Science according to Bush

I’ve heard time and again about the White House censoring government reports to fit their view of the world, so I shouldn’t be surprised by this…

Dr. Julie Gerberding is the director of the CDC, and she was in front of Congress to give testimony about the potential impact of global warming on our health. According to the AP, her testimony focused on the CDC’s action plan… without giving any details on what the health risks might be. Apparently, it was not what her draft of the prepared testimony looked like (prior to White House review and revision).


Her testimony before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee had much less information on health risks than a much longer draft version Gerberding submitted to the White House Office of Management and Budget for review in advance of her appearance.

“It was eviscerated,” said a CDC official, familiar with both versions, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the review process.

Gerberding, who could not be reached late Tuesday for comment, was said to have been surprised by the extensive changes. Copies of the original testimony already had been sent to a number of associated health groups representing states, county and city health agencies that the CDC routinely coordinates with, a CDC official said.


Why does California trend liberal on environmental issues? Is it possible that they see their future, and it makes them thirsty?

Bush’s EPA Is Pursuing Fewer Polluters

Bush’s EPA Is Pursuing Fewer Polluters –

The Environmental Protection Agency’s pursuit of criminal cases against polluters has dropped off sharply during the Bush administration, with the number of prosecutions, new investigations and total convictions all down by more than a third, according to Justice Department and EPA data.

The number of civil lawsuits filed against defendants who refuse to settle environmental cases was down nearly 70 percent between fiscal years 2002 and 2006, compared with a four-year period in the late 1990s, according to those same statistics.

None of this is a surprise to me, it’s pure Bush as far as I’m concerned. I’m just glad it’s being reported on the heels of Condi Rice’s dubious claim last week at a a global climate change conference.

“I want to stress that the United States takes climate change very seriously, for we are both a major economy and a major emitter.’’

Yeah, we take it so seriously that we let polluters regulate themselves. That is, after all, the real reason new investigations and prosecutions are down at the EPA. We’re following the bold leadership of the Bush administration on environmental issues.

I read an article someplace this week where the author compared setting voluntary guidelines for emissions to making speed limits on the highways voluntary. I think that’s an apt comparison. Picture the highways if we had “speed guidelines” instead of “speed limits.” How fast would you go? Would you stick to the guidelines? Think about the other limits in your life, like your budget. Do you save as much money as you should, or like most of the rest of us, do you tend to spend about 105% of what you make? The truth is, as a society, we’re pretty lousy at self-control; even when we recognize that limiting our behavior is in our best interest.

Who’s got gas?

A Senate committee approved a plan Tuesday to increase fuel efficiency standards to an average of 35 miles per gallon by 2020 in a move closely watched by automakers and environmental groups.

Senate panel votes to boost fuel economy levels. By Ken Thomas, Associated Press

You know what I thought when I first saw this headline?

It’s about time.

You know what I thought after I read the article?

What a disappointment.

2020 is like what… thirteen years from now? With technological advances in batteries alone, I dare say an increase to an average of 50 miles to the gallon could be within reach. Personally, I’m hoping my NEXT car won’t burn any gas at all (most of the time anyway… I’m intrigued by the plug-in hybrid idea).

If hobbyists in California can make a plug-in Hybrid that essentially gives you an electric car – with the flexibility to run longer with the existing fuel distribution infrastructure (re: gas stations) – imagine what could be achieved with a little leadership from our elected officials.

This is where you’re going to ask me, “and where is all that electricity going to come from John? Don’t electricity plants pollute too?” The short answer is yes, but it’s not that simple (reality rarely is). Have you ever wondered why we have central power plants for our electricity? Hell, we could all run our own generators in our back yards. There are probably lots of reasons why we don’t (fuel distribution, start-up costs, etc), but I think I know one reason: it’s generally more efficient to produce a lot of something than a little. If this is true for “power” in general (not just electricity), then our current model for transportation may be the least efficient model possible. Sure, electric cars require energy… but compared to our current model (the equivalent of everyone running their own power-plant), it may be a quantum leap in efficiency. And you all know what efficiency means? If you answered: “achieving maximum output with minimum waste or expense” you win the prize! (Any guesses as to what emissions from a vehicle are? They’re waste products.)

Yes, I know it was just a few months ago when I wrote about fuel efficiency – and my entry talked about increases in fuel efficiency MUCH more modest than the one proposed in the Senate. In my defense… and I think you may agree if you re-read the entry (I double dog dare you!)… I was referring to the lost opportunity to increase fuel efficiency standards over the last twenty years (as much if not more so than future increases).

This proposal in the Senate is a day late, a whole heapin’ helpin’ of dollars short, and is incredibly short sighted.

It’s amazing to me that conservatives can cede any leadership on the issue of global warming, claiming “technology will save us when – and if – we need it to,” but they can’t put proof to their beliefs when it comes to fuel efficiency standards – which have ALL KINDS of implications beyond global warming (national security and economic considerations, just to name two).

Normally I can write to blow off a little steam… but I’m just getting angrier, so I suppose now is a good time to stop typing.