July 10, 2008

EDITORIAL: Administration Sends a Mixed Message About Climate Change

By La Crosse Tribune, Wis.

Jul. 10--At the G-8 conference in Tokayo, Japan, on Wednesday, President Bush praised the "significant progress" that has been made on global warming.

Unfortunately, whatever progress has been made would have been enhanced if the United States were fully engaged on the issue. Alone among industrialized democracies, the United States has not ratified the Kyoto treaty on climate change.

Now, the president is talking about climate change issues as if he is not a latecomer to the process.

G-8 leaders vowed to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2050, an amount that environmental groups said didn't go far enough.

Leaders from the eight developed nations that belong to the G-8 -- the United States, Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Canada, Japan and Russia -- met with representatives of eight countries with developing economies, including China and India, to discuss ways to reduce emissions.

All 16 nations are responsible for 80 percent of the carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases put into the atmosphere.

There will be differences, but developed nations need to lead the way and provide the example -- and perhaps some incentives -- for the developing nations to follow suit.

Bush has come a long way since his first term, when he spent most of his time on the issue denying the validity of the science behind it. But while Bush is paying lip service to the environment, there is evidence that Vice President Dick Cheney continues to obstruct.

In a letter to Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., a former Environmental Protection Agency staff member accused Cheney of being responsible for deleting parts of congressional testimony by the head of the Centers for Disease Control, on the health effects of climate change.

That testimony was last October. At the time, the administration said it had concerns about the science the CDC was using to arrive at its conclusions.

Sigh. While the Bush administration talks as if it is interested in combatting global warming, its actions on the testimony suggest otherwise. On climate change issues, we're taking one step forward, and a few steps back.


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