President Bush: 1) Good things just happen; 2) We don’t need to know whether fossil fuels cause global warming.

May 22, 2006 | By | 6 Replies More

President Bush recently expressed doubt that he will be viewing Al Gore’s documentary on global warming, “An Inconvenient Truth.” In the course of this same interview (reported by the Associated Press), Mr. Bush also made two extraordinary statements:

1) “New technologies will change how we live and how we drive our cars which all will have the beneficial effect of improving the environment.”

In other words, Mr. Bush is claiming that the federal government doesn’t need to take an active role to protect the environment. Instead, the “Free Market” has again been praised as the Beneficent Intelligent Protector that it truly isn’t.

2) “And in my judgment we need to set aside whether or not greenhouse gases have been caused by mankind or because of natural effects and focus on the technologies that will enable us to live better lives and at the same time protect the enviroment.”

This second comment is puzzling, indeed. What IF global warming is being caused by “mankind’s” burning of fossil fuels? If this proved to be the case, we could minimize the devastating consequences of global warming by minimizing “mankind’s” burning of fossil fuels. Right? If we learned that fossil fuels were contibuting substantially to global warming, wouldn’t this be a good reason to make “technologies . . . that will protect the environment” a HUGE priority?

But coming to these conclusions just wouldn’t do, of course. Thinking such thoughts might encourage government leaders to restrict our wasteful conspicuous consumption of energy. We might have to drive reasonable-sized cars. We might have to consider energy consumption whenever we pass laws regarding urban planning, commerce or taxation. In this political climate, it would just be so horribly un-American to worry about energy!

By making this second statement, Mr. Bush has given us yet another clue regarding his faith-based world-view. He sees the issue of global warming solely as one of finger-pointing. It is beyond Mr. Bush’s understanding that anyone’s concern with global warming should be taken at face value. That’s why he sees no need to go see Al Gore’s movie.

Instead of recognizing global warming as a serious evidence-based issue, Mr. Bush has seized on the issue of global warming as another us-versus-them battle. Us versus them? That’s a movie I think I’ve seen before . . .

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Category: Energy, Environment, Politics

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (6)

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  1. bodhi_sutta says:

    This is not, by any means, a surprise to me. It seems that W didn't learn anything about ethics in his college years or beyond. This is our president? Disgusting!!!!

  2. Mark Kraemer says:

    I believe President Bush's refusal to consider the "human factors" contribution to global warming has its roots in the American belief in "entitlement."

    Too many Americans believe they are entitled to drive large, gas guzzling cars and drive an unlimited number of miles every year. They feel that their "right" to behave in this way trumps any need to conserve resources and limit their emissions. For too many Americans, this belief closes off any notion that they are part of the problem.

    We need a leader (and a President) who can inspire more Americans to discard this outdated, dangerous belief–a leader who can associate conservation with responsible, moral behavior.

    We certainly don't have such a president now.

  3. Gary says:

    Perhaps we should give Bush the benefit of the doubt and interpret his words to mean that we should act as if global warming were a reality even if some are skeptical of the science.

    And certainly technology will play a role in conservation and shifts in energy usage.

    We should give him credit for his recent words about our 'addiction to oil' and his rhetoric to become energy independent. Breaking our addiction to oil may also lead to a more ecologically sound energy policy.

    Clearly recent gasoline prices, the evangelical coalition that has been addressing global warming, and the failure to secure Iraq as a stable oil resource, are all contributing to a change in momentum on the political right that may be directed toward a more ecological and sustainable energy usage if they aren't alienated by 'I told you so' political opponents.

  4. Diana Phillips says:

    It is unfortunate that we will have to tolerate two more years of a president who refuses to accept responsibility for protecting our environment and thus the environment of our world. Given that we have only ten years in which to begin dramatic change or suffer the global consequences, two years is a gigantic price to pay.

    We, as thinking individuals, must begin a grass roots effort to make a difference even though we do not have the support of our "leader".

  5. Edgar Montrose says:

    President Bush could learn a lesson from an ancient proverb, something about "an ounce of prevention" and "a pound of cure".

    Sorry; oxymoron: President Bush … learn a lesson.

  6. Erich Vieth says:

    Today President Bush repeated the following about global warming: "There's a debate over whether it's manmade or naturally caused. We ought to get beyond that debate and start implementing the technologies necessary … to be good stewards of the environment, become less dependent on foreign sources of oil…" See here. He made it clear that he still doesn't intend to see Al Gore's movie.

    Again, how is it possible to "get beyond the debate" when the debate determines HOW you get beyond the debate? If fossil fuels are causing global warming, we need to get beyond the debate by dramatically burning less fossil fuel, not just TALKING about burning less fossil fuels.

    I've put a link for the trailer for Al Gore's movie, "An Inconvenient Truth," under the Environment section on the right column of the home page, or click here.

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