"Conservation may be a sign of personal virtue, but it is not a sufficuent basis for a sound, comprehensive energy policy." -- Dick Cheney, mid-2001
A 2003 study from the Office of Management and Budget proves that environmental cleanup more than pays for itself. Environmental regulations cost industry between $23 to $26 billion a year, but generate $120 billion to $193 billion in such benefits as reduced hospitalization, fewer lost workdays, and fewer premature deaths. -- OMB/Eric Alterman and Mark Green
"If you polled experts they'd say that this Bush is the worst environmental president in our history. But unlike Newt Gingrich's open assault a decade ago, he's doing it quietly through his agencies via rules changes to eviscerate thirty years of environmental law. If he even partly succeeds, we'll no longer have effective environmental laws anymore. We'll be like Mexico, having nice-sounding laws with no mechanism to enforce them." -- Robert F. Kennedy Jr., quoted by Eric Alterman and Mark Green
Bush's intractable opposition to environmental protection has its political side, as well. Mark Crispin Miller writes, "[Governor Gray] Davis [who requested emergency help in preventing the massive wildfires that burned through California in October 2001] was a Democrat, as were most Californians -- so what would be the point of doing anything for them? ...Rather than prevent the fires from devastating Southern California, Bush & Co. exploited them to further free the hand of corporate lumber (through the 'Healthy Forest Initiative'); and instead of trying to halt mad cow disease, Bush/Cheney wanted to protect the beef cartel from any news about mad cow disease, an epidemic looming on the near horizon now for years, as several experts have observed." -- Mark Crispin Miller
"Our planet's atmosphere is a common resource. No individual, and no nation, owns it, or any part of it. We all need it -- not only to breathe, but also to absorb the waste gases we produce, of which carbon dioxide is the most significant. The more fossil fuels we use, the more carbon dioxide we put into the atmosphere. We now have strong -- many atmospheric scientists would say overwhelming -- evidence that the carbon dioxide produced by human use of fossil fuels is changing our planet's climate. The predicted change in climate is already happening, with nine of the hottest ten years ever recorded occurring since 1990." It is worth noting that since Singer wrote his book at the end of 2003, far more evidence has accumulated proving the existence, and the dire, immediate threat, of global warming. The Bush administration has finally acknowledged that global warming does indeed exist, but for years called it the more neutral-sounding "climate change" and refused to take any steps to curb it.
Singer writes that if the polar ice melts, it will raise sea level around the world between four and 35 inches, drowning many low-lying coastal regions on every continent as well as numerous inhabited Pacific islands, ruining the unique Australian alpine ecosystem due to lack of consistent snowfall, and other major climate changes that will drastically impact human living and producing around the globe. When Bush took office, he said that he would not do anything to curb global warming "that harms our economy, because first things first are the people who live in America." Press secretary Ari Fleischer told the press that Bush was against any government recommendations to curb automobile use, because driving is a key element of American life, and "the American way of life is a blessed one." Bush refused to sign the 2001 Kyoto Protocols, which would mandate every signatory nation to reduce greenhouse gases 5% below 1990 levels by the end of the decade. Not surprisingly, many other nations look at Bush's recalcitrance as almost criminal negligence, with former European Union commissioner Romano Prodi saying, "If one wants to be a world leader, one must know how to look after the entire earth and not only American industry." But Bush's refusal to act extends even into his second term, after he grudgingly acknowledged the reality of global warming.
Asked about the Kyoto Protocol during one 2000 presidential debate, Bush snapped, "I'll tell you one thing I'm not going to do is I'm not going to let the United States carry the burden for cleaning up the world's air, like the Kyoto treaty would have done. China and India were exempted from that treaty. I think we need to be more evenhanded...." What Bush failed to acknowledge is that neither China nor India are, as yet, major contributors to the blanket of carbon dioxide smothering the globe. The US, with less than 5% of the world's population, has contributed 25% of the emissions and pollutants now in our atmosphere. China, with four times the US's population, has as of December 2003 contributed less than 60% of the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. -- Peter Singer
The energy industries have contributed over $96 million to Republican candidates since 2000. In return, they have received solid backing from Congress and the Bush administration to battle any significant recognition of global warming as well as to convince Bush to flip-flop on his 2000 campaign promise to reduce mercury emissions. According to the former director of the National Park Service, Roger Kennedy, the administration has systematically altered and deleted scientific information on global warming and environmental issues in general. "It's hard to decide what is more demoralizing about the administration's politicization of the scientific process," he said. "Its disdain for professional scientists working for our government or its willingness to deceive the American public." -- Robert Kennedy Jr
If "you have the entire global scientific community on one side and the largest polluter on the other side, and you have to choose between whose scientific view you're going to take, who would you pick? Well, it seems to be an easy choice, but this White House, unfortunately, chose the polluter." -- Al Gore