For literally years, Tony Blair has been pushing the Current Occupant to move against the threat of global warming. Now–according to insiders on 10 Downing Street–he will. According to a front-page story in The Observer:
…there is a feeling that the US President will now agree a cap on emissions in the US, meaning that, for the first time, American industry and consumers would be expected to start conserving energy and curbing pollution.
For evidence, insiders point to the fact that the Bush administration allowed the US Fish and WIldlife service to list polar bears as "threatened" by climate change.
True, but enviros everywhere are skeptical. A spokesperson for Greenpeace pointed out that last year Bush shocked everyone by admitting that the US was addicted to oil, but did nothing meaningful about it.
"Be afraid. Be very afraid," remarked David Roberts at Grist. "If the mendacity doesn’t get you, the incompetence will."
A commentator (Number6) at Kevin Drum’s Political Animal site ventured a prediction:
If you want a clue as to what to what to expect from [[the State of the Union], have a look at how Australia’s Prime Minister, John Howard, handled his own greenhouse about-turn speech recently. Grudging recognition that climate may be shifting, and a few vague measures that basically amount to ‘more of the same’- a committe or two, more research, and assistance to the big end of town. No changes to energy markets to shift consumer behaviour, efficiency measures or mandated renewables targets. As John Howard seems to have got away with this approach, it’s likely to set a model for GWB.
I would note the vague, hopeful phrase "the feeling" from insiders that the Current Occupant will agree to an emissions cap. If past experience is any guide, he probably allowed himself to be talked into a potentially good idea in the presence of Blair, but any actual useful actions to protect the environment will be spiked by Dick Cheney before they emerge from the White House.
UPDATE: Well, that didn’t take long. The White House has rushed out a denial before the story was even a day old, saying "the rumor is not true." Perhaps the Current Occupant is still a denier.