Is Bush edging toward cuts in carbon?
Though late in his tenure, the president seems to be taking some green action.
Over the years of his presidency, George Bush's attitude toward climate change has evolved.
As a candidate, he pledged to control carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions – the main greenhouse gas linked to rising global temperatures. Once elected, he reversed that position as Vice President Dick Cheney took the lead on crafting the administration's energy policy.
Mr. Bush rejected the Kyoto Protocol, the international agreement to reduce greenhouse gases, on the grounds that it would harm the US economy and also because major polluters (especially China) were exempt from the treaty.
In recent years, he has more regularly and readily acknowledged the reality of climate change and the need to do something about it. More evidence in this direction came recently when White House science adviser John Marburger acknowledged that the planet may become "unlivable" without cuts in CO2. He told the BBC:
"I think there is widespread agreement on certain basics, and one of the most important is that we are producing far more CO2 from fossil fuels than we ought to be. And it's going to lead to trouble unless we can begin to reduce the amount of fossil fuels we are burning and using in our economies.... The CO2 accumulates in the atmosphere, and there's no end point, it just gets hotter and hotter, and so at some point it becomes unlivable."