Saturday, October 13, 2007

Gore's Nobel Prize Throws Harsh Light On Bush Climate Change Policies

And just when everything was going so well for President Bush, with that mighty veto pen of his working overtime to snatch free health away from poor children.

Now Bush has to deal with the man he stole 2000 presidency from being hailed as a Nobel laurette, a Nobel Peace Prize winner no less, for his climate change and global warming related awareness camapigning.

From the London Times :
The decision has inevitably been interpreted as a rebuke to President Bush, who beat Mr Gore by the narrowest of margins (so they say - Ed) to win the White House in 2000 and has since opposed binding international agreements for reducing carbon emissions.

Within minutes of the announcement in Oslo, 5.15am in Washington, John Edwards was saying that Mr Gore’s leadership “stands in stunning contrast to the failure of the current Administration”. He added that the award “shines a bright light on the most inconvenient truth of all — the selection of George Bush as President.”

As dawn broke, Barack Obama was praising Mr Gore’s courage to “challenge the sceptics in Washington”, while the home page of Hillary Clinton’s website featured a photo of Mr Gore in Socratic pose alongside a headline saying: “CONGRATULTIONS!”

At the White House, Mr Bush’s spokesman insisted, possibly through gritted teeth, that the President shared Mr Gore’s joy — but had no plans to speak to him. “Of course he’s happy for Vice-President Gore,” he said. “He’s happy for the international panel on climate change scientists who also shared the peace prize.”

Those US conservatives still refuse to accept scientific evidence that global warming is man-made — or even a problem, were yesterday predictably furious, with what they regard as another political statement by the Norwegian committee.

American conservatives doubts about the reality of climate change, based on close examination of the scientifice evidence, would be so much easier to accept if they had not been so opposed to examining the evidence that Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction before they pushed for the War On Iraq to get going.

This report from a Reuters correspondent also goes with the angle that Gore's Nobel Peace Prize has cast a dark shadow of humiliation across President Bush, and his presidency :

The Nobel Peace Prize he won yesterday was a blow to US President George W. Bush and his widely criticised environmental policy and will long be savored by the man who lost the bitter 2000 presidential election by a whisker.

The honor was bestowed jointly on the former vice-president and the UN climate panel for campaigning against the threat of global warming, in a not-so-subtle swipe at Bush, a latecomer to the battle against climate change.

It may also be interpreted as a part of an international backlash not only against seven years of what many see as environmental backsliding under Bush but also against his Iraq war policy and perceived arrogance in world affairs.

While Gore has grown in international stature since his narrow election loss (in 2000), Bush has seen his credibility damaged at home and abroad by the Iraq war and other foreign policy woes.

He is struggling to stave off lame-duck status and stay relevant while increasingly hemmed in by a hostile Democratic majority in Congress.

His inner circle is steadily eroding with almost weekly departures of key aides and advisers.

And the President's public approval rating, which soared to 90 per cent after the September 11 attacks in 2001, has sunk close to historic lows, with some polls putting it below 30 per cent.

Around the world, Bush has won few friends with his stance on Gore's signature issue - climate change.

At a White House-convened summit last month, some of the world's biggest greenhouse polluters called Bush “isolated” and questioned his leadership on the problem of global warming.

Bush has rejected the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, a treaty that sets limits on industrial nations' greenhouse gas emissions, and instead favors voluntary targets to curb emissions.

His acknowledgment of a problem highlighted a shift from his previous questioning of the science linking human activity to rising global temperatures.

But despite his concessions on global warming, Bush has continued to face deep scepticism over his efforts to rally support for emissions goals instead of fixed limits.

They don't understand. Bush doesn't care about such things. He's got God on his side, and God in his ear, guiding him towards his ultimate destination - even if that be, destroyer of worlds.