Saturday, May 27, 2006

Bush the Green

I've been thinking about how often Bush gets slammed as a pariah on the environment, which is expected. Frankly, sometimes it seems like the left doesn't really think they have to spend time thinking about it; Republicans and Conservatives are bad for the environment. Right?
Well, no. Actually, Bush has been better on the Environment than most Presidents have lately. Don't believe me? I'm not surprised, seeing as how the press has avoided good news that helps the President like they would a leper at a Republican fund raiser.
However, some people have noticed.
One is tempted to ask whether they are being Clintonesque, with nothing depending upon their definitions of nothing. But assuming they were being honest, one can only wonder where they gathered their evidence that the Bush administration was doing nothing.
Obviously it was not from reading Gregg Easterbrook in The New Republic, who in February last year, wrote: "[T]he notion that Bush has done nothing at all about greenhouse gases can only be sustained if you ignore what he has done."
Duane Freese goes on to discuss a few of the things that the administration has accomplished that help the environment. One is programs to reduce methane emission, which is far more powerful that carbon dioxide. They have also produced 60 programs designed to reduce emissions of carbon equivalent greenhouse gases by 500 metric tons through 2012. But that doesn't seem to register with environmental types.
Where the administration runs afoul of its critics' demands -- and is considered to be doing nothing -- is in the promotion of caps on carbon emissions. The critics want to force carbon-emitting industries to cap emissions and then allow those who reduce their emissions below their cap to sell credits to those who fail to meet them. But such cap and trade schemes would do little to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Without China and India participating, costly carbon caps will prompt the movement of industrial emissions abroad -- where they will likely be spewed out in greater amounts through dirtier technology.
And, in truth, Kyoto is failing left and right. Canada and Europe are not going to be able to meet their own standards under that treaty.
But truthfully, even this article doesn't really cover all the pro-environmental moves that Bush has made over the course of his 5 years in office. Easterbrook over the years has logged many other programs and administrative rule changes, as well as standards and bills that the President has championed, including the toughest standards on industrial mercury emissions in history. The President has been fully behind the U.S. participation in the Pacific Rim treaty that cuts greenhouse emissions, but does it in a more effective way than Kyoto.
Bush also gets trashed for recinding all those poorly thought out edicts that Clinton handed down in his final days in office (truly Clinton's only real environmental claim to fame). But what people fail to realize, and what the left chooses to ignore, is that apart from the Roadless Initiative, Bush has reistated most of the environmental rule changes that Clinton put into place. He just temporarily suspended them while giving the new Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture time to review them.
While I have problems with Bush's politics in many areas, at least I'm honest about what he has and has not done. It constantly amazes me that some people seem to just want to believe what's not true so they have an excuse to hate the President.

1 comment:

Cash said...

I actually talked about this a few years ago, mentioning a quote from Bob Geldof about Bush ... "You'll think I'm off my trolley when I say this, but the Bush administration is the most radical - in a positive sense - in its approach to Africa since Kennedy."