Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Same Crew

After much delay, the Bush Administrations's report on climate change was released on Thursday. Here's the story from across the world in the Age:

US climate report fuels fears of drought
The Age
May 30, 2008

The Bush administration has released a climate change assessment - four years late and pushed forward by a court order - that says human-induced global warming will likely lead to problems like droughts in the US West and stronger hurricanes.

President George W Bush's stance on the issue has evolved from denying climate science to acknowledging that global warming is happening.

In March, watchdog groups said Bush's decision to intervene in setting air pollution standards was part of a pattern of meddling in environmental science.

The "Scientific Assessment of the Effects of Global Change on the United States" released on Wednesday synthesised previous reports, including those by the government's climate change science program and last year's work by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
It is intended to give US government agencies and MPs in Congress a single document to refer to when forming climate policy.

The assessment was praised by environmental groups at the forefront of the lawsuit that led to the court order forcing the administration to issue the report by the end of May. clip

A 1990 law, the Global Change Research Act, requires the government to do an assessment on global warming every four years. The last one had been issued in 2000 during President Bill Clinton's administration. (clip)

In 2006, the Bush government was accused of censoring its scientists on global warming, such as NASA expert James Hansen, which led to the firing of an official at the space agency.
Sharon Hays, the White House associate science director, said Thursday's document offered "a greater focus on what scientists know about climate change impacts in the United States" than the 2007 reports by the UN panel.

Siegel, echoing the sentiment of many environmental groups, said now that the government had an assessment, it should launch a cap-and-trade program on greenhouse gases and federal limits on emissions to slow climate change.

"Now it's time to actually do something about climate change," she said.

The Senate is expected to take up the leading climate bill next week, although few analysts expect it to pass before the next administration comes to power."

Yes, now it's time to actually do something about climate change and what is the response from our government? Here's the story from Fortune:

Chances dim for climate-change legislation

Business coalition splinters, and without widespread corporate support, the bill headed to the Senate is almost certainly doomed

By Marc Gunther

NEW YORK (Fortune) -- An influential coalition of Fortune 500 companies and environmental groups that was formed to support climate-change legislation has splintered over the Lieberman-Warner bill that is headed next week to the Senate floor.

The U.S. Climate Action Partnership formed last year won't take a position on the bill, although nine of its members - including General Electric, Alcoa , and four utility companies - signed a letter to senators backing the legislation.

The letter, also signed by big environmental groups and obtained by Fortune, says: "Prompt action on climate change is essential to protect America's economy, security, quality of life and natural environment."

But other members of the coalition known as U.S. Cap, most visibly Duke Energy, a coal-burning utility, are strongly opposed. "It's going to translate into significant electricity price increases," says Jim Rogers, Duke's CEO.

Without widespread corporate support, passage of the bill - already a long shot at best - becomes even more unlikely this year.

President Bush remains opposed.

House Democrats have been slow to act. (more)

If you were on a life boat in pretty rough seas,

and land was in sight, and the life boat was taking on water,

but the crew that was in charge,

would not give the order to bail out the water,

would you start bailing anyway,

or would you throw the crew overboard first?

After all, it's the same crew that

sunk the ship.

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