Bush Ignores Supreme Court, continues legacy of carbon denial and confusion

Wed, 2007-04-04 11:11Kevin Grandia
Kevin Grandia's picture

Bush Ignores Supreme Court, continues legacy of carbon denial and confusion

With President George W. Bush brushing off the landmark global warming decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, we continue to record his administration's legacy of foot-dragging and global warming denial.

We have seen reports of political interference in global warming science spanning most of Bush's tenure as president.

We have seen political appointees and public relations handlers stifling U.S. Administration scientists from responding to the issue of global warming.

On the international stage, the modus operandi has been to obfuscate, delay and outright reject international action to reduce worldwide C02 emissions.

On the issue of U.S. domestic carbon emissions, the Bush greenwash comes in the form of “carbon intensity reductions” in which big industry (automakers, coal-fired electrical generation etc.) are allowed to tie emissions to economic growth, i.e., emissions can rise as long as the rate of increase is less than the rate of economic growth. This, in the Bush White House, is what passes for being environmentally friendly.

Back to the issue of fuel efficiency standards for vehicles (hich Bush seems to think are “sufficient”), there is the wonderfully complicated (and thus easy to ignore) world of Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE), ethanol fuels and the 1988 “Alternative Motor Fuels Act.” Under CAFE, automakers must meet an average fuel economy for the entire fleet of vehicles they produce. Right now, the minimum miles per gallon allowable average for cars is 27.5 miles/gallon and 21.6 mpg for light trucks.

One of the ways automakers can keep their fleet within these CAFE standards is to make “Flexible Fuel Vehicles” (FFV's), which are bascially car/truck/SUV engines that can run on alternative fuels, like ethanol and/or regular gasoline. Under the Alternative Motor Fuels Act, automakers receive a credit they can then use against their allowable CAFE standard.

The FFV engine is assumed under the CAFE rating standard to run on ethanol fuel 50% of the time. For example, the 2007 Chevy Tahoe truck with a regular engine would recieve a CAFE rating of 21 miles per gallon, but a Tahoe with a flex-engine capable of running ethanol receives a credit under the Alternative Fuel Act, increasing the Tahoe rating to 35 mpg.

The kicker? According to a recent Consumer Reports investigation, there is very little ethanol-based fuel available on a retail level in the United States - so the FFV Tahoe gets a higher fuel efficiency rating because it has the potential to run on ethanol, but may never run a single drop. And even if it does, there will be no assoicated reduction in greenhouse gas emissions at the tailpipe.

The result is that the automakers and the US Administration can heap praise on themselves for their fuel efficiency standards without ever actually lowering emissions or improving fuel efficiency.

And the punchline? By receiving credits for the production of FFV's, the automakers avoided an estimated $1.6 billion in fines for violationg CAFE standards in the first half of 2005 alone.

Previous Comments

You are too kind to President Bush. Mainly because you could never be to hard on his administration regarding the issue of greenhouse gases. The most exciting victory to me is the immediate impact this decision can have in Utah, Indiana, California, and Vermont. If it takes judicial activism to move forward on the obvious need for greenhouse gas emmision reduction, then here’s to it! Check out my post on this issue at http://www.longrunsolutions.com.
Can anyone imagine anything more ridiculous than the EPA in the United States ruling that carbon dioxide is a pollutant? Why, all good little Desmoggers would then have a moral obligation to kill themselves so they cease polluting the planet with their exhalations. That benefit aside, how can a naturally-occuring gas that is vital to plant life be seriously considered as a pollutant? Did somebody drop five of the nine US Supreme Court justices on their heads?

What phylum does General Motor's Hummer fall under???

This “occurs naturally” argument is rather silly, given that the argument only holds water if you are willing to claim that our mass consumption of fossil fuels, through the use of cars, coal-fired electric generation plants etc. is also a naturally occurring phenonmenon.

Sulfur oxides are also a naturally occuring gas , but the EPA severly regulates those. Yes, CO2 is a naturally occuring gas, but just like sulphur oxide it is the unnatural and accelerated emissions of C02 through our continued unnatural consumption of oil and coal that is the problem.
What life forms require sulfur oxides? In fact, they are harmful to vegetation and animals and are a component of acid rain. Even though they are spewed out by volcanoes, they are harmful so need to be classified as pollutants. CO2 is not in that category. How do you classify something essential to plant life as a pollutant? It is not logical. What will Desmoggers want as the next pollutant, water vapour? It is, afterall, the most abundant green house gas.

John, ever wonder what happens to those large yellow sulphur mountains in Alberta? Well, the sulphur is oxidized (sulphur oxides) and used as fertilizer around the world. The plants just love it ;-) However, too much of it in the wrong place and we get acid rain and kill everything off.

Do you see a similarity between sulphur oxides and carbon oxides yet John?

Also many species of bacteria use sulphur oxides to support their growth.

Learn a little bit about the science before spouting off and telling the scientists that they are wrong.

Ian Forrester

Actually forcing Detroit’s Big 3 to make “greener” vehicles may halt the decline in their market share.
And why haven’t they already started to make greener vehicles? Could it be that if they piss and moan enough about being regulated, they hope to get bigger tax breaks?

Through his long years of greenhouse denial, US President George W. Bush must have been particularly grateful to John Howard. The Australian prime minister was quick to join Bush in refusing to ratify the Kyoto protocol, and has batted for his country’s coal interests as trenchantly as Bush has batted for US coal and oil interests.Now Bush has had to deal with the impact on American public opinion of hurricane Katrina and Al Gore’s movie, and can no longer afford to ignore climate change.
Fraud Lawyer

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Many states are already on track to meet or beat the renewable energy targets laid out for them by the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, according to a new report from Earthjustice, which is calling on the agency to strengthen the plan in order to promote more ambitious renewable energy growth.

The Clean Power Plan sets out different emissions reduction...

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