Imagine if President Bush announced a plan for Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs that declared: They will cease accumulating nuclear weapons by 2025. We will accomplish this through incentives and voluntary action, without mandates.I've written about another comparison that could be made to emphasize the absurdity and hypocrisy of this administration's stance on the environment: Cheney's 1% doctrine.
Mr. Bush would be ridiculed, but in essence, that’s the plan he announced for climate change on Wednesday. He set a target for halting the growth in carbon dioxide emissions by 2025, without specific mandates to achieve that, and in the meantime he blasted proposed Senate legislation for tougher measures as unnecessary.
But also there was a time when the build-up of nuclear arms was referred to as MAD ("mutually assured destruction"), implying rational thought would insure that the lethal stockpiles would never be used. That scary assumption appeared to work for decades, despite the inherent evil and waste associated with building such bombs. Nonetheless, fewer nukes on the planet is a good thing and worth pursuing.
Cut to climate change. It too is MAD, as we're all "mutually assured destruction" if we continue to ignore this problem. However, the fact that global warming does not conjure up jarring images like hundreds of war heads pointed at our country or "finger on the button" jitters makes the entire issue less frightening, less impending, less urgent. Yet with each passing year of no mandates, no action, no urgency makes the probability of MAD that much more irreversible and certain.
When will this enormously pressing problem generate the fear it deserves, to be treated less as a luxury that can be managed or curtailed at the margin? And we've observed what this administration can do when it wishes to crank-up the nail-biting on anything meaningful to them. Even more alarming is things are getting increasingly worse as is -- before even factoring in the millions of additional cars and hundreds of additional coal plants that will be built in fast-developing countries like China and India.
Whereas many believe GW will go down as the worst president in history due mainly to Iraq and Constitutional transgressions, his purposeful and unconscionable delay(s) on anything having to do with climate change will more likely become his primary demerit. His eight years of stonewalling and water-carrying for industry on this front has literally adversely changed the course of nature to the point where we may never recover.
Maybe that's why he cares not a wit about the federal deficit: who will be around to collect?