President Bush: As Usual, Sending the Wrong Message on the Environment

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According to most environmentalists, President Bush’s message on the environment was weak. While Bush addressed the issue of global warming, the message he gave most clearly to Americans was to stay the course and these pesky ecological issues will go away.

In a statement released yesterday, The Sierra Club said: “Despite the warning from the President’s economic advisor that the State of the Union would ‘knock your socks off in terms of our commitment to energy independence,’ so far we have heard no new evidence that this administration understands what it will really take to break our oil addiction or curb global warming. In fact, the President’s proposals are more likely to make the problems worse.”

In his plan, President Bush touts ethanol as the major catalyst towards an emissions-reduction solution, but he doesn’t mention its possible detrimental effects. The President doesn’t see any issue with drilling in Alaska either. And he doesn’t seem to be rushed in imposing any sort of harsh standards on the automotive industries. The official White House plan states that the reduction in gasoline will be helped along by an assumed increase of fuel standards for light trucks and passenger cars by a four per cent each year, starting in 2010. Sounds pretty wishy-washy.

This from the Sierra Club: “…[T]he President assumes that fuel economy will increase but fails to order an increase when a 40 mile per gallon standard is the single biggest step we could take to curb global warming and end oil dependence.”

Yet, in reporting on the latest automotive models, some media outlets have chosen to call the 2010 fuel-efficiency standards “stringent.”

Armed with this what-me-worry message, some Americans (as well as Canadians and Europeans) are just keeping on keeping on. This means driving hummers and other tank-like vehicles to invade the strip malls, taking private jets so to have a place to smoke at 30,000 feet, and buying instantly disposable goods to keep on top of fashion trends.

— Caroline Dobuzinskis

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