Thursday, August 26, 2004

The "What Me Worry?" President

El Presidente and his administration, which has spent the last three and a half years denying the scientific evidence of global warming and the impact of hydrocarbons and other human activity on that phenomenon, is about to be run over by its own science.

Back in June 2002, in a submission to the United Nations under a climate treaty, the Bush administration's own science officers issued a document suggesting that global warming had a human cause and posed big risks. When El Presidente got wind that his own government was saying such things, he immediately dissed the scientists and distanced himself from the document they wrote: it was something "put out by the bureaucracy," Bush said, indicating yet once again that he has about as much use for science as for a used Kleenex.

Now the scientists in the Bush administration, a persistent if dispirited lot, have spoken up again: "In a striking shift in the way the Bush administration has portrayed the science of climate change, a new report to Congress focuses on federal research indicating that emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases are the only likely explanation for global warming over the last three decades."


Bush's close friends in the fossil-fuel industry are going to be a little upset at these mixed messages. Big oil and big coal don't wanna hear any steenking science. Simply put, they "oppose any restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions and have attacked science pointing to dangerous human-caused warming as flawed" (NYTimes story here).

And Myron Ebell of the libertarian Competitive Enterprise Institute said the report was "another indication that the administration continues to be incoherent in its global warming policies."

For the type of cattle farming that goes on in Watauga County, the report contains an especially alarming warning: "It also says the accumulating emissions pose newly identified risks to farmers, citing studies showing that carbon dioxide promotes the growth of invasive weeds far more than it stimulates crops and that it reduces the nutritional value of some rangeland grasses."

That's great news for the Eurasian garlic mustard that's been busily taking over our mountain meadows, and terrible news for the small cattle-farmers.

Not that "Cattleman Bush" would lift a finger to actually DO anything. No, not him. Wouldn't be good to upset the fossil-fuel guys.

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