Bush: The Wrong Guy on Climate Change

Far afield of mainstream thinking, Bush ignores the science at the environment's peril.

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Will someone please explain to the president how annoyingly irrelevant he's become? He still has the power to lead us into poorly executed military operations: Afghanistan, Iraq, and so on (perhaps even Iran). He may still wield a mean veto pen. But the time has long passed since he should be allowed to lead a U.S. delegation on an important scientific mission.

Unfortunately, W will be heading the U.S. delegation to the United Nations Conference on climate change in Bali next month.

This is a man so far afield of mainstream thinking on matters of science that his eyes twinkle as he clings with pride to outdated, primitive notions. As recently as last year, he argued publicly that climate change was not a product of man-made carbon emissions.

Over the weekend, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called climate change "the defining challenge of our age." Now there's international leadership. The secretary general made these comments as he released the final report of a United Nations scientific panel on climate change. The international consensus conveyed in this report demands that reductions in greenhouse gases begin immediately to avert global climate disaster, which, the Associated Press reports, "could leave island nations submerged and abandoned, reduce African crop yields by 50 percent, and cause a 5 percent decrease in global gross domestic product."

How many more international scientific panels on climate change can Bush ignore? Let me count the ways, er, the reports. The weekend's report was the fourth by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a worldwide collection of scientists of such stature that it recently shared the Nobel Peace Prize with former Vice President Al Gore.