Stay the course on climate change

Bush pretends to understand the severity of climate change but offers more of the same.

President George W. Bush took time out of his day on Wednesday to discuss the need for the United States to adopt voluntary greenhouse gas reductions. It’s taken Bush nearly two full terms to acknowledge climate change and make any effort to curb greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Needless to say, expectations were low, and it’s no surprise that his speech on Wednesday was high on rhetoric and lacking in details and science.

The president wants to create a goal for the United States to stop increasing its greenhouse gas emissions by 2025. Bush wants this to be a completely voluntary target. His laughable objective is pitifully less than some of even the most moderate bills being discussed in Congress. Members of the president’s own party (including Sen. John McCain) have voiced their support for a cap-and-trade program with far more than just wishy-washy ambitions.

Even now, a bill offered by Sen. John Warner, R-Va., and Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., is building bipartisan support, and it proposes to lower emissions 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. That’s not a voluntary program.

Bush is in lame-duck mode, and he failed to offer anything new or substantive to the climate change discussion – the same issue which he has ignored throughout his entire presidency. His speech on Wednesday was, at the very least, a waste of everyone’s time. We only hope that the president’s speech doesn’t indicate his intent to spend his last months fighting against Congress’ efforts.

At this point, the best thing Bush could do is get out of the way, quit confounding the process and give his successor the courtesy of a clean start on this issue. The sitting president should do nothing, as he has done for the last seven years. Now, it appears even that is too much to ask.