Did George Bush Become A Climate-Change Convert?

The London Telegraph headlines the agreement of George Bush to significantly reduce greenhouse-gas emissions as part of a global effort. They hail his “dramatic” shift on the issue of global warming. Did Bush change American policy — or did he change the ground conditions for the climate-change debate? At Heading Right, I explain that the only dramatic change came from the rest of the G-8 nations. They decided to stop short of economic suicide, and Bush pulled the gun away from their temples.
UPDATE: Kimberly Strassel at The Wall Street Journal agrees (h/t: CQ commenter onlineanalyst):

Under the vaunted Kyoto, from 2000 to 2004, Europe managed to increase its emissions by 2.3 percentage points over 1995 to 2000. Only two countries are on track to meet targets. There’s rampant cheating, and endless stories of how select players are self-enriching off the government “market” in C02 credits. Meanwhile, in the U.S., under the president’s oh-so-unserious plan, U.S. emissions from 2000 to 2004 were eight percentage points lower than in the prior period.
Europeans may be slow, but they aren’t silly, and they’ve quietly come around to some of Mr. Bush’s views. Tony Blair has been a leader here, and give him credit for caring enough about his signature issue to evolve. He began picking up Mr. Bush’s pro-tech themes years ago, as it became clear just how much damage a Kyoto would do to his country’s competitiveness. By the end of 2005, he admitted at a conference in New York that Kyoto was a problem. “I would say probably I’m changing my thinking about this in the past two or three years,” he said. “The truth is, no country is going to cut its growth or consumption substantially in the light of a long-term environmental problem.” He doubted there would be successor to Kyoto, which expires in 2012, and said an alternative might be “incentives” for businesses. Mr. Bush couldn’t have said it better.

The other big difference is the inclusion of India and China in the parameters of the deal. That also came straight from Bush, who held fast on that demand — a bipartisan demand from Congress.

6 thoughts on “Did George Bush Become A Climate-Change Convert?”

  1. CE: Your “Heading Right” observations concur with what Kim Strassel noted this morning at WSJ’s online opinionjournal.
    The US has exceeded the achievements of Kyoto signers in reducing carbon emissions.. and has done so without damaging our economy.
    One paragraph of the synopsis of Bush’s success:
    There’s been a capitulation on global warming, but it hasn’t happened in the Oval Office. The Kyoto cheerleaders at the United Nations and the European Union are realizing their government-run experiment in climate control is a mess, one that’s incidentally failed to reduce carbon emissions. They’ve also understood that if they want the biggest players on board–the U.S., China, India–they need an approach that balances economic growth with feel-good environmentalism. Yesterday’s G-8 agreement acknowledged those realities and tolled Kyoto’s death knell. Mr. Bush, 1; sanctimonious greens, 0.
    The article points out the forward-looking Asia-Pacific Partnership, the value of nuclear energy, the advancing technology of clean coal, and so forth– all part of Bush’s plan for addressing climate change. None of these ideas foster deceitful methods of cap and trade or equally rife-for-abuse carbon-credit shell games pushed by Gore’s acolytes.
    Nice work by both of you for setting the record straight!

  2. Wouldn’t it be ironic if Bush’s legacy turned out to be international kudos for effective policy in the environmental arena.

  3. He’s still searching for a LEGACY – may the continental fart be the one to meet his royal ways. Although after the constipation caused on hearing the temprary failure of his amnesty, he might be in no mood to talk just about that.
    May he find a LEGACY that can be reversed – the amnesty is the only one that cannot be rolled back. Money, taxes, hospitals, hot gases – all can be fixed in time – culture is a one-way street though. Once gone is never to return.

  4. The other day, Glenn Reynolds, over at InstaPundit, linked to FREEMAN DYSON. On this very subject.
    Did you know GLOBAL WARMING really means we know something about ground temperature all over the world?
    That’s the BIG error, said Dyson. Because of the big oceans; we do not know, at any given point in time, what the temperature is on the GROUND. All over this world.
    The other thing? This is done with hokus-pocus COMPUTER MODELING, folks! It’s not sexy science to actually measure stuff. So, the computer is “asked a bunch of questions.” Sort’a like getting your horoscope from astrology.
    Just because a lot of people believe its true. Doesn’t make it true.
    As to Algore. He got a “D” in science at Harvard. So neither Bush nor Algore actually have “credentials.”
    Which also speaks to the boobs in Hollywood, who have also “glammed onto” this limosine liberal agenda.
    The whole idea? To give the UN an ability to tax us all. And, with freaks on the Supreme-O’s bench, like Anthony Kennedy; the Constitution can be trumped by “world opinion.”
    On the other hand, Bush has two more years to go. And, except for the course GOING DOWNHILL; I do not know what’s gonna stop him.
    Meanwhile, I’m pretty sure on 9/11 he got Bandar on the phone. And, he gave the Saud’s more information than he should have.
    Does Bush talk a good game? Well, “talking” isn’t one of his strong suits.
    And, while his popularity has plunged, so, too, has the numbers for the congress critters. It’s not as if they’re going home as heroes.
    And, in this mix? Guiliani continues to do well.
    As to science, I hate it when idiots turn it into malarky. Because nothing good happens in science from “concensus.” But the opposite. Heck, even the poliio vaccines came from two men who couldn’t get a dime from the March of Dimes.
    Meanwhile, the media swamp does own the hysteria.
    At least there’s the Internet.
    And, the FREEMAN DYSON link from InstaPundit was time well spent.

  5. Carol Herman is correct, this issue is bogus.
    Facts ignored by Al Gore, et al:
    1) The primary cooling mechanism of the earth is not radiation, but convection. Winds cool the earth over twice as much as radiational cooling. Greenhouse gases are only relevant to radiational cooling.
    2) The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is approximately 380 ppm (parts per million).
    3) The amount of water vapor (H2O) varies from 10,000-20,000 ppm on average.
    4) Water vapor is more than twice as powerful as a ‘greenhouse gas’.
    If one does the math here, CO2 is a laughable minor footnote in the atmosphere equation.
    4) Water vapor

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