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Bush Tackles Global Warming…

Okay, not really. Obviously.

Even if Mr. Bush wanted to “tackle” global warming (which is an arguable point, to say the least) he isn’t going to do it alone or quickly.

Nonetheless, with some prodding from that pesky Supreme Court, whose ruling last month confirmed that the EPA not only has the authority to regulate carbon emissions, but under the Clean Air Act, the responsibility to do so, the president took the first steps today toward compliance.

It is hard to believe that Bush is enthusiastic about the idea, but he signed an executive order directing the departments of Transportation, Agriculture and Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency to draft regulations that will “cut gasoline consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles.” Bush also stated that the problem is complex and will take time to resolve.

The agencies have until the end of 2008, effectively putting off any real action by the president until the next guy’s watch.

Meanwhile, a lawsuit against the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration brought by California and backed by 11 other states is before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The suit alleges that the Bush administration’s call last year for a slightly more than 1 mile per gallon increase in fuel efficiency – from 22.2 mpg to 23.5 by 2010 – is, as California attorney general Jerry Brown calls it, unconscionable.

The suit further contends that the National Environmental Policy Act, among other regulations on the books, require the Bush administration to consider the effects of greenhouse gas emissions when determining fuel efficiency standards.

It seems to me that the more efficient our vehicle fleet is, the better off we’ll all be; a reasonable and a very good start to solving our energy and climate problems.

Apparently Bush isn’t convinced. At best it seems as if we’re getting mixed messages from the administration, as if they’re being forced to lead – at least a little bit – but they really don’t want to.

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