Barely in office three months, Bush has already backtracked on one of his most prominent campaign promises: the reduction of carbon dioxide emission in the US. At least with Clinton, it took more than 6 months to begin fudging on his promises – so is Bush just an efficient President or did he plan to renege all along?
Let’s look at what he said in Michigan last September during one of his campaign speeches:
"We will require all power plants to meet clean air standards in order to reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, mercury and carbon dioxide."
Then, he slammed Gore for proposing only "voluntary reductions" – certainly a carefully planned move to make him look tough on the environment while his opponent was not. The environmentalists, always on the look out for someone who will champion them, hailed Bush and there’s very little doubt that they turned out in droves to vote him into office. What one small lie can do to win an election that hanged on, at one point, to less than 2000 votes…
Last week, Scott McClellan, the White House spokesman revealed that "CO2 should not have been included as a pollutant during the campaign. It was a mistake". This admission was particularly telling because it implies that Bush had made an honest error but does anyone really believe that a budding President could make such an error
In his own press statement, Bush states that "we must be very careful not to take actions that could consumers…this is especially true given the incomplete state of scientific knowledge of the causes of, and solutions to global climate change". Can you imagine the pie in the face of a one Christie Whitman, the Environmental Protection Agency chief who had just a week earlier announced that she would rigorously pursue the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions? If she were in Europe, she would have had to resign. But of course, it was the United States where thing are done a little differently.
Was it a lie?
The people who would most benefit if CO2 was not targeted for reduction would be the big energy corporations, traditional backers of the Republican party. Even during the campaign, when Bush made it clear that he was going to reduce CO2 emissions, the energy industry hardly made a whimper and happily continued to contribute to the campaign fund. Could they have been reassured beforehand that it was all just a hoax? No one will probably know for sure, but its possibility and this whole incident does say a lot about the current President of the United States: he’s one conniving piece-of-work who either knows how to play the percentages just right or is a complete yes-man. Either way, the American people can be sure that they are going to be in for one hell of a ride over the next 4 years as they try and guess when the next fudge will occur.
Appearing www.renungan.com 21 March 2001