State of the Union: Bush and the Environment

President Bush doesn’t share his speech plans with me, but everybody knows that he will address energy and the environment in his State of the Union Speech. He faces an uphill battle dispelling some of the myths & disinformation spread by his detractors. I figured I would help him out here at Watchblog.

The first piece of myth & disinformation is that President Bush denies global warming. The President has said, "I recognize that the surface of the earth is warmer and that an increase in greenhouse gases caused by humans is contributing to the problem." Different people can recognize the same problem and yet not purpose the same solutions. Bush's critics might want to think about that. They love to argue that global warming is a problem. We all agree that the problem exists. We may disagree only about the most effective solutions.

Of course, ANY effective solution to global warming will involve higher energy prices. I doubt the President will put it that way. No politician will do so w/o equivocation. Since I am not in politics, I can say it (and have in many posts). But we can minimize the costs or maybe integrate the costs into benefits. The President will probably talk about this. His record is good and future focused on this score.

The current locus of greenhouse gas production is the U.S., Europe and Japan. The future will be developing countries, especially fast growing ones like China and India. The Bush Administration rightly recognizes that solutions that concentrate on current greenhouse gas sources would at best displace the problem and at worst exacerbate it. Kyoto, for example, exempts these places, which is the most grievous of its many flaws.

We cannot cut and conserve our way to success. Instead we need to employ the latest technologies and develop better ones. A high energy price will help make this happen. We also need to share technologies with the fast growing countries that will be big future sources of greenhouse gases. The U.S. has been a leader in this area, building international collaboration such as the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate, the Methane to Markets Partnership, and the International Partnership for a Hydrogen Economy. I talked about them in more detail here and you can find a listing of these and other initiatives here. just scroll down. The links do not work well.

The President will no doubt mention alternative energy. Last year he introduced us to switch grass. My discussion of that is here. He will also mention the impressive progress we have made. And when he is all done, the critics will complain and claim they are trying to convince the President that global warming is real. That is easy to do, since the President already believes it and has said so. But critics will continue to argue with themselves and feel superior. That is what they are good at doing. Meanwhile others will be doing the needful things to secure the future.

Posted by Jack at January 22, 2007 11:45 PM
Comments
Comment #204529

Jack:

I have been mostly in agreement with your posts about higher taxes on energy and other things to do with alternative energy production.

This is a recent admission, though, isn’t it? At least this publicly. And I believe it was his administration (under his watch) that had folks change wording of scientific reports, was it not?

I applaud him if he really addresses this. And while Kyoto was not perfect, no solution nor international cooperation will be perfect either. What would have been the harm? Doesn’t Kyoto expire soon? Had we been involved we could perhaps have had more influence.

Just some random thoughts.

Posted by: womanmarine at January 23, 2007 12:07 AM
Comment #204532
“I recognize that the surface of the earth is warmer and that an increase in greenhouse gases caused by humans is contributing to the problem.”

I remember the president saying this, and then also promising to increase funding to alternative energy research, which he didn’t, and then also that he would massively reduce our reliance on oil, which he didn’t.

If the president truly believes global warming is a pressing issue then he will speak very strongly about it. I kind of think he will since the religious right has now recognized the issue too.

Do I give Bush any credit on this issue? No. He deserves none. If he wants to be remembered for anything good he needs to act on this threat to our planet with the precious few years we have left. Unfortunately, I think he will be remembered instead as the president who did too little too late.

Posted by: Max at January 23, 2007 12:16 AM
Comment #204533

Woman

The Kyoto guys have generally not met their goals. Many bought credits from places like Russia. Russia cut its CO2 emissions when communist era factories collapsed and/or were replaced by more profitable plants. This would have happened in any case. From 2001 to 2004 (my most recent figures) U.S. CO2 emissions increased by only 1.7%, while those in Europe grew by 5%, even though our economy and population grew faster.

Beyond that, since developing countries were exempted from Kyoto, some big CO2 producing ndustries would just have moved, INCREASING global emissions because they would be in places with less efficient factories and lower environmental standards (AND no CO2 limits)

Some solutions make the problem worse.

Posted by: Jack at January 23, 2007 12:20 AM
Comment #204534

Let’s face it, Bush only takes to an issue when everyone else is on the bandwagon. This is hardly a gutsy stand to make at this point. The only question is why he ignored such a pressing and dangerous issue for so long.

http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/politics/16520889.htm

Posted by: Max at January 23, 2007 12:21 AM
Comment #204535

Bush is going to try to out Democrat the Democrats with pure rhetorical B.S. His agenda will always be “stay the course”, until caught and facing legal backlash. Then there will be some more patsies leaving the White House. Bucks, I call them, as in passing.

Bush’s agenda, regardless of what he says, will always be:

No harm to business.

Bankrupt Soc. Sec. and Medicare by running national debt through the roof. (He has afterall, proposed 4 deficits out of the last 5 budgets).

Stay in Iraq until the next president is elected so the next president can own the consequences.

Promote Christianity as the Nation’s religion.

Never let the longevity of the environment interfere with short term profits.

Never relinquish the dream of forcing democracy and freedom at the point of a gun.

Never relent on growing the population as fast as possible through births and immigration, illegal and otherwise, since overpopulation is the answer to all our future woes from military enlistments to greater government revenues from the working class.

And finally, never let our Constitution stand in the way of his sense of security.

That should cover most of it. Now, of course, GW will have some high powered speech writers yapping his lips, so his agenda will be couched carefully in other terms. But, the agenda will be the same, nonetheless.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 23, 2007 12:25 AM
Comment #204536

Max

The high price of oil last year reduced demand in ALL three OECD regions. This is the first time this ever happened.

Since 2001, the Bush Administration has committed more than $29 billion for climate change, The 2007 Budget included an additional $6.5 billion.

Personally, I think the high energy prices are the best medicine, but Bush is doing it your way too.

Posted by: Jack at January 23, 2007 12:26 AM
Comment #204547


Jack: perhaps part of the reason that demand dropped for the first time is because workers are feeling the pinch in this Bush economy. Even at $3 per gallon, in today’s dollars gas was cheaper than it used to be.

I have nothing against using hydrogen as a vehicle fuel as long as it doesn’t involve fuel cells and getting hydrogen from oil. I wonder how much hydrogen can be electrolized by one of those off shore 1.5 and coming soon 2.5 megawatt windmills.

Posted by: jlw at January 23, 2007 12:59 AM
Comment #204556

Jack said: “Since 2001, the Bush Administration has committed more than $29 billion for climate change, The 2007 Budget included an additional $6.5 billion.”

See, Bush is sticking it to the working stiffs for climate change instead of the corporations who have been dragging their feet on this issue for 4 decades now. Yeah, we had smog and health problems back in the 1960’s big time. Many of our big cities still do.

And don’t give me that tired yarn that the corporations will just pass the cost down to the consumer. Because I don’t buy it over decades. Over decades, shareholders would demand increased profits by reducing pollution for which they were fined or taxed because if they didn’t, a competitor surely would.

Why are Toyota, Honda, and Hyundai doing so well on the stock markets and our Big Three are doing so poorly. I assume you can see that I have just made my point.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 23, 2007 1:35 AM
Comment #204559

Jack, Are you sure those words (in your secong paragraph) came from the mouth of GW Bush? Thats 2 whole sentences that form a complete thought, and some awful big words for the president to memorize and…well, to get it correct is quite an improvenment for him.

Posted by: j2t2 at January 23, 2007 2:32 AM
Comment #204563

I’m confused. The democrats told us in 04 that expensive gas was bad. That Bush was bad because it was Bush’s fault that Gas was expensive.

They told us if we voted for Kerry, he would make gas cheap again.

But now that gas prices have come down, libs are talking about how it needs to go up!

Seems to me they talk out of both sides of their mouth. When gas is expensive, they blame it on Republicans and try to rally and focus voter anger at republicans. When gas is cheap, they blame republicans and preach to us that if we were smart we would let the democrats raise the price of gas with taxes and so forth.

I’d rather see the socialist left wing of the democratic party stop using the environment as a way to lead the US into socialism and allow us to really solve our issues.

Posted by: Stephen at January 23, 2007 2:57 AM
Comment #204565

Stephen, our whole population has been getting an education on global climate change, and now that the scientific data regarding the magnitude of its consequences for the human species, nations, and economies across the globe, a whole new element has been added to the gasoline cost/benefit equation which wasn’t there in 2000.

Your memory is defective or selective, can’t tell which. I remember liberals criticizing the president over drilling ANWR and stockpiling our national reserves at top dollar price to taxpayers at a time when consumers were competing for their very same reserve in pump prices. It was a matter of timing being criticized.

The other criticism, which libs have been raising has been the oil dependence issue from 2001 onward. That issue is still something this President has done next to nothing about. Hopefully, Bush will display a change of heart, or flip-flop to use conservative verbage, on this issue in tonight’s speech.

Conservatives by and large have argued against any measures which would raise the overhead for business, of if a measure should, then they argue for a tax cut as compensation. Those days are about dead.

We are entering a time when our nation simply cannot afford to NOT tax activities and behaviors which we do not want to continue, and that has some consequences for businesses addicted to oil just as taxes on cigarettes have had consequences on smokers.

The good news for business at large is that the new energy revolution of vastly reducing greenhouse gases and replacing fossil energy sources with cleaner self replenishing ones, is going to result in enormous business opportunities for new and legacy corporations who have better entrepreneurial vision than Detroit’s Big 3.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 23, 2007 3:45 AM
Comment #204576
Kyoto, for example, exempts these places, which is the most grievous of its many flaws.

I don’t think is a fair assessment. Realistically, no one can force the Chinese to reduce their greenhouse gases if they don’t want to. The Kyoto treaty could have said that the same requirements apply to China (and India, etc), but it would have been meaningless.

If we use China as an excuse not to do anything, they can use us as an excuse not to do anything. So nothing happens. This may seem obvious, but I have heard a lot of people arguing that China and India need to go first.

Posted by: Woody Mena at January 23, 2007 8:04 AM
Comment #204578

Now that some major US corporations have gone on record as willing to do something abot Global Warming, Let’s see what plan Bush comes up with.

Some key points:

1. Improvements have to start to happen NOW, not when hydrogen cars hit the market, etc.

2. America’s failure to act should not be excused by countries like China’s and India’s failure to act the way we want them too. We wouldn’t do that in the “war on terror,” would we? If it’s important enough — and it is — we will do it regardless of what Kyoto says or European countries’ failyure to hit their targets.

3. There is no single solution.

4. Most importantly: listen to the FACTS. We’ve spent the past 10 years casting doubt on the FACTS that were right in front of our faces. In that time, The Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets have shown more and more signs of shrinking. Now, when we are confronted with facts like ethanol does not reduce greenhouse gas emissions because the distillation process is dirty (if using coal), accept them.

5. Let’s hold both the President and Congress accountable for achieving real results.

Posted by: bobo at January 23, 2007 8:18 AM
Comment #204579

Here are some of the top Google search results for “Bush” and “Global warming”. He clearly hasn’t supported this issue. If you can seriously believe that, you haven’t been paying attention. When Bush says humans “contribute” he communicates to his base that he really believes the primary causes are natural, something no scientists believe.

Bush: Global warming is just hot air - Salon
In fact, Bush’s see-no-evil, hear-no-evil stance on global warming is so … “Since the first time President Bush has marginally said global warming could …
www.salon.com/tech/feature/2004/09/10/bush/index_np.html - 24k - Cached - Similar pages

Bush Disses Global Warming Report - CBS News
The president dismissed the report by his Environmental Protection Agency as the work of “the bureaucracy.” The report says human activities are important …
www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/06/03/tech/main510920.shtml - 82k - Cached - Similar pages

President Bush Discusses Global Climate Change
President Bush makes a statement about global climate change on Monday, … world an effective and science-based response to the issue of global warming. …
www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/06/20010611-2.html - 33k - Cached - Similar pages

NASA scientist rips Bush on global warming - Environment - MSNBC.com
The Bush White House is trying to stifle scientific evidence of the dangers of global warming in an effort to keep the public uninformed, a NASA scientist …
www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6341451/ - 52k - Jan 21, 2007 - Cached - Similar pages

BBC News | AMERICAS | Scientists warn Bush on global warming
President Bush - who doubts the science of global warming - is told by leading experts that fossil fuels are causing climate change.
news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/1375089.stm - 36k - Cached - Similar pages

Posted by: Max at January 23, 2007 9:15 AM
Comment #204580

>>That is easy to do, since the President already believes it and has said so. But critics will continue to argue with themselves and feel superior
. That is what they are good at doing. Meanwhile others will be doing the needful things to secure the future.

Posted by Jack at January 22, 2007 11:45 PM

This from someone who used the terms and phrases, ‘I can say it (and have in many posts)’, ‘I talked about them in more detail here’, ‘My discussion
of that is here’, etc., etc.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 23, 2007 9:21 AM
Comment #204591

Jack,

If you’d like a factual list of Bush’s actions and environmental policies thoughout his administration instead of this hilarious “myth filled with disinformation,” go to NRDC

Posted by: Andre M. Hernandez at January 23, 2007 10:56 AM
Comment #204595

Let’s put this plainly: energy efficiency, done right, with todays technology, is in the end an economic good. The more work you can do for a given unit of energy, the more economically one can compete and do business. I remember the difference getting a fuel efficient compact made in the expense of travelling from Houston to Philadelphia. Greater energy efficiency is greater freedom from the need to constantly refuel and resupply. I think the joke I heard somewhere is that when the Japanese are confronted by a fuel efficiency regulation, they put a hundred engineers on the problem. When Americans are confronted with that, they put a hundred lawyers and lobbyists on the case. We can either make energy efficiency work, or we can just continue to coddle those who would rather forestall change instead of adapting to it. Do we want to reward corporate innovators, or corporate dinosaurs? The current regulatory climate rewards the latter, the slow, the bloated, and the inefficient.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 23, 2007 11:35 AM
Comment #204596

Taking into account population growth, there is simply no way to cut our emissions and reduce global warming short of a miracle.

So - that’s what we need, a technological miracle. And that’s why Bush’s pronouncements have fallen so short of the mark. This is the time to say “we’re going to the moon”, or “we’re making another Manhattan project”. What the president has done instead is devote about two minutes of one of his state of the union addresses to a halfhearted recognition there is a problem. What’s been lacking from Bush is a sense of proportion and decisiveness.

This should truly be a bi-partisan issue. Bush has the power tonight to say that he is convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that this threat is real and the nation will now make a concerted effort to do the impossible and reverse this trend. People on both sides understand this issue is real, but that many doubt it. Bush can fix that, having been a big skeptic himself.

Posted by: Max at January 23, 2007 11:38 AM
Comment #204600

David

So what is it? You do not favor the Feds spending money on energy research or you do?

Woody

Besides that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play? If you do not consider the big future sources, all you do is move the problem and in fact perhaps make it worse by reducing efficiency.

Marysdude

The difference is that I have said those things.

Stephen

I bought a Honda Civic, so can you. Toyota is making the hybrid Camerys in the Kentucky. The market is working. If the big three do not come along, others will do it. Toyota will eventually be the biggest auto maker in the U.S. (i.e. employing the most Americans).

Max

This is pretty much what the president has said. He said there is a problem and that we need to solve with technology. At the risk of offending Marysdude, that is also what I said in the original post.

Posted by: Jack at January 23, 2007 12:51 PM
Comment #204602

Jack,

I realize you already said a technological breakthrough is needed, but I said what was missing was a sense of urgency, proportion, committment, etc. from this president.

I’m sorry Jack, but I clearly remember the president promising to invest in alternative energy and then not doing it. I remember him promising a lot of money to New York, and then not doing it. This guy gives lip service to everything, and that’s why if people are going to believe him tonight he needs to be jumping up and down and swearing on a Bible.

Posted by: Max at January 23, 2007 12:57 PM
Comment #204608

Remember this?

In 2001, Bush hired lawyer/lobbyist Phillip Cooney to be in charge of the White House’s environmental policy. Cooney was previously a lobbyist at American Petroleum Institute. In 2005, after a scandalous White House memo revealed Cooney’s editing out of the dangers that global warming poses to the American public was leaked to The New York Times, he resigned—and was hired by ExxonMobil the next day.

Posted by: Max at January 23, 2007 1:28 PM
Comment #204614

bush and his business cronies are following a classic fight, retreat, delay, obstruct, retreat strategy:
-First deny the science that global warming is happening,
-then deny that it is caused by human activity,
-then claim that the problem is unfixable,
-then acknowledge that yes, the problem is fixable, but it would
cost too much,
- then acknowledge that, the problem is indeed fixable and the costs of doing nothing far outweigh the costs of the solution
- then, take credit for being “out front” in solving the problem.

If you live in a city, go outside and walk around. Notice how few people you see walking or biking. Look at the number of cars, the size of those cars, the number of people in the cars (usually one). The solution, as Jack has suggested, is right here in front of our faces: taxes and tax credits that persuade people to change the way they use energy. Taxes that reflect the COST TO SOCIETY of the waste of energy. (3000 + lives lost, 22,000 injured to secure first world oil as a prime example)
Oil is enormously valuable as a concentrated source of energy. I was listening to Republican Congressman Roscoe Bartlett and he made the point that the average human, in a twenty four hour period, produces @ 30 watts of energy. That would equate the energy value of a barrel of oil (42 gallons) to the amount of work 30 men could perform in a year!!! Really an astounding statistic.

Posted by: charles Ross at January 23, 2007 2:33 PM
Comment #204615

Jack,

From the NRDC:

Bush visit fails to boost morale at the EPA (05/26/05)

Bush nominates scientist to head EPA (03/04/05)

Pentagon seeks to jettison environmental duties (12/14/04)

Defense Department to push for hazardous waste exemptions (12/01/04)

EPA’s lax enforcement good news for polluters (11/09/04)

Department of Homeland Security aims to sidestep environmental reviews (08/16/04)

EPA extends oil spill compliance deadline … again (08/11/04)

EPA lets refineries off the hook (07/18/04)

EPA chief Leavitt failing to lay down the law (03/31/04)

EPA letting Clean Water Act violators off the hook (03/30/04)

EPA and Congressional GAO bicker about enforcement (02/13/04)

EPA enforcement cops returning to the environment beat (12/15/03)

Smart enforcement or no enforcement? Bush lets polluters off the hook (12/09/03)

EPA inspector general blasts agency for lax enforcement (10/16/03)

GAO finds that energy production pollutes wildlife refuges (09/24/03)

Interior Department fires worker after land payment scandal (09/15/03)

EPA finds nearly 300 mountaintop removal violations (09/04/03)

EPA balks at court ruling to protect waterways from pesticide pollution (09/03/03)

EPA enforcement program in shambles (07/07/03)

EPA letting polluters off the hook (06/06/03)

GAO chides Department of Agriculture for lax enforcement of wetlands protections (05/22/03)

EPA Administrator Whitman misusing agency investigators (04/26/03)

EPA cleaning up far fewer toxic waste sites (04/18/03)

EPA fines company $34 million for pipeline spills (04/02/03)

Interior ordered to continue protecting manatees (03/18/03)

EPA failing to protect Louisiana’s environment and public health (02/04/03)

GAO faults EPA oversight on factory farms (01/31/03)

Polluting industries getting off easier under Bush administration (01/29/03)

EPA proposes weakening of Clean Air Act (11/22/02)

EPA agrees to clean up smog pollution (11/14/02)

EPA no longer making polluters pay (11/05/02)

Forest Service in violation of Endangered Species Act (10/20/02)

Former EPA official blasts Bush commitment to enforcement of clean air rules (10/16/02)

Judge considers contempt of court for Interior Secretary Norton over manatees (10/03/02)

U.S. EPA air-quality enforcement sinks to new lows (09/07/02)

EPA cracking down on North Dakota air polluters (08/19/02)

EPA forced to withdraw new penalty calculations scheme (08/19/02)

EPA cedes Idaho cleanup authority to state (08/13/02)

Another EPA official resigns in protest over Bush policies (07/25/02)

Public criticism forces EPA to get tough on polluters (05/16/02)

EPA watchdog resigns in protest over Bush policies (04/22/02)

Endangered species habitat under attack (03/19/02)

EPA will weaken federal clean air rules (03/18/02)

Desert tortoise finally protected (03/12/02)

Whitman remarks undermine government’s Clean Air Act lawsuits (03/03/02)

Top EPA official resigns in protest of Bush’s pro-polluter policies (02/27/02)

New NRDC report documents sweeping rollback of environmental protections by federal agencies (01/23/02)

Justice Department finally justifies air pollution lawsuits (01/15/02)

Environmental enforcement suffers under Bush (01/10/02)

Bush backing away from pledge to clean up federal facilities (09/07/01)

EPA postpones action on power plants, expected to favor limited approach (08/14/01)

Norton balks at defending wildlife in the face of local opposition (07/23/01)

Bush seeking to weaken federal environmental enforcement (07/23/01)

BLM fails to comply with agreement to protect threatened desert tortoises (05/12/01)

Bush launches a “sneak attack” on the Roadless Area Conservation Plan (05/04/01)

Bush administration seeks to roll back Roadless Area Conservation Plan (03/16/01

He has failed at every level at every turn and on almost everything he’s tried, except creating more pollution.
When the director of the EPA is an oil man, when the rep. at the U.N. hates the U.N., and the head of planned parenthood is a doctor against abortion you don’t have to be a genius to see that the President seeks to sabotage the very organizations and departments he places these people in.
Oil and energy departments dictating policy, was that not going to go in their favor?
Defend away, you’re too late. The world knows he and his administration sucks.

Posted by: Andre M. Hernandez at January 23, 2007 2:38 PM
Comment #204616

Global Warming and Iraq are bringing about the effective end of conservative thought upon the body politic.

Bush, Cheney, Rice, and others wanted to see the world of the 1970s in the world of today. They tried to replace the threat of the USSR with the threat of “radical Islam” (see the previous thread) and the effort turned into a miserable failure. There simply is no monolithic enemy which can be attacked with military force, no terrorists to target with military force. The world has changed. Conservatives failed to adapt.

Global Warming likewise represents an issue which has spelled the doom of conservatism. It is everything conservatives do no want to be true: a global, rather than national problem; a problem demanding treaties and international cooperation, rather than unilateralism; an issue demanding government-led innovation, rather than investing in current energy industries & oil; and finally, Global Warming is a problem which requires government regulation and management, rather than waiting for free market solutions.

Senator Inhofe no longer chairs a committee. Bush, a “dissenter” on Global Warming, has stalled in every possible way, per the comment by Charles Ross. But the IPCC report comes out 2/2, and Bush already knows what is coming.

Thank goodness, for all of our sakes, that these people are being swept aside by the inevitabilities of history. Oh, I know, the conservatives will be back in power in a few decades. In the meantime, there is a lot to make us all optimistic about the long-term.

Posted by: phx8 at January 23, 2007 2:48 PM
Comment #204623

Jack,

If you were to post this on a Republican site, I don’t think it would fly. I don’t think you could convince a bunch of Republicans that Bush has always been on top of alternative energy and recognized global warming as a threat. In short, you may believe that, but I don’t think anyone else does.

Posted by: Max at January 23, 2007 3:31 PM
Comment #204626

Jack said,

Since 2001, the Bush Administration has committed more than $29 billion for climate change, The 2007 Budget included an additional $6.5 billion.

Jack, what does this mean exactly? “Committed” as in committed to funding “No Child Left Behind”? And how many years into the future does this commitment amount to as well as stretching into the past. And as long as we are talking about things that would happen anyway, how much of that money would have happened anyway and was simply given the rubric of “global warming” money.

Ethanol subsidies have been around for a long time they are not necessarily a good solution given the amount of petroleum it takes to grow corn like we do.

Jack, this administration and the Republican party have pursued the classic “tobacco science” strategy on global warming. Trying to give him credit for being on the correct side of an issue which is no longer has an other side for the American public is ridiculous.

Posted by: Chris2x at January 23, 2007 3:51 PM
Comment #204628

Max

Bush has not always been on top of alternatives or global warming. Until a couple of years ago, the evidence was still ambiguous. See this from Gregg Easterbrook. There have been many cases of alarmist rhetoric before. Global cooling is a good example. What if we had taken strong action against that in 1979. If you are going to do something that is going to be very disruptive, it is a good idea to know what you should do before you do something that is going to change the entire economy.

Remember also that Clinton never submitted Kyoto to the Senate, but the Senate voted 97-0 to reject the treaty preemtively. It was not only a Republican or a Bush thing.

Early attempts to address global warming (Kyoto) have been ineffective or worse. We can do better now. I know that there is still an alarmist streak, people saying that we need to take radical action this year, this month, this day, but they are probably wrong, and if they are right it really doesn’t matter because we are already toast.

It looks like the President will propose some very sweeping programs tonight. The Democratic congress will have to option of passing them or not. If we can get reasonable cooperation, we can make some real progress, as opposed to the pseudo progress made so far all over the world.

Conditions change as so do people’s minds. Nixon went to China. No Dem could have done that. Clinton enacted welfare reform. Ronald Reagan reduced the nuclear threat and made a reasonable peace with the Soviets. He was right in 1983 and he was also right in 1988. Strategies change with objective conditions.

I think Dems and others need to seize this opportunity. The choice is between doing something to help improve the environment and keeping the high rhetorical ground by seeming to do something.

Which is more important scoring political points of making real progress?

Posted by: Jack at January 23, 2007 4:07 PM
Comment #204636

Jack said: “So what is it? You do not favor the Feds spending money on energy research or you do?”

Is it not in the national and public interest to develop alternative and competitively affordable energy sources to fossil fuels? Since, it clearly is, I am in favor of the government providing incentives to University Physics Research Departments to do research for alternatives, provided, the law is written such that all patents that are developed from such publicly funded research are legally required to remand 1% of all profits from those patents back to the people.

If the people’s taxes are going to be risked and invested thus, let the taxpayers be rewarded for their part in successful patents that result.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 23, 2007 4:40 PM
Comment #204639

Jack,

You think it’s okay if he reacts slowly, since if the situation really is dire we’re toast?

There’s sufficient evidence that the global warming threat is very real, and it’s his responsibility to address it quickly and forcefully. If that’s not his job, I don’t know what is.

Posted by: Max at January 23, 2007 5:00 PM
Comment #204640
Jack wrote: The President will probably talk about this. His record is good and future focused on this score.
Huh ? Bush’s record is good at what ? It appears Andre M. Hernandez outlined it pretty well (see list above), not to mention these other 99 blunders.
Jack wrote: Which is more important scoring political points of making real progress?
Good question. So what on this list of the nation’s most pressing problems, did Congress adequately address in the last 6 years? So, now after six years, we’re going to talk about real progress and solutions? And Bush’s idea to send 21,500 troops is too little, too late. Nothing new there. The White House and their big-money-oil-donors have fought increasing the mandates for renewable fuels during the energy bill of 2005. So they now want to revist those mandates? Bush will probably recommend an increase in ethanol, which is a good alternative for a while, until we get better alternatives. Better late than never. Just think of all the squandered opportunities. Just think if we had spent the 28 billion of annual pork-barrel researching alternative energy and alternative fuels. But, Congress is a place where good ideas go to die. Government is nothing but a huge auction, and nothing gets better until the dysfunction becomes too painful.
  • Posted by: d.a.n at January 23, 2007 5:04 PM
    Comment #204642

    These are the President’s proposals on energy. Good. Let’s get them enacted and working. Or do we have more time to play politics?

    Posted by: Jack at January 23, 2007 5:06 PM
    Comment #204644

    Bush does recognize global warming, he just spent years trying to cover it up. Who is it playing politics???

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6341451/

    Posted by: 037 at January 23, 2007 5:13 PM
    Comment #204645

    037

    The quote from Bush is from Gleneagles in 2005. Your article is from 2004. As I wrote above, people change their responses in when conditions change.

    You can easily prove that the President was skeptical re global warming. He demanded comprehensive study. When the results came in, he modifed his opinon. Isn’t that what he is supposed to do?

    Posted by: Jack at January 23, 2007 5:19 PM
    Comment #204652

    Jack,

    Bush at 28% has the lowest approval rating ever from a CBS news poll. At their lowest, Carter had a 27% approval rating and Nixon 24%, right before he left office.

    Here are some reactions to the plan you posted:

    In his 2006 State of the Union address, the President announced that the nation is addicted to oil and that he would propose an “Advanced Energy Initiative” (AEI) in his Fiscal Year 2007 budget to address that addiction. While he touted a “22 percent increase in funding for clean-energy research at the Department of Energy” in order to decrease imports of oil from the Middle East by 75 percent by 2025, that amounts to less than 10 percent of expected annual consumption. In addition, his Administration has taken no concrete steps to achieve that minimal goal. The President’s proposed means to reach that minimal goal, $206 million in additional funding for alternative energy and vehicle technology, is essentially a flat funding level for vehicle, energy efficiency and renewable energy technology research and development programs when compared to Fiscal Year 2001.

    “Bush energy plan won’t cut need for Mideast oil.” (Reuters headline, 2/1/06)

    “President Bush set energy self-sufficiency goals Tuesday night that would still leave the country vulnerable to unstable oil sources.” (AP, 1/31/06)

    “He’s thinking the right things, but it’s kind of like John Kennedy announcing we’re going to go into space and we’ve got $1 billion to do it,” said Amy Myers Jaffe, an energy specialist at Rice University’s James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy. With such a limited commitment, she said, “we’d never have gotten to the moon.” (Los Angeles Times, 2/2/06)

    “Part of the answer, as Mr. Bush indicated last night, is the continued development of alternative fuels, especially for cars. The Energy Department has addressed this modestly, and last night the president said his budget would add more money for research. That’s fine, but hardly the kind of full-bore national initiative that will pump large amounts of money into the commercial production of alternatives to gasoline.” (New York Times editorial, 2/1/06)

    “Mr. Bush said he would look for cleaner ways to power our homes and offices, and provide more money for the Energy Department’s search for a ‘zero emission’ coal-fired plant. But once again he chose to substitute long-range research — and a single, government-sponsored research program at that — for the immediate investments that have to be made across the entire industrial sector.” (New York Times editorial, 2/1/06)

    “No one could fault Mr. Bush’s call for research, or fail to applaud his call for replacing more than 75 percent of the nation’s oil imports from the Middle East within the next two decades. But while the goal was grand, the means were minuscule.” (New York Times editorial, 2/1/06)

    “Ben Lieberman, a policy analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation, questioned what the president would be able to do now that was not done in last year’s energy law.

    ‘The thing was 1,700 pages long, and it is just beginning to be implemented,’ Lieberman said. ‘My feeling is that alternatives are still something we have to think about as a longer-term solution. In the meantime we ought to be taking steps to make sure the energy we are using now is as affordable as the market will allow.’” (CQ, 2/1/06)

    “Instead of any decisive action to force or even encourage the adoption of these technologies, the president is proposing a 22 percent increase in energy-related research funding. The increase, generous though it is, doesn’t exactly amount to a Manhattan Project-like commitment to alternative energy sources. Further, such research will take many years to bring results, and nothing is guaranteed.” (Los Angeles Times editorial, 2/2/06)

    Here’s the state of energy today:

    Heating costs have increased 64 percent. The average household will spend $902 for heating this winter, an increase of $351 or 64 percent since the winter of 2001-2002. (Short Term Energy Outlook, 10/10/06)

    The price for a barrel of oil has more than doubled during the Bush Administration from $30.63 in January 2001 to $62.90 in late September 2006. (Energy Information Administration, Short Term Energy Outlook, 10/10/06; Spot Prices for Crude Oil 9/29/06)

    Transportation costs for families have nearly doubled since 2001.(Energy Information Administration, Household Vehicle Energy Use: Latest Data and Trends 11/05; Short Term Energy Outlook, 10/10/06)

    Oil import costs skyrocketed in the first half of 2006. Americans spent $143 billion in the first half of 2006 on petroleum imports, a 35.3 percent increase over expenditures in the first half of 2005. (U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. International Trade in Goods and Servies June 2006, Exhibits 17 and Supplement Exhibit 3, 7/13/06)

    Imports of oil still rising. America’s dependence on foreign oil has increased from 53 percent in 2000 to 60 percent in 2005.(EIA, U.S. Weekly Petroleum Product, 4-Week Averages)

    Electricity costs up 11 percent during first half of 2006. Electricity prices have increased by 20 percent since 2001. (EIA Short Term Energy Outlook, 10/10/06)

    Posted by: Max at January 23, 2007 5:34 PM
    Comment #204656

    Jack, I find a number of things I would not agree with in the President’s plan.

    First, why double the Strategic Petroleum Reserve if there is going to be a sincere effort to reduce fossil fuels as a source of energy?

    Second, why is there no emphasis on replacing combustion with alternate non-combustion energy sources, like hybrids, all electrics, etc.

    Third, where is the increase in taxes on the higher greenhouse gas emitters like SUV’s and Trucks? If the taxpayer is going to bear the brunt of the cost for a lot of this cleaning up and burying CO2, why shouldn’t those who pollute more incur a greater cost than others who pollute far less?

    Pick up trucks used for grocery shopping is a choice Americans may wish to continue to make, but, they should be taxed accordingly, since taxing what we don’t want (more pollution) is an effective measure in reducing the numbers of persons making those more polluting choices.

    That will do for starters. I appreciate the President finally joining the cause and finally rejecting the bullshit put out by his buddies at Exxon who spent 15.2 million dollars trying to discredit the science of global climate change. But, Bush is the last person I would entrust to design a policy of this complexity and sophistication to achieve the stated goals. He proved in Iraq, his inability to define goals and then appropriate measures to achieve them.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at January 23, 2007 5:47 PM
    Comment #204657

    Max

    Heating costs have increased 64 percent - good energy prices WILL rise if we are serious about alternatives.

    The price for a barrel of oil has more than doubled during the Bush Administration - good, see above.

    Electricity costs up 11 percent during first half of 2006. - good, see above.

    You cannot both advocate alternatives and still keep the prices of fossil fuels low.

    You have not perceived the shifting ground below your feet. For several years Bush opponents have had their fun. They could argue that Bush did not recognize the problem and that they would have done better, not that anything important happened before Bush, BTW.

    Now Bush is on record saying he understands global warming is a problem. Now we are talking about what to do. Now the Dems are in a position to do something (as they failed to do up to 2001). Now we have to recognize that prices will need to rise and we will have to make some changes.

    So yes, Bush was a sinner, but he has seen the light, hallaujuah. Are you guys going to do something now or talk about the past?

    Posted by: Jack at January 23, 2007 5:48 PM
    Comment #204658
    Jack wrote: These are the President’s proposals on energy. Good. Let’s get them enacted and working. Or do we have more time to play politics?

    That’s quite a list to pursuing the goal of reducing U.S. gasoline usage by 20% in 10 years.
    The size and magnitude of that list screams out … why now at this late stage?
    So many of our problems have been ignored too long.

    No. We don’t have time to play politics.
    We’re may be running out of time on several problems.

    Energy is just ONE of many equally pressing problems, but it is one that could be a catalyst for an economic meltdown.

    The problem is that this one problem area (energy) is subject to the same root problem as the many other problems facing the nation, and few (if any) are likely to ever be adequately addressed as long as Congress is FOR-SALE. Or, are you of the opinion that this new 110th Congress will suddenly change that (significantly)?

    The question is how painful will the consequences of our energy vulnerabilities and many other numerous growing problems have to become before voters stop tolerating it?

    Posted by: d.a.n at January 23, 2007 5:57 PM
    Comment #204659

    David

    I cannot speak for the President, who has not even yet delivered the speech, but let me give my opinion.

    “First, why double the Strategic Petroleum Reserve if there is going to be a sincere effort to reduce fossil fuels as a source of energy?”

    It helps lower the risk of energy disruptions and provide leverage against potential enemies threatening the fuel supplies.

    “Second, why is there no emphasis on replacing combustion with alternate non-combustion energy sources, like hybrids, all electrics, etc.”

    We do not need to dictate exact means. Bush will not call for it, but I do and think it is coming - higher fuel prices. Higher fuel prices will create the proper incentives to do whatever works.

    “Third, where is the increase in taxes on the higher greenhouse gas emitters like SUV’s and Trucks? If the taxpayer is going to bear the brunt of the cost for a lot of this cleaning up and burying CO2, why shouldn’t those who pollute more incur a greater cost than others who pollute far less?”

    See above. I believe in taxing oil and carbon in general. If we do that, whoever uses more pays more. We do not need to specify what sorts of vehicles.

    “Pick up trucks used for grocery shopping is a choice Americans may wish to continue to make, but, they should be taxed accordingly, since taxing what we don’t want (more pollution) is an effective measure in reducing the numbers of persons making those more polluting choices?”

    See above again. I like the higher prices and am willing to tax carbon. I think politicians will come around to this, but it will be hard. The Dems can always propose such things too.

    BTW - maybe we should replace most income taxes with an “earth use” tax. We could tax carbon and pollution and raise revenue that way, at least until such time as we reduced these to acceptable levels.

    Posted by: Jack at January 23, 2007 6:05 PM
    Comment #204665

    Jack,

    You’ve conveniently paid attention to the comments about rising energy prices (which you like, I know), and ignored the comments saying that the funding was inadequate to the stated goals. Again, Bush is about lip service, and we’ll see if that changes tonight.

    Posted by: Max at January 23, 2007 6:20 PM
    Comment #204666

    A plan to reduce dependence on foreign oil. Despite his rhetoric about America’s addiction to oil, the President has not proposed a plan to break this addiction in the short- or long-term. In fact, the President’s stated intention to reduce imports from the Middle East by 75 percent by 2025 would only reduce overall imports by 14 percent and overall consumption by less than 2.5 million barrels per day, just under 10 percent of expected annual consumption. And just two days after his announcement, two senior energy officials said the President was “speaking metaphorically” about reducing Middle East oil imports and “acknowledged that Persian Gulf oil may, in fact, not be replaced at all, even if overall oil imports were to drop because of the increased availability of alternative motor fuels.” (AP, 2/2/06)

    So… The DAY AFTER the last state of the union senior officals say Bush was speaking “metaphorically”? What does that mean - that he was b.s.ing?

    Posted by: Max at January 23, 2007 6:24 PM
    Comment #204668

    Max

    I brought up the price because that is what you said the result was of the policies. High prices will be the result of any policy that addresses the energy/CO2 problem. Of course, they may also result from market events (in that case, why blame Bush?). Either way, they are a necessary step.

    Posted by: Jack at January 23, 2007 6:33 PM
    Comment #204678

    I have read through the above several times. The main thrust is replacing oil products with something else. The something else is surely debatable. But, the cost of R&D to get the cost affordable has been left in the dust. It is not the job of the federal government to finance big business and R&D. There should be incentives for people to seek out the funding and the process to solve the problem. Work on small models to find the best approach. Once someone has found an idea then patent the idea and go get rich. Find ways to cut the cost of solar energy, which I think has the greatest potential for home and road both. The other options need to be researched down to a cost effective level to be useful to society.

    Posted by: tomh at January 23, 2007 7:42 PM
    Comment #204682


    This president allied himself with the oil industry and the PNAC neocons. He put this nations reputation, it’s good will and it’s military on the line and then proved himself totally incompetent. He is incompetent at running a war, incompentent at running the economy and incompetent at uniting our nation. We are supposed to listen to him, follow his lead, work with him, I think not!

    This president has nothing to say that will encourage me. I will not waste my time listening to his Disstate of the Union address. I already know what it will be, smoke and mirrors.

    Posted by: jlw at January 23, 2007 7:52 PM
    Comment #204686

    Kyoto, for example, exempts these places, which is the most grievous of its many flaws.

    That’s true, however where you go wrong is when you then think it means we need to do nothing, or less than what Kyoto proposes. If there is a problem with the Kyoto protocol, then the solution is of course to fix it, not to then drop the matter and assume we should do nothing about global warming.

    Also, I read somewhere that China actually is going to adopt stricter fuel efficiency requirements than the US has (this pertained to their auto industry, but of course if they take this seriously it’s safe to assume they won’t stop just with cars). One of the leading excuses politicians have made is “China and India don’t care about this problem, so why should we?” It appears even that might not work anymore.

    Posted by: mark at January 23, 2007 8:26 PM
    Comment #204690
    And when he is all done, the critics will complain and claim they are trying to convince the President that global warming is real. That is easy to do, since the President already believes it and has said so. But critics will continue to argue with themselves and feel superior. That is what they are good at doing. Meanwhile others will be doing the needful things to secure the future.

    I’m not so sure all these “critics” are actually saying any of that. No one is saying technology is not part of the solution, just that doing nothing and hoping private industry will solve this alone is enough (Bush’s “voluntary measures”). Also, in some cases when Republicans say that only people on the left believe in global warming, Democrats have responded by saying Bush himself has admitted it.

    While we need new technologies, stronger regulations to increase efficiency are part of the solution. Part of making sure new technology is both developed and adopted is providing incentives for it. Most car makers aren’t going to just spend a billion dollars in R & D for improved fuel efficiency just out of the goodness of their hearts, especially when it doesn’t provide an immediate, short-term reward.

    The reason why the Bush administration (when they actually talk about issues like this) is so adamant about things like fuel cells and hydrogen is because they are far off in the future so they can justify not doing anything right now that would decrease the amount of oil Americans use (and of course oil company profits). However by taking simple measures like raising CAFE standards we can start to alleviate the problem right now.

    Posted by: mark at January 23, 2007 8:42 PM
    Comment #204708

    Mark

    The problem is not that China and India do not care and even if they did not, that would not be a good excuse. The problem is that if you squeeze the U.S. many of these firms would move to less developed countries where standards were lower. You might end up creating MORE CO2, just in different places.

    The other argument is that since 2001, the U.S. CO2 emission have grown SLOWER than the EU. Kyoto doesn’t seem to have had much of an effect. Kyoto is clearly not the only game in town.

    And now that I have listened to the SOTU, we see that many of the things you mention, the President covered.

    David

    BTW - the President mentioned batteries and non-combustion as you wanted.

    Posted by: Jack at January 23, 2007 10:21 PM
    Comment #204710

    Wow, Jack, you should be proud of your fellow Virginian.

    That was a powerful rebuttal. It should have been the State of the Union. It was to the point, honest and addressed reality.

    Posted by: gergle at January 23, 2007 10:27 PM
    Comment #204712


    gergle: It was the best rebuttle I’ve ever heard. Short but powerful.

    Posted by: jlw at January 23, 2007 10:43 PM
    Comment #204719
    The problem is that if you squeeze the U.S. many of these firms would move to less developed countries where standards were lower. You might end up creating MORE CO2, just in different places.

    If they do that, tax the hell out of them. We DO have that power if they want to do business in the United States. Maybe if we did more of that, there would be less companies moving to these places because the greed incentive is gone.

    Posted by: womanmarine at January 23, 2007 11:01 PM
    Comment #204720

    Jack,

    I was bored by the SOTU. I think this prez is done - stick a fork in him.

    Posted by: Max at January 23, 2007 11:07 PM
    Comment #204722

    jlw

    Why did you need a “rebuttal”. Dems are not interested in victory in Iraq or a clean environment?

    Woman

    We have no capacity to tax the hell out of these foreign products. We are bound by trade agreements etc.

    Max

    Yes. This president is almost done. He cannot run again. Go ahead, make him the bad guy.

    Posted by: Jack at January 23, 2007 11:22 PM
    Comment #204725

    Yeah, Yeah, Yeah. This is the seventh time in his State of the Union speeches that Bush mentioned energy independence. What has he done to make that a reality? Answer: NOTHING. The former Republican majority? Answer NOTHING.
    What exactly are we escalating the war for? Answer: FOR THE OIL.
    It’s a good thing the Democratic Party truly cares about energy independence, and now finally has the chance to work toward making it happen.

    Question for those who watched, or listened to the SOTU: How can anyone believe a word Bush says at this point?
    All he ever does is lie, lie, lie, whenever he opens his mouth. That, or he’s omitting things that are important — perhaps because he believes people will forget if he doesn’t talk about them. Here is an example of what I mean: The State of the Union, but Bush doesn’t give a single mention of the enormous numbers of people on the Gulf Coast who are still suffering horribly in the aftermath of Katrina. No, instead he talks about throwing yet more money at his disastrous, failed war in Iraq.

    Of that war he says: “it would not be like us to leave our promises unkept, our friends abandoned, and our own security at risk.”
    And yet, that is all he has done. He has broken all of his promises, and made nothing but false claims every step of the way. He talks about “our friends” in Iraq when we know that they don’t want us there, and as we leave our own people completely abandoned after Katrina. He talks about reauthorizing “No Child Left Behind” because it’s a “good law” — when it was poorly concieved and never even funded. He whips up fear with all his talk of terrorism, yet he has left our own security at risk by ignoring and not funding many of the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. The only time he mentioned Bin Laden in the entire speech was to actually quote one of that bastards threats. This, in order to scare all you Nervous Nellies out there into terrified silence — again — so he can keep trashing our Constitution, violating our rights and liberties at will, and to keep us petrified enough to keep quiet while he again uses nothing but inflamatory rhetoric and thoroughly undiplomatic actions to lead this nation onward toward a new war with Iran.

    To me, that State of Union Address was nothing but “Stay The Course” which actually means lie, do nothing, set the stage for failure, and keep trying to sell this garbage as effective leadership.
    It’s madness and it sickens me — how about you?

    Posted by: Adrienne at January 23, 2007 11:34 PM
    Comment #204737


    Jack: The only reason we needed a rebutal was so Sen. Webb could say-if he doesn’t we’ll show him the way. Victory in Iraq as defined by who, the CEO of Exxon/Mobil? What about next year, victory in Iraq and Iran?

    Bipartisanship:

    Oh I wish I had my rubber stamp congress

    That is what I truely wish I had

    Cause if I had my rubber stamp congress

    I wouldn’t have to say Democrat

    Posted by: jlw at January 24, 2007 1:14 AM
    Comment #204759

    >>Heating costs have increased 64 percent - good energy prices WILL rise if we are serious about alternatives.

    The price for a barrel of oil has more than doubled during the Bush Administration - good, see above.

    Electricity costs up 11 percent during first half of 2006 - good, see above.

    You cannot both advocate alternatives and still keep the prices of fossil fuels low.


    Posted by: Jack at January 23, 2007 05:48 PM

    Jack,

    I think it can be done without huge increases in fuel prices, but even if you are correct…what do current price increases have to do with seeking alternatives? How much of Exxon’s 44% increase in net profits are going into alternative research?

    Posted by: Marysdude at January 24, 2007 8:53 AM
    Comment #204760

    Bush’s so-called “energy” plan allows auto manufacturers to “voluntarily” raise mileage per gallon…it is NOT mandated. What a wimp of a president we have.

    Posted by: Lynne at January 24, 2007 8:53 AM
    Comment #204763
    Yes. This president is almost done. He cannot run again. Go ahead, make him the bad guy.

    He doesn’t need me for that. He does a great job of being a bad guy all on his own.

    Posted by: Max at January 24, 2007 9:23 AM
    Comment #204764

    Well, I listened to bush’s speech, and, keeping in mind that i am a rabid liberal who, if it is possible to personally dislike someone whom I have never met, personally dislike this man, I tried to find something to be enthusiastic about. I found nothing. This is partly the nature of the SOTU speech, carefully crafted not to commit, or inform, or offend. It ends up being very bland, no matter who gives it. It is also partly that the speech given by bush was not the bold statement needed to let me know that this president understood the crisis we are in. bush has a habit of pushing the tough choices out into the future (a %20 cut in fuel consumption in 10 years?) and nibbling around the edges of a huge problem in our health care system. (some sort of tax credit that I would need to know more about before I could complement or criticize).
    I guess his speech was fine. Too little, too late. The presidency and the powers that go with it are still incredibly relevant but I don’t think that the man currently in that position is.
    Re: webb. this guy is psychotic!! but in a good way! His dislike of w came through clearly. He is focused on the mantle of “commander and chief” that is hung on the man who is president and clearly holds w DIRECTLY responsible for the deaths of 3000 men and women and the injury of 22,000 more. “Reckless” is the word he chose to use. If his son is killed over there I think someone should wake up the secret service and let then know who’s coming!!
    His speech was direct, personal and compelling. It was intended to both inform and offend and it did both. It show the value of one man, writing and giving one speech rather then the speech-by-consensus we seem to get today.

    Posted by: charles Ross at January 24, 2007 9:32 AM
    Comment #204766

    Marysdude

    Let me be clear. I am in favor of higher prices. I would not seek to lower them. I think they are a good thing. I would prefer that the prices stay high because we tax them and get the revenue benefit (while cutting some other taxes) but I really do not care if the price rise comes from Exxon. The high price is beneficial in and of itself.

    Re prices in general, they WILL rise if we address climate change. There is no way around this. Anybody who tells you different is not telling the truth.

    Posted by: Jack at January 24, 2007 9:50 AM
    Comment #204768

    Charles

    Webb thinks he is Andy Jackson. You might like him now, but I do not think he is the Democratic type of guy in the long run.

    BTW - liberals disliked him with a passion when he was Republican. He is like the hit man they want to take on the President, but he will be around at least four years after you do not have Bush to kick around anymore.

    Posted by: Jack at January 24, 2007 10:05 AM
    Comment #204772
    …at least four years after you do not have Bush to kick around anymore.

    You don’t know what it is for your party to be kicked around and disregarded.

    Posted by: Max at January 24, 2007 11:02 AM
    Comment #204775

    do you want energy independence?

    a. Provide tax breaks for all hybrid purchases. stop the artificial 60,000 car limit. they took a big car maker out of the break (Toyota)

    b. Help the american companies produce more hybrid cars. the limited amount of american hybrids are embarassing.

    c. Hold oil companies responsible for their damage to the environment, including paying the fees owened to the government, no matter what the leasing specifies.

    Posted by: Sarantoss at January 24, 2007 11:25 AM
    Comment #204776

    Jack, you’ve several times made this reference to “kicking george bush around”. w seems so oblivious to me, like the ups and downs, success’s and failures are not allowed to get too close. He wanders through his military service, fails in his business efforts, dabbles in drink and drugs, seems removed as president from the realities of his decisions. I have read quite a bit about the August 6th 2001 daily briefing he received regarding several months of “chatter” about a possible terrorist attack. It is remarkable to me, in light of the embassy attack, first trade center attack, cole bombing, and Saudi arabia attack that he seemed to have little interest or curiosity about it, no prompt follow-up, no “let’s get on this”. (for this read Richard Clark’s book, very informative) Even his clumsy flight suit, “mission accomplished” moment. I get the impression that someone came up with the idea, made the sign and stuffed w into a flight suit as just another prop. It is useless to kick w around. He is completely unaware. the %30 of the country that is basically at the “don’t confuse me with the facts, he’s my president”; they are also unaware. Two more years of this. I don’t know if republicans fully comprehend how much w has hurt their party and compromised the fine principles that the republican party used to promote

    Posted by: Charles Ross at January 24, 2007 11:27 AM
    Comment #204778

    Max

    Just as a matter of strategy, I think Dems have too eagarly kicked George Bush. This will be the first election since 1952 w/o a somebody from the previous administration and the first since 1928 w/o a clear successor. The evil men do sometimes lives after them, but their reputation is charred with their bones and you guys have succeeded in charring Bush.

    Two years is an eternity in politics. In 2004, nobody would have guessed that Dems would be riding so high a couple years later. For that matter, Dems treated 1992 as the return of the king, and by 1994 they suffered a thumping worse than the Republicans got last year.

    I have been watching this long enough to know that there are no permanent victories of defeats.

    I will give you a radical prediction related to this post. By 2008 global warming will be a Republican issue, much like Reagan took the arms control issue and actually made it effective after years of peacenik BS, this issue will be ours soon. You can still use it if you want, much like we let you use arms control after we fixed it.

    Posted by: Jack at January 24, 2007 11:32 AM
    Comment #204779

    Sarantoss

    The oil firms will pay more. The Bush Administration is renegotiating the Clinton era sweetheart deal and they will pay more. But they currently ARE playing what is owed and agree to by government. The leasing agreement is a contract. You can renegotiate a legitimate contract, but you cannot just change it when you do not like it. We assume it was a legitimate contract, BTW, because Bill Clinton’s team negotiated it in the first place.

    Posted by: Jack at January 24, 2007 11:36 AM
    Comment #204783


    Jack: You are probably right about the price of fuel having to go up to facilitate the change that is necessary. I would rather see that price hike used to reduce and eventually eliminate our debt.

    On global warming and switching to alternative energy sources, we need a Manhattan Project or 60’s space program that is well thought out and that is done in cooperation with other nations. I believe we have reached a point in history when this kind of cooperation between nations is absolutely necessary.

    Today, we see several nations with their own space programs. This is a very costly and dangerous way for man to conquer space. We have reached the point where man is a couple of wrong steps away from living is caves again.

    On Jim Webb, yes, I like it that he called out the president. I am sick of the notion that we rich men and our corporations know what is best for the people. A more equitable society does not mean one man one dollar. No one believes that, not even communists.

    This Democrat is not ready to inaugurate Jim Webb for president. However, if he should run and win some day, I am going to show up at the inaugural ball in my flannel shirt and bibbed overalls.

    Posted by: jlw at January 24, 2007 11:45 AM
    Comment #204785

    jlw

    Just like Andy Jackson. Maybe you all can toss some furniture out the windows, as they did back then.

    Webb is an impressive, if pugnacious guy. But like Old Hickory, whom he admires, Webb is a bit unstable. I do not think he will last as a Democrat once Bush has shuffled off the American stage, or more precisely, he will be one of those picturesque mavericks.

    Re rich men knowing best, you do have a problem with causality. Most of the time, the men (and women) who make decision are rich, but they sometimes get rich because they can make decisions well and it is hard to find a highly successful man or woman who manages NOT to become rich. Generally, promotions and income come with responsibility.

    Posted by: Jack at January 24, 2007 11:53 AM
    Comment #204791

    Jack, You forget, most of the laws under Clinton were written by a republican congress, bent on rewarding their cronies for their majority

    Posted by: sarantos at January 24, 2007 1:23 PM
    Comment #204796


    Jack: “Maybe you can toss some furniture out the windows” Why not, the rabble needs to let off a little steam now and then. We can borrow the money for the repairs from the bankers.

    I don’t disagree with your assesment of Webb. I wonder what he would think of Jackson if he were Cherokee? However, he is one of those successful people you talk about. He didn’t just have to lick his silver spoon to get where he is and I would trust his instability over that of our great leaders’ any day.

    ” it is hard to find a highly successful man or woman who manages not to become rich.” That is one of if not the greatest economic revolutions in history. Those people used to work for the aristocracy for a quarter more than your average peasant and many of those who are successful have forgotten that the peasants had a roll in that revolution. The problem is that many of them think that anyone can be successful and those who are not deserve what they get. They have learned to think like the aristocrats that would not give those with the abililties the opportunity to succeed. Apparently, the only difference between the aristocracy of today and the old aristocrats is that you can earn your way into that exclusive club.

    Sixty percent of the people (the peasants) get a whopping 0.3 percent of the wealth for their labor and you call that justice! What if they got 6 percent? Is that so radical that it would destroy our economy?

    “I will give you a radical prediction related to this post. By 2008 global warming will be a Republican issue,” There is nothing radical about that position. Republicans have always been better at following than leading, remember the tories. If the conservatives had their way, there would not have been a revolution and the successful people would still be working for the aristocrats.

    Conservatives like the statis quo. It is the liberals that come up with the radical ideas that lead to progress. Conservatives have always been good at stealing those ideas when the time is right or the fruit is ripe.

    In case you haven’t noticed, corporations are already lining up. They are realizing, quite rightly, that they are not going to get a seat at the table if they don’t act now.

    Many of those who have resisted are realizing that the science is probably right and that we are the major cause of global warming. Many of them are also coming to the realization that the liberals are right and there is a lot of money to be made in the transition and the needed technology.

    Posted by: jlw at January 24, 2007 2:06 PM
    Comment #204804

    Sarantos

    This was NOT a law. It was an executive agency contract. These are ALL either Clinton appointees or career civil service.

    I am not saying it was such a bad thing. At the time it was written, oil was really cheap and these guys just did not anticipate the price rise. But it is not a Republican act and it is not an example of corruption (maybe just foolishness)

    jlw

    I do not particularly like very rich people and I have no respect for rich people who do not work or do something useful. But you are looking at the wrong problem.

    From a revolutionary point of view, the American system must be very frustrating. It co-opts anybody with significantly better than average brains, organizational ability or talent. Not that I approve of them, but consider all those boz in the hood rappers. They used to chant poems about their poverty, now they brag about their bling.

    We also have a lot of mobility. Revolutions happen when talented and smart people just cannot get out from under their circumstances. This does not happen very often in the U.S. People are well off, or they think they WILL be well of in the future or they are so screwed up that they do not have the attention span for a real revolution.

    So you get the revolution of the rappers. Lots of bitching and bling, not much real change.

    BTW - Andy Jackson was one of the richest men in the U.S. by the time he became president. He just talked country.

    Posted by: Jack at January 24, 2007 3:35 PM
    Comment #204805

    jlw

    Re the second half of your post. Of course we want to make money on the innovation. There are lots of idea. Many do not work. When they become practical, they usually become profitable too. There are lots of old hippies that are rollng in the green (and not the environmental kind). That is the beauty of the free market.

    The free market is the most revolutionary system in the history of the world. It just manages to make change prosaic.

    Posted by: Jack at January 24, 2007 3:38 PM
    Comment #204807
    You guys have succeeded in charring Bush.

    I still say he did it to himself. If he made it even remotely possible to work with him - Democrats would. I even believe they are trying.

    I will give you a radical prediction related to this post. By 2008 global warming will be a Republican issue, much like Reagan took the arms control issue and actually made it effective after years of peacenik BS.

    Nope. Don’t think so.

    Posted by: Max at January 24, 2007 3:50 PM
    Comment #204808

    Jack…

    “Causality”? What “caused” W to become president? His Name, his Family, his wilfull obloquy, his handlers, NOT his laziness, his ineptness, his overblown self importance. Sometimes men are born rich. Wealth is not an infalible indicator of abilty, only of “purposefullness”.

    As Eisenhower said

    Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes that you can do these things. Among them are a few Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or businessman from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.

    Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at January 24, 2007 3:51 PM
    Comment #204810

    Jack said: “Why did you need a “rebuttal”. Dems are not interested in victory in Iraq or a clean environment?”

    Wrong.! Democrats recognize that there never was a victory for America to be had in Iraq. Victory never was in the cards. We did not have the military manpower or preparations to make victory in Iraq. Nor, I might add, did we have a debtless nation upon which to borrow to insure victory.

    There will be a Democrat President in ‘08 and Dem’s are poised to gain more Congressional seats. While I regret this in many ways, the environment and global climate change will be addressed far more aggressively than Republicans ever even fantasized about. The shame of it all is that the 11 trillion dollar national debt, doubled by Republicans, very, very seriously limits Congressional and Presidential options.

    Which is why I fear Democrats taking complete control of government. Fiscal restraint and discipline has never been there strong suit, but, then, Republicans have proven far worse. It took 200 years for Democrats to create 5.6 Trillion in national debt. It will have taken Republicans only 8 years to double it.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at January 24, 2007 3:55 PM
    Comment #204814

    Dave

    Bush is a rich kid who never would have been president had be been more in ordinary circumstances. But if you look beyond the Bushes (and Gore and Kerry BTW) you see a different pattern. Clinton was trailer trash poor. Reagan’s old man was a shoe salesman and sometimes not sober. Carter was a well off farmer. Nixon’s family owned a grocery store. Johnson was a school teacher. You have to go back to Kennedy to find another rich kid. Since you mentioned Eisenhower, I think his family owned a dairy. Oh yeah, Truman was famously a failed haberdasher. Roosevelt was rich, but Hoover was an orphan. Coolidge was a farmer … well you get the point.

    Money helps because it buys experience and education, but certainly not everyone born rich ends up successful. Not many people come from the bottom and get to the very top (although Reagan and Clinton came close), but success is clearly within the grasp of most Americans and we co-opt and reward those who make it. That was my point. It is hard to figure out a way that you can be highly successful and stay poor.

    Eisenhower was speaking at an earlier time. As I have written many times, the post WWII system worked very well until the early-mid 1970s. At that time conditions changed and it had run out of steam. That does not mean it failed, merely that it no longer was appropriate to the conditions.

    David

    I did not know Democrats were in charge of the country for 200 years. I always heard Lincoln, T. Roosevelt, Eisenhower, even Herbert Hoovers etc were Republicans.

    Posted by: Jack at January 24, 2007 4:24 PM
    Comment #204833

    Webb is morally repugnant. How can he stand there with any moral authority for a national political party. Reference his book where a father has oral sex with his son. The book was a novel. Was he in his fantasy world?

    Posted by: tomh at January 24, 2007 5:28 PM
    Comment #204847

    David,
    as I told you before Im not as well educated as you but I thought we had more Republican presidents than Bush jr. in the last 208 years.

    Posted by: dolan at January 24, 2007 6:31 PM
    Comment #204854

    presidents by party,

    Federalists-2
    Whigs-4
    Democratic Republicans-4
    Republicans-18
    Democrats-14

    Posted by: dolan at January 24, 2007 6:42 PM
    Comment #204909

    Jack
    Bush can’t quite say “global warming” can he? On the News Hour today one commentater put it right. Bush is finally facing the right direction. Now lets ee if he starts takeing steps. I am baffled by his refusal to raise mileage standars. This would be a huge step. The technology exist. The same commentater put it well.”this is auto mechanics not rocket science.
    He has proposed doubling the strategic reserve. This could be an engine of price stability if done correctly. I would still argue that stability is nearly as important to alternate developement as high prices.
    Do not underestimate the potential of conservation. It won’t solve everything but could easily solve 20% with little hardship.Thats a big chunk and would continue to increase as longer term conservation systems mature,better building designs,better zoneing(ie. jobs-work etc),mass transit etc.

    Posted by: BillS at January 25, 2007 12:23 AM
    Comment #204949

    BillS

    Stability AT higher prices. You are right that the wild fluctuations of price is what destroys alternatives. We CANNOT maintain stability at a lower price than the market will allow. Intervention in the market, however, is fairly good at RAISING prices. Let’s use this to advantage.

    Posted by: Jack at January 25, 2007 9:56 AM
    Comment #205102

    Warming to raise seas for 1,000 years: U.N. draft

    The draft projects more droughts, rains, shrinking Arctic ice and glaciers and rising sea levels to 2100 and cautions that the effects of a build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will last far longer.
    The report says it is “very likely” — or more than a 90 percent chance — that human activities, led by burning fossil fuels, are to blame for warming since 1950.

    The previous report in 2001 said the link was “likely,” or at least 66 percent.

    Posted by: womanmarine at January 25, 2007 10:49 PM
    Comment #205659
    We cannot cut and conserve our way to success. Instead we need to employ the latest technologies and develop better ones. A high energy price will help make this happen.

    No, but conservation and increased efficiency are a part of any realistic solution. Without the gains in efficiency over the decades, consumption and pollution would be much greater. There are two fronts here — efficiency/conservation and consumption — and both need attention. Without good conservation and state-of-the-art efficiency, those zero-energy solar-powered homes would not be possible.

    Posted by: Trent at January 29, 2007 3:48 PM
    Post a comment