In a political tactic that seems more appropriate in an elementary school than in the hallowed halls of government, Bush Administration officials allegedly ignored an important email about global warming because they didn't like the looks of the subject line, the New York Times reports today.
Picture a kid with his hands over his ears yelling "Nah Nah Nah Nah! I can't hear you!"
The e-mail in question was the Environmental Protection Agency's response to a Supreme Court decision that deemed carbon dioxide a pollutant because of its role causing global warming. As such, it can be regulated by the EPA today under the authority it has under the Clean Air Act.
The EPA concluded that the landmark 2007 Supreme Court decision compelled the EPA to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from the likes of power plants, factories and automobiles. But when it tried to tell the White House, it was ignored, according to EPA officials who spoke to the Times.
The final Bush-approved response is expected this week, much "watered down," the Times assures us.
Not surprisingly, the office the White House that ignored the e-mail was the Office of Management and Budget, which has been repeatedly accused of wielding a veto over science, the law and reality when it comes to environmental issues.
The news breaks on the heels of the Bush Administration's most direct acknowledgment that global warming will not create particularly pleasant conditions, even in the moderate climate of North America.
Droughts, heavy rain, heat waves, wildfires and intense hurricanes are more likely to affect North America because of global warming's effect on extreme weather, the Bush Administration's Climate Change Science Program said last week.
So, then. President Bush, who was voted into office in 2000 promising to regulate greenhouse gas emissions before ignoring the issue of global warming for almost seven years, has finally and frankly acknowledged that global warming is real and damaging, while at the same time undermining the federal government's ability to do something about it.
That much is old news. That the tactics it employs are so juvenile is a new, surprising, disheartening revelation.
But it doesn't have to be. If you don't like it, just ignore it.
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