in history as possibly a person who has doomed the planet.” That judgment came from “Saleem Huq, a lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2007 report on adaptation,” in a 2008 Greenwire (subs. req’d) article on Bush’s legacy.
My piece opened:
Some people just don’t think President Bush has done a terribly good job on climate change.
But just because he single-handedly stopped any international action on climate and reneged on his 2000 campaign pledge to regulate CO2 and stopped California from regulating tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions and muzzled climate scientists and forced Congress to drop almost all non-oil-related provisions to cut GHGs from the 2007 energy bill — that’s no reason to think the FHA (Future Historians of America), having previously named Bush the Worst President in American History will award him one of their rare Worst Leaders of All Time Awards, alongside such notables as Neville Chamberlain and Nero.
Okay, that was harsh. But then, most people who rate Bush almost as harshly — say, “A historically bad president, honestly, in terms of damage done to the country and the world and even in terms of even achieving his own goals and the goals of his party and ideological movement” — don’t even bring up climate change, what with torture, failure to stop 9/11, Katrina, Iraq reconstruction, and that whole economic collapse thing.
So it’s safe to say Bush doesn’t have a shot at Mount Rushmore. That said, back in December 2008, the assessment of his record on global warming was of this sort: