Center for American Progress Action
Climate Change Lip Service
Climate Change Lip Service
On Sunday, while citizens around the world celebrated Earth Day, President Bush failed to even mention the words "global warming" in his annual Earth Day address.
On Sunday, while citizens and environmentalists around the world celebrated Earth Day “with events aimed at protecting nature and raising awareness about global warming,” President Bush failed to even mention the words “global warming” in his annual Earth Day address. Bush also failed to mention the issue in a State of the Union address until this year. This weekend, senior political advisor Karl Rove demonstrated once again the great lengths to which the White House will go to avoid talking about global warming. When singer Sheryl Crow and “An Inconvenient Truth” director Laurie David asked Rove to rethink Bush’s position on global warming, Rove “exploded” at the duo. The White House defended Rove’s temper flare-up, arguing that Crow and David did not “afford the president the same respect that they are asking for.” The White House’s over-sensitivity on the matter may come from the fact that it is out of step with three-quarters of the American public and is growing more and more isolated on dealing with one of the world’s biggest threats.
- Global warming is not just an environmental issue any more — our national security is at stake. A team of retired military generals, including the former Army chief of staff and Bush’s former chief Middle East negotiator, released a study last week on how “global climate change presents a serious national security threat that could affect Americans at home, impact U.S. military operations and heighten global tensions.” “The report warned that in the next 30 to 40 years there will be wars over water, increased hunger instability from worsening disease and rising sea levels and global warming-induced refugees.” But while national security is threatened, the Bush administration has continued to pay only lip service to combating the problem. Shirking his electoral promise to curb carbon dioxide emissions, greenhouse gas emissions have steadily increased during Bush’s tenure, giving the United States the dubious title of being the “world’s largest source of greenhouse gases.“
- It is time to establish limits on industrial carbon emissions. In a debate with Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich distanced himself from skeptics like Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), asserting that “the evidence is sufficient that we should move towards the most effective possible steps to reduce carbon-loading of the atmosphere.” While his recognition of global warming is a welcome step, Gingrich’s strict market-based solutions are not tenable. Kerry instead advocated a mandatory ceiling on carbon emissions, which has been successfully implemented in California and has been a boon to the state’s economy. Such caps like the limit on sulfur emissions in the 1990 Clean Air Act have been effective environmental and public health strategies in the past. Last week, a bipartisan group of senators pledged to introduce “legislation that would cap carbon emissions from power plants.”
- Congress is pushing the administration for action on climate change. Environmental Protection Agency administrator Stephen Johnson will testify today in front of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. His testimony comes in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling that the federal government “does indeed have authority to regulate greenhouse gases linked to global warming” despite the White House’s claim to the contrary. “In his prepared remarks, Johnson asserts that even before the Supreme Court decision, ‘the administration had been implementing aggressive steps to tackle climate change.'” Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-CA) responded, “When I called him to task on the environmental rollbacks, he gave a speech on how wonderful everything is. He doesn’t get it, or he doesn’t want to get it.”
The positions of American Progress, and our policy experts, are independent, and the findings and conclusions presented are those of American Progress alone. A full list of supporters is available here. American Progress would like to acknowledge the many generous supporters who make our work possible.