The secret campaign of the Bush administration to let polluters determine US climate policy

June 22, 2007 | By | 3 Replies More

All of your suspicions are true and you can now find them in an article that is intensely compelling and distressing.  It’s the current edition (June 28, 2007) of Rolling Stone.

It’s not every day after all that the leading scientists from 120 nations come together and agree that the entire planet is about to go to hell.  But the Bush administration has never felt bound by the reality-based nature of science–especially when it comes from international experts.  So after the report became public in February, Vice President Dick Cheney took to the airwaves to offer his own, competing assessment of global warming

We’re going to see a big debate on it going forward,” Cheney told ABC news, about “the extent to which it is part of a normal cycle versus the extent to which it’s caused by man.”  We know today, he added, is “not enough to just sort of run out and try to slap together some policy is going to” solve the problem.”  Even former White House insiders were shocked by the vice president’s see-no-evil performance.

The Rolling Stone article argues that the White House has actively worked to distort the findings of climate scientists, playing down the threat of global warming.  This investigation by Rolling Stone goes further, however.  It reveals that

these distortions were sanctioned at the highest levels of our government, and a policy formulated by the vice president, implemented by the White House Council on environmental quality and enforced by none other than Karl Rove.  An examination of thousands of pages of internal documents that the White House has been forced to relinquish under the Freedom of Information Act-as well as interviews with more than a dozen current and former administration scientists and climate-policy officials-confirms that the White House is implemented in industry-formulated disinformation campaign designed to actively mislead the American public on global warming and to forestall limits on climate polluters.

Rolling Stone traces the revolving door through which those who worked for industry polluters have joined and then left the White House. The print version of Rolling Stone offers a telling graphic regarding this industry influence in the White House.  Another graphic in the print version (page 59) Is entitled “Lie by Lie: a Guide to President Bush’s Calculated Deceptions on Global Warming.  Included in that graphic are nine fundamental lies by the White House.  For instance, in February, 2002, Bush announced “we must and we will conserve more in the United States.”  Between 2002 and 2006, however, “Bush slashed funding for federal efficiency programs by nearly one-third.”  Here’s another Bush lie (this one from May 14, 2007): “I set an ambitious goal in my State of the Union: to cut America’s gasoline usage by 20% over the next 10 years.”  In reality, this plan “contains no mandated improvements in fuel economy.  Three-fourths of gasoline would be replaced by liquid coal and other carbon intensive fuels.”

This article is a must-read for anyone who wants to see how horribly infested the White House has become with the money and ambitions of the biggest polluters in the world.

All is not doom and clone in this issue, however.  Although I don’t see it available online, the same edition of Rolling Stone contains an upbeat article by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., entitled “What Must Be Done: Start by Ending Government Subsidies for Oil and Coal-Giving Innovative Solutions a Fair Chance to Compete.”  In his article, Kennedy shares some startling statistics.  We don’t need big oil as much as we think we do.  Following the OPEC crisis in the 70s, American business and government got to work to develop conservation strategies and alternatives to Middle East oil.

Detroit boosted the fuel efficiency of its automobiles from 18 to 27.5 miles per gallon.  Oil use shrank by 17%-while the economy grew by 27%.  Even more important, oil imports from the Persian Gulf plunged by 87%, breaking the cartel’s power over America’s economy.

Kennedy’s suggestion is to let a truly free market generate solutions to our energy problems.  Right now, gasoline is highly subsidized.  If we factored in the defense spending, jobs lost overseas, taxes lost overseas, pollution, healthcare and other considerations, we would realize that we are paying more than $13 per gallon at the pump.  Most of those costs are hidden costs, however.

Kennedy goes further, writing that our dependence on oil and coal is not only the result of these subsidies, “but of a deliberate criminal effort by the oil companies and auto manufacturers to subvert the free market and rig the system in favor of their products.  He compared the current efforts by energy producers to the efforts of General Motors, Standard Oil and Firestone between 1920 in 1955.  These companies financed a front company that systematically “bought up and destroyed the electric streetcars in 45 American cities . . . in an illegal conspiracy to eliminate mass transit . . . replacing clean efficient streetcars with more costly and filthy diesel buses.”

We can do better, writes Kennedy.  A lot better.  He cites numerous solutions that come well-recommended by those who understand and care about America’s energy problem.  Now, if we can only get our corrupt federal government out of the way.

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Category: American Culture, Consumerism, Corruption, Energy, global warming, Politics, The Middle East

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 (3)

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  1. "'but of a deliberate criminal effort by the oil companies and auto manufacturers to subvert the free market and rig the system in favor of their products. He compared the current efforts by energy producers to the efforts of General Motors, Standard Oil and Firestone between 1920 in 1955. These companies financed a front company that systematically 'bought up and destroyed the electric streetcars in 45 American cities . . . in an illegal conspiracy to eliminate mass transit . . . replacing clean efficient streetcars with more costly and filthy diesel buses.''"

    My comment is not really related to climate warming, but it reminds me of a couple of things I thought about yesterday. I was watching "Prison Break" and I was wondering about the increasing privatization of prisons and wars. It's scary that government sort of gives up its monopoly and let companies, whose goal is profit and growth, take over governmental responsibilities. I think corporates and social and environmental consciousness exclude each other.

  2. Leonid S. Sukhorukov says:

    * Corruption is strong friendship at the highest level. Leonid S. Sukhorukov

  3. Erich Vieth says:

    Here's a distressing article on the enormous amount of pollution caused by U.S. military adventures: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/barry-sanders/the-g

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