Bush administration says global warming effects American enviroment (Bush is now a tree hugger?)greenspun.com : LUSENET : Unk's Troll-free Private Saloon : One Thread
June 3, 2002
Climate Changing, U.S. Says in Report
By ANDREW C. REVKIN
n a stark shift for the Bush administration, the United States has sent a climate report to the United Nations detailing specific and far-reaching effects that it says global warming will inflict on the American environment.
In the report, the administration for the first time mostly blames human actions for recent global warming. It says the main culprit is the burning of fossil fuels that send heat-trapping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
But while the report says the United States will be substantially changed in the next few decades — "very likely" seeing the disruption of snow-fed water supplies, more stifling heat waves and the permanent disappearance of Rocky Mountain meadows and coastal marshes, for example — it does not propose any major shift in the administration's policy on greenhouse gases.
It recommends adapting to inevitable changes. It does not recommend making rapid reductions in greenhouse gases to limit warming, the approach favored by many environmental groups and countries that have accepted the Kyoto Protocol, a climate treaty written in the Clinton administration that was rejected by Mr. Bush.
The new document, "U.S. Climate Action Report 2002," strongly concludes that no matter what is done to cut emissions in the future, nothing can be done about the environmental consequences of several decades' worth of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases already in the atmosphere.
Its emphasis on adapting to the inevitable fits in neatly with the climate plan Mr. Bush announced in February. He called for voluntary measures that would allow gas emissions to continue to rise, with the goal of slowing the rate of growth.
Yet the new report's predictions present a sharp contrast to previous statements on climate change by the administration, which has always spoken in generalities and emphasized the need for much more research to resolve scientific questions.
The report, in fact, puts a substantial distance between the administration and companies that produce or, like automakers, depend on fossil fuels. Many companies and trade groups have continued to run publicity and lobbying campaigns questioning the validity of the science pointing to damaging results of global warming.
The distancing could be an effort to rebuild Mr. Bush's environmental credentials after a bruising stretch of defeats on stances that favor energy production over conservation, notably the failure to win a Senate vote opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to exploratory oil drilling.
But the report has alienated environmentalists, too. Late last week, after it was posted on the Web site of the Environmental Protection Agency, private environmental groups pounced on it, saying it pointed to a jarring disconnect between the administration's findings on the climate problem and its proposed solutions.
"The Bush administration now admits that global warming will change America's most unique wild places and wildlife forever," said Mark Van Putten, the president of the National Wildlife Federation, a private environmental group. "How can it acknowledge global warming is a disaster in the making and then refuse to help solve the problem, especially when solutions are so clear?"
Scott McClellan, a White House spokesman, said, "It is important to move forward on the president's strategies for addressing the challenge of climate change, and that's what we're continuing to do."
Many companies and trade groups had sought last year to tone down parts of the report, the third prepared by the United States under the requirements of a 1992 climate treaty but the first under President Bush.
For the most part, the document does not reflect industry's wishes, which were conveyed in letters during a period of public comment on a draft last year.
The report emphasizes that global warming carries potential benefits for the nation, including increased agricultural and forest growth from longer growing seasons, and from more rainfall and carbon dioxide for photosynthesis.
But it says environmental havoc is coming as well. "Some of the goods and services lost through the disappearance or fragmentation of natural ecosystems are likely to be costly or impossible to replace," the report says.
The report also warns of the substantial disruption of snow-fed water supplies, the loss of coastal and mountain ecosystems and more frequent heat waves. "A few ecosystems, such as alpine meadows in the Rocky Mountains and some barrier islands, are likely to disappear entirely in some areas," it says. "Other ecosystems, such as Southeastern forests, are likely to experience major species shifts or break up into a mosaic of grasslands, woodlands and forests."
Despite arguments by oil industry groups that the evidence is not yet clear, the report unambiguously states that humans are the likely cause of most of the recent warming. Phrases were adopted wholesale from a National Academy of Sciences climate study, which was requested last spring by the White House and concluded that the warming was a serious problem.
A government official familiar with the new report said that it had been under review at the White House from January until mid-April, but that few substantive changes were made.
Without a news release or announcement, the new report was shipped last week to the United Nations offices that administer the treaty and posted on the Web (www.epa .gov/globalwarming/publications /car/).
A senior administration official involved in climate policy played down the significance of the report, explaining that policies on emissions or international treaties would not change as a result.
Global warming has become a significant, if second-tier, political issue recently, particularly since James M. Jeffords, the Vermont independent, became chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee last year. Mr. Jeffords has criticized the president's policy.
The new report is the latest in a series on greenhouse gases, climate research, energy policies and related matters that are required of signatories to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which was signed by Mr. Bush's father and ratified by the Senate.
The convention lacks binding obligations to reduce gas emissions like those in the Kyoto Protocol.
Mr. Bush and administration officials had previously been careful to avoid specifics and couch their views on coming climate shifts with substantial caveats. The president and his aides often described climate change as a "serious issue," but rarely as a serious problem.
The report contains some caveats of its own, but states that the warming trend has been under way for several decades and is likely to continue.
"Because of the momentum in the climate system and natural climate variability, adapting to a changing climate is inevitable," the report says. "The question is whether we adapt poorly or well."
Several industry groups said the qualifications in parts of the report were welcome, but added that the overall message was still more dire than the facts justified and would confuse policy makers.
Dr. Russell O. Jones, a senior economist for the American Petroleum Institute who wrote a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency a year ago seeking to purge projections of specific environmental impacts from the report, said it was "frustrating" to see that they remained.
"Adding the caveats is useful, but the results are still as meaningless," Dr. Jones said.
-- Cherri (email@example.com), June 03, 2002
The multidude of forest fires in Colorado, New Jersey, Idaho and elsewhere adds to the greenhouse effect not to mention the heat-of- combustion effect.
I don't know how but I'm sure that the fires are Bush's fault.
-- (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 03, 2002.
Well of course they are, Lars. He's responsible for global warming and the lack of rain which in turn lays to waste our forests making them one big fire hazard. Then the repubs come along and light a match.
Did you know that the last ice age ended only about 30,000 years ago and lasted about 2 million years? Did you also know that it was the most severe of the 50 or so ice ages this globe has experienced? I say bring on global warming; we'll need it in the blink of an eye.
-- Maria (email@example.com), June 03, 2002.
Of course they are. Haven't you ever heard of a bushfir e?
-- (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 03, 2002.
Well at least it appears that Dumbya is coming to his senses and admitting the realities of global warming. Unfortunately he won't do anything about it because he has sold his soul to his buddies in the fossil fuel industry.
-- (one step forward @ two steps. back), June 03, 2002.
US Administration Blames Humans for Global Warming
Mon Jun 3,12:50 PM ET
By Tom Doggett and Chris Baltimore
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Bush administration acknowledged for the first time in a new report that U.S. greenhouse gas emissions will increase significantly over the next two decades due mostly to human activities, but again rejected an international treaty to slow global warming (news - web sites).
The report released by the Environmental Protection Agency (news - web sites) was a surprising endorsement of what many scientists and weather experts have long argued -- that human activities such as oil refining, power plants and automobile emissions are important causes of global warming.
The White House had previously said there was not enough scientific evidence to blame industrial emissions for global warming.
"Greenhouse gases are accumulating in the Earth's atmosphere as a result of human activities, causing global mean surface air temperatures and subsurface ocean temperatures to rise," the administration said in its report.
That position puts the Bush administration at odds with its supporters in the U.S. auto, oil and electricity industries, which contend that more research is needed to determine if the changes are naturally occurring or caused by industry.
In the report sent Friday to the United Nations (news - web sites), the administration forecast that total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions will increase 43 percent between 2000 and 2020.
On the same day, all 15 European Union (news - web sites) nations ratified the Kyoto pact -- the only global framework for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and soot.
The United States is the world's largest emitter of so- called greenhouse gases, mostly from utilities and factories.
Last year, the Bush administration triggered international outrage when it announced the United States would not participate in the Kyoto Treaty, a U.N.-backed attempt to limit greenhouse gas emissions by industrial countries.
At the time, President Bush (news - web sites) said the Kyoto Treaty's goal of reducing U.S. emissions by about 7 percent from 1990 levels during 2008-2012 would be too costly to the American economy.
Environmental groups said the new U.S. report was a major reversal by Bush administration on the link between global warming and human activity.
"(The report) undercuts everything the president has said about global warming since he took office," said Philip Clapp, president of the National Environmental Trust.
The Environmental Protection Agency posted the report on its Webs site, but EPA officials refused to comment on its contents and referred inquires to the State Department, which submitted the report to the United Nations.
ALPINE MEADOWS, ISLANDS AT RISK
The administration warned that increased emissions and rising temperatures will have a greater impact on certain regions of the United States.
The report said average temperatures in the contiguous United States will rise 5 degrees to 9 degrees Fahrenheit (3-5 degrees Celsius) during this century.
Some highly sensitive ecosystems, such as Rocky Mountain meadows and coastal barrier islands, will likely disappear, the report said.
Forest regions in the Southeastern United States could see "major species shifts," or major changes in growth patterns.
The report also raises the possibility of drought conditions and changing snowfall patterns in the West, Pacific Northwest and Alaska.
Average sea level rises of 19 inches (48 centimeters) from global warming could threaten buildings, roads, power lines and other infrastructure in climate-sensitive areas, the report said.
"With higher sea level, coastal regions could be subject to increased wind and flood damage, even if tropical storms do not change in intensity," it said.
Though not referenced in the report, the impacts spell significant dangers for coastal cities like New York City and New Orleans, Clapp said.
With sea level rises referenced in the report, Manhattan would be underwater up to Wall Street and New Orleans would have to undertake a major dike-building effort to hold back the waters, Clapp said.
"The United States needs to take aggressive action now to develop a program to reduce emissions," he said.
The administration repeated in the report that voluntary measures to control emissions taken by polluting U.S. companies are the best way to slow the growth of emissions that are believed to cause the earth's atmosphere and oceans to warm.
A voluntary approach is "expected to achieve emission reductions comparable to the average reductions prescribed by the Kyoto agreement, but without the threats to economic growth that rigid national emission limits would bring," the report said.
The White House reiterated its commitment to fighting global warming and touted its plan to reduce the amount of emissions per unit of U.S. gross domestic product by 18 percent over the next decade through a combination of voluntary, incentive-based and mandatory measures.
The administration also pointed out that the United States had led the world in investment in climate change science and since 1990 has spent over $18 billion on such research.
A global summit in Johannesburg is planned for August with 60,000 delegates and 100 heads of state to discuss sustainable development, with climate change issues slated for discussion.
The United States is expected to face heavy criticism at the meeting, especially from the European Union, for not doing more to fight global warming.
-- (email@example.com), June 03, 2002.
DUH, you two are sruck with one track minds. I never claimed he was responable for global warming, (although his record in Texas shows he allowed a lot of contributions by hislaws). I am showing that from stating "The White House had previously said there was not enough scientific evidence to blame industrial emissions for global warming.", and the media asskissers parroting the BS about "bad science", we now have him admitting that it does indded exist.
You two are so ready to attack every thing I post as blaming Bush, that you don't see the substance in the post.
Unless it's all Clinton's fault..all that heavy breathing he polluted the ozone with.
-- Cherri (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 03, 2002.
First, I see everything you post as blaming Bush *exactly* because everything you post slants towards hatred of Bush. The only 'one track' thing about it comes from your one track.
Second, there is *no* substance in this report. It's based on (as you say) BS - bad science, a computer simulation with erroreous data. It's worse, as one scientist describes it, than using random data. Scientists have agreed that humans have contributed to a warming trend; what they disagree on is the amount of warming. Most true scientists, without an agenda to push, believe that this warming is less than .002 of a degree. Further, they point out the benefits of this warming that far out weigh the disadvantages.
I hope that this is only an olive branch for the left; it's still junk science. We've heard that the environmentalists still aren't happy; that's a good sign in my book.
-- Maria (email@example.com), June 04, 2002.