Okay, my headline may have selectively edited the White House’s newly released energy/climate legacy talking points. But I didn’t do anything more than the White House itself did in its unintentionally humorous fact sheet that asserts, “President Bush Has Strengthened America’s Energy Security And Taken Constructive Steps To Confront Climate Change.”
I suppose the “fact sheet” is accurate if by “strengthened America’s Energy Security” you mean “done nothing whatsoever while oil imports and energy prices reached record levels” and if by “Constructive” and “Confront” you mean “Destructive” and “Accelerate.” Far more likely is that, as one leading international scientist put it, “Bush will go down in history as possibly a person who has doomed the planet.”
The White House touts the fact that “From 2002 to 2006, United States greenhouse gas emissions increased by only 1.9 percent” even though the Bush Administration has already released the official 2007 data, so we know that GHG emissions have risen 5% during his tenure from 2001 to 2007 (see “Bush policies cause U.S. GHG emissions to soar 1.4% in 2007”). I would also note that if the United States manufactured everything it has purchased from China in our large and growing trade deficit, the annual growth rate of US emissions would be about 50% higher.
The fact sheet does deliver one interesting, if unintentional fact — just spending money on technology won’t reduce emissions. The White House touts:
Since President Bush took office, the Federal Government has invested more than $44 billion for climate-change and energy security programs, including more than $22 billion for technology research, development, and demonstration.
So what exactly is the White House bragging about? They spent all this money, and both our oil and climate problems got steadily worse.
In the chutpah department, while Bush and the conservatives have steadfastly opposed every serious government effort to push clean energy — see Who got us in this energy mess? Start with Ronald Reagan and Why is our energy policy so lame? Ask the three GOP stooges — the White House actually has the audacity to tout the success renewables have had in spite of Bush:
Since 2001, the United States has increased wind energy production by more than 400 percent. Last year, more than 20 percent of new electrical generating capacity added in the United States came from wind — up from just three percent a few years ago. Wind power now supplies one percent of the United States’ electricity.
Between 2000 and 2007, the United States’ solar energy capacity doubled — and last year, the United States’ solar installations grew by more than 32 percent.
Imagine what we could have achieved with a real leader. Imagine what we will….
Bush’s energy and climate legacy is, in fact, that 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.
If the nation and the world don’t stop catastrophic global warming, Bush will easily be the Worst President in American History, and join the ranks of the Worst Leaders of All Time Awards, alongside such notables as Neville Chamberlain and Nero.