With the president mentioning "global climate change" in his State of the Union, CNN’s Miles O’Brien was happy he finally mentioned it. But, of course, he’s not doing enough and "more drastic action is needed.". Because his proposals are voluntary and not mandatory, it is "essentially toothless." O’Brien featured Gene Karpinski of the liberal League of Conservation Voters to call for "mandatory caps on global warming," but featured no contrary view.
The CNN anchor then predicted a very grim future.
Miles O’Brien: "Bush’s remarks were a small concession to what an overwhelming majority of climate scientists believe is a huge problem. They say in the coming decades, climate change will melt glaciers, flooding coastal areas as see levels rise. It will likely increase the frequency of extreme weather events like catastrophic hurricanes and it could lead to entire species going extinct, such as polar bears which are already struggling as their arctic habitat melts."
Perhaps they should be more cautious in their predictions as Paul Ehrlich found out.
What is missing in this report and what the mainstream media will likely neglect as this legislation progresses is the sacrifices we may all have to make. Will we have restrictions on how much we drive, will backyard barbeques still be permitted? The entire transcript is below.
M. O'BRIEN: "Thank you, Soledad. State of the Union addresses are usually chock-a-block with proposals, plans and trial balloons as well. This speech no exception to the rule. Our goal here though is to cut through the rhetoric and that is what we've been doing all night long, as a matter of fact. I did some homework on the president's energy proposal, linked to climate change this year, that's unprecedented. Alina Cho has the facts on the president's health care plan and Sean Callebs with the fact check on the president's Iraq war strategy. First up, though, energy. The president once again calling on Americans to use less gasoline. Not the first time he's made such a call, but this time there was a key difference in the rhetoric." (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
M. O'BRIEN (voice-over): "The president uttered three words that he's never said before in a State of the Union address, global climate change."
BUSH: "America is on the verge of technological breakthroughs that will enable us to live our lives less dependent on oil. And these technologies will help us be better stewards of the environment and they will help us to confront the serious challenge of global climate change."
M. O'BRIEN: "The president is once again pushing for alternative fuels and better mileage for cars and trucks. The goal, to reduce U.S. gasoline consumption by 20 percent in the next decade. So, why bring up climate change now? It may be the president finds himself in a new political climate, with a growing number of legislators clamoring for a change in direction on global warming. But change was not in the offing Tuesday night. Most climate experts say any effective policy to combat global warming must also include mandatory limits or caps on how much carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, power plants, and other industries are permitted to pump into the air. And critics say the Bush policy, which continues to rely on voluntary measures, is essentially toothless."
GENE KARPINSKI, LEAGUE OF CONSERVATION VOTERS: "If we're serious about the problem of global warming which as we all know is the most important environmental challenge we face, we really need mandatory caps on global warming pollution."
M. O'BRIEN: "Bush's remarks were a small concession to what an overwhelming majority of climate scientists believe is a huge problem. They say in the coming decades, climate change will melt glaciers, flooding coastal areas as sea levels rise. It will likely increase the frequency of extreme weather events like catastrophic hurricanes and it could lead to entire species going extinct, such as polar bears which are already struggling as their arctic habitat melts. It is a grim picture which many scientists believe requires more drastic action than the president has proposed."
(END OF VIDEOTAPE)
M. O'BRIEN: "There's a lot of support in this Congress to pass some sort of legislation that would cap greenhouse gas emissions industry wide. A lot of big corporations are now in favor of such constraints. Despite all that momentum, this president, a former oil man, is not budging, insisting it would be bad for the economy. Soledad?"