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Bush Versus the Environment

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  • Posted January 14, 2010

    Only flaw: bias overwhelms facts

    The "violations" Bush committed were so "under the radar" that by the time the book was written the air and water was cleaner and the annual increases in greenhouse gas emissions had been reduced by 80% over the American record in 2000.

    The interesting thing is that the mainstream press as well as the Keith Olbermanns and the Rush Limbaughs of the media missed this latter story. It took the IEEE (a professional organization for electrical and electronic engineers) to dig the truth out of the available data. While Al Gore toured Europe decrying the American record (16%+ increase from 1990 to 2006) as compared to the EU's (a DEcrease!), two IEEE researchers took the UN statistics and broke them down by years, and it turned out there was a significant inflection point in the data. Divided into 1990-2000 and 2000-2006 (the most recent year in the UN data), the rate of growth in the US dropped by 80% to just 1.6%, while the rate in the EU flipped from negative to a positive 1.8%, making them worse than the US during the dread "Bush Era". Given the IEEE is a supporter of the idea of human-caused climate change, the two researchers reported they had mixed feelings about what their research exposed. In fact, they discovered a correlation that ALL media outlets overlooked: the nations signing the Kyoto Treaty actually had WORSE records overall than those nations who were lobbied to sign but refused (including the US). Oops! What differentiates these IEEE researchers and the author of this book is the simple fact that the IEEE fellows didn't let their personal opinions cloud their critical thinking -- they reported (reluctantly) that the whole environmental issue is more complicated than the simplistic view the typical environmental activist has of it. [Note: the improvement in the American record was not the result of recession, as the overall period of improvement was one of economic growth on par with the earlier period; the reversal of EU results was due to the fact that their earlier good record was mostly the result of replacing antiquated power plants and factories in former Eastern Bloc countries; and no one suggests that Bush actually TRIED to improve US emissions by government policy -- the market likely simply found Americans more interested in "green" marketing and reacted rationally to it.]

    Meanwhile, Bush didn't toss bones to the likes of Senator Byrd, who had successfully lobbied Bush's predecessor, President Clinton, to allow West Virginia mining operations to continue lopping the top off mountains to get at the coal, sending tons of pollutants into rivers (and prompting a federal judge to consider the Clinton administration an "abuser" of the Clean Water Act). Nor did Bush write a book in which he called metals mining the worst water-polluting activity one could do with a piece of land, yet then lease out his property to a tin mining company just to add $50K/yr to his considerable income -- something that Vice President Al Gore did with some of his Tennessee property. And the higher Clean Water criteria that Bush rescinded upon entering office were rules that the Clinton/Gore administration had seen fit to withhold for the first 7 years and 11 months of its own tenure, putting the unattainable higher goals in place in a cynical move they both knew would have to be overturned in order to avoid an economic calamity.

    However, one must admit this book is unquesti

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