Rejecting The Protocol

Bush gave several reasons for choosing not to support the Protocol. First, that it would have been traumatically expensive for the nation's economy to follow the Protocol, because only one fifth of the world's population was to be held accountable for it. Second, he nations of China and India had not yet signed the Protocol. Third, Bush didn't feel there was enough scientific evidence for human-caused global warming. In the year 2005, Department of State documents that were revealed that showed a strong influence of the ExxonMobil Corporation on domestic environmental policy. Additionally, the Exxon-led anti-Kyoto Protocol group Global Climate Coalition (GCC) was noted for influencing President Bush's decision to reject the Kyoto Protocol.

The year after Bush retreated from the Kyoto Protocol, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA— an agency of the United States federal government) issued a Climate Action Report stating that recent decades' global warming was, in fact, most likely due to human impact. Despite this report, Bush continued to doubt the science behind global warming and claimed that the EPA's report was not to be trusted.

Next, in the year 2002, Bush attempted to weaken the Clean Air Act of 1963 (which was amended in 1967, 1970, 1977, and 1990) with his Clear Skies Act (eventually presented to, and rejected by, the Congress as the Clear Skies Act of 2003). The Clear Skies Act proposed to raise the caps on mercury, nitrogen oxide, and sulfur dioxide emissions by large amounts, to postpone pollution standard enforcement until the year 2015, and to permit companies to modernize using including non-compliant equipment.

Several people in high positions in the U.S. government have publicly denounced Bush's repeated denial of global warming and his consistent dismissal of the scientific evidence. For example, James Hansen, the Director of the Goddard Institute at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), in the year 2004, accused Bush and his administration of hiding the dangers of greenhouse gases from public awareness. Joseph Romm, formerly an official at the Department of Energy, accused Bush and his administration of consistently denying and delaying steps that could reduce carbon dioxide emissions and global warming.

Another federal employee, Rick Piltz, of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program co-wrote climate reports. He, along with other employees, claimed that climate reports were repeatedly edited by Bush administration officials to lessen the appearance of a global warming threat. Piltz gave the example of a review draft that was returned from the White House with handwritten edits by Phil Cooney, chief of staff of the Council on Environmental Quality and former lobbyist for the American Petroleum Institute. In the report cited by Piltz, a statement about global warming being enhanced by energy production was crossed out by Cooney. In another section, the review draft warned of rapid changes in the Earth; Cooney changed this line to read "may be undergoing change". Piltz claims these examples are only two of the many unscientific, but political, changes that Cooney made to the review draft.

Despite Bush's repeated denial of global warming and the need for political action, individuals in the United States recognized the value of the Kyoto Protocol and its suggestions and chose to follow the regulations, anyway. A 2005 article from BBC News of the United Kingdom, cited nine American states, 187 mayors (not necessarily only from those nine states), and several American-based international companies that signed up to heed Kyoto-based recommendations.

During his two terms in office, Bush eventually seemed to accept global warming as a fact and the necessity of public policy supporting alternative strategies. On August 8, 2005 Bush signed the Energy Policy Act of 2005, passed by Congress on July 29 of



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An oil pipeline in Alaska. The Bush administration sought to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.

An oil pipeline in Alaska. The Bush administration sought to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.

that year. The Energy Policy Act supports alternative energy production and research, with tax incentives and loan guarantees.

Despite his repeated attempts to weaken regulations for environmental protection, not all Bush's actions were detrimental to the environment. For example, in 2006 Bush declared that the 84 million acres comprising the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands a national monument. This marine habitat holds 7,000 species of marine animals, including fish and birds. Out of these 7,000 species, greater than 1,500 species are unique to Hawaii. The area of land mass protected totals 139,000 sq. mi. (223,699 sq. km.).

Additionally, although the decision to do so was not related to global warming, but rather to national security and the relief from our dependence on foreign oil, Bush pledged in his 2007 State of the Union Address to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels and to expand research into alternative energy sources.

In preceding years, the Bush administration tried several times to open oil drilling in the 19-million acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska, an area that ANWR supporters call the "last untouched wilderness" of the United States. There is a 2,000-acre plot where the proposed drilling would take place. Although the House of Representatives has repeatedly approved the bill, the Senate has repeatedly blocked its passage.

Under President Bush, the position of Secretary of Energy was held by Spencer Abraham (2001-05) and later by Samuel Bodman. Administrators for the EPA were Christine Todd Whitman (2001-03), Michael Leavitt (2003-05), and later, Stephen L. Johnson.

SEE ALSO: Alaska; Alternative Energy, Ethanol; Alternative Energy, Overview; Alternative Energy, Solar; Alternative Energy, Wind; Attribution of Global Warming; Bush (George H.W.) Administration; Carbon Dioxide; Clean Air Act, U.S.; Clinton Administration; Department of Energy, U.S.; Department of State, U.S.; Goddard Institute for Space Studies; Greenhouse Gases; Hawaii; Kyoto Mechanisms; Kyoto Protocol; National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); Oil, Consumption of; Oil, Production of.

BIBLIOGRAPHY. George C. Edwards III and Desmond King, eds., The Polarized Presidency of George W. Bush (Oxford University Press, USA, 2007); Joe McGovern, The Kyoto Protocol (Dorrance Publishing Co., Inc., 2006); MSNBC, "Bush Creates World's Biggest Ocean Preserve', msnbc. com, (cited September 2007); Alan Reed, Precious Air: The Kyoto Protocol and Profit in the Global Warming Game (Leathers Publishing, 2006).

Claudia Winograd University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


IN SEPTEMBER 2006, California's governor signed a landmark piece of legislation intended to reduce the state's vulnerability to global warming and climate changes. Arnold Schwarzenegger intended to take California back to 1990 levels of carbon production. California has long been considered a trailblazer for the nation. The first tuition-free public colleges and universities were in California, as were the first significant tax revolts. California has the world's fifth or sixth largest economy, with 36 million citizens.

The 1960s, which witnessed such social and economic changes in California, were also nearly the peak of California smog. Geographically, the state is divided into a cool and wet northern area and a hot and dry southern one. The southern part, especially around Los Angeles, became home to the nation's worst smog in the 1970s. There were times when athletes, playing on sunny California shores, could not see the San Bernardino Mountains because of the air pollution. With its intricate network of freeways, some of them boasting 16 lanes of traffic, the Golden State had a new, foggy horizon, and some people wondered if it was still the last refuge for Americans wanting a freer way of life.

Southern California's troubles with smog and air pollution improved considerably during the 1980s with greater use of unleaded gasoline and prohibitions against carbon emissions, but the state was simultaneously beginning another social change. Millions of immigrants, some legal and some illegal, were crossing the Mexican border with California. The state in 1962 had surpassed New York as the most populous of the 50 American states. Around 1999 California population reached 34 million, and it was considered the first true minority-majority state, meaning that people of Anglo-Saxon descent had become a social minority.

The fact that California had more people than any other state, as well as more cars, led to increased emissions from automobiles. Though the smog and air pollution had been contained, there were an increasing number of natural disasters that alarmed Califor-nians. The 1994 Northridge Earthquake was followed by mudslides; the summers of 1995 and 1997 brought serious forest fires; and autumn 2007 saw one of the most destructive firestorms of all, carried by the notorious Santa Ana Winds. After Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, Californians were acutely aware of the dangers posed to their coastal cities. A comparable typhoon or hurricane, both of which are rare on America's West Coast, would have wreaked extensive damage. In the summer of 2006, Governor Schwarzenegger pushed for a new law to require California and its people to reduce carbon emissions.

The timing was fortuitous. Former Vice President Al Gore's documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, debuted at the box office in the summer of 2006, making the painful facts about global warming more apparent than ever. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, citizens and legislators alike felt a pressing need to address the problems of global warming, and on September 26, 2006, Schwarzenegger signed Assembly Bill No. 32, which was designed to reduce carbon emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, set mandatory caps in 2012, and reduce emissions to 80 percent of 1990 levels by the year 2050. All these were to be implemented by the California Air Resources Board (CARB).

Critics emerged from the right and the left. Conservatives lamented the amount of power given to the state regulation board, and declared that global warming was a scientific hoax, put over on an unsuspecting population, while liberals (at least with respect to an environmental point of view) said that the levels of 1990 were anything but healthy: that it was insufficient to use as a benchmark. The bill went into law just the same, marking the boldest step implemented by a single state to that date.

SEE ALSO: California Institute of Technology; Carbon Emissions; Hurricanes and Typhoons.

BIBLIOGRApHY. Governor of California, "Governor Schwarzenegger Signs Landmark Legislation to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions," (cited November 2007); Peter Schrag, California: America's High Stakes Experiment (University of California Press, 2006).

Samuel Willard Crompton Independent Scholar

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