WSJ interviews the President: "We're taking the lead when it comes to the global warming issue"

Last Friday, the Wall Street Journal published an interview with President Bush that focused on energy policy. You can just about guess what he says without even reading the article. These two reports from Reuters and AFX (via Forbes), however, each take a bit of a different approach with the interview, so we're off to the source.

Bush is generally optimistic about the country's current status and its ability to deal with the energy problem and describes his administration's approach as multifaceted. He says that ultimately, our cars will be fueled by hydrogen that is formed with nuclear energy, but in the meantime, we need to focus on ethanol, cellulosic ethanol, plug-in hybrids and the encouragement of energy conservation. He doesn't specifically mention biodiesel at any point, but the interviewer does and the President incorporates it into his answers.

Bush says that government spending will target the bottlenecks in the alternative fuel production process, and gives examples focused on ethanol. He defines the first bottleneck as transportation, or getting the fuel from the plant to the pumps. The second is convenience for consumers, that is, more pumps in more areas. By tackling these issues, he says we will "affect" global warming.

In addressing climate change and emissions specifically, he says that the country doesn't need to implement or enforce emissions caps. He says, "So long as we're meeting the targets... then I think that we ought to pursue the current track we're on." He even goes as far as to say, "We're taking the lead when it comes to the global warming issue." The only sense in which I think this is actually true would be that the U.S. is leading the rest of the world in greenhouse gas emissions, but I don't think that's what he actually meant.

Instead of addressing the administration's rejection of the Kyoto Protocol at this point, the interviewer abruptly changes the subject to the status of the domestic automakers which we won't get into here.

The AFX article on the Forbes website offers only a very brief summary of the interview focusing on Bush's optimistic outlook on alternative fuels. The Reuters article, on the other hand, takes a much more critical approach and suggests that it means little to meet emissions targets when those targets are set too low. The reporter quotes Vicki Arroyo, director of policy analysis at the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, who believes that the U.S. should be setting an example for industrialized nations saying, "We're on target for the status quo."

Definitely take a look at the Reuters article if you get a chance. Here's the link for the WSJ interview, but it requires a subscription. As for Forbes, they're on the fringe of establishing a bad reputation around here.

[Source: Reuters]

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