Bush has given us a new drinking game: Down a shot whenever the President uses the word “technology” in a climate speech. You’d get 19 shots for yesterday’s 21 minute speech!
Our investments in research and technology are bringing the world closer to a remarkable breakthrough — an age of clean energy where we can power our growing economies and improve the lives of our people and be responsible stewards of the earth the Almighty trusted to our care.
Translation: “If we had those technologies today, then maybe we could take genuine action now. But, darn it, people, we don’t. We can’t grow the economy and be responsible stewards of the earth quite yet. We are close, though, so be patient already and stop with all those calls for mandatory regulation. Sheesh!”
Since this is the main message of the shrewd Luntz-led delayers, who realized years ago it could be politically dangerous to be seen as opposing all action on global warming, let me repeat Luntz’s advice from his 2002 and 2005 memos to conservatives [both must-reads for progressives]. In his 2002 “Straight Talk” memo on climate change messaging, he writes:
Technology and innovation are the key in arguments on both sides. Global warming alarmists use American superiority in technology and innovation quite effectively in responding to accusations that international agreements such as the Kyoto accord could cost the United States billions. Rather than condemning corporate America the way most environmentalists have done in the past, they attack us for lacking faith in our collective ability to meet any economic challenges presented by environmental changes we make. This should be our argument. We need to emphasize how voluntary innovation and experimentation are preferable to bureaucratic or international intervention and regulation.
This is what I call the technology trap, where clean energy technology is used to delay action, rather than to foster action, on climate change.
Luntz reiterated this point in an early 2005 strategy document “An Energy Policy for the 21st Century“: “Innovation and 21st-century technology should be at the core of your energy policy.” Luntz repeated the word “technology” thirty times in that document.
In an April 2005 speech describing his proposed energy policy, Bush repeated the word “technology” more than forty times. This time Business Week recognized that Bush was following Luntz’s script and noted “what’s most striking about Bush’s Apr. 27 speech is how closely it follows the script written by Luntz earlier this year.” The article also pointed out “the President’s failure to propose any meaningful solutions.” Indeed the article’s headline was unusally blunt for the much-maligned MSM:
Bush Is Blowing Smoke on Energy
Hitting all the points in a noted GOP pollster’s playbook, the President’s plan is driven by politics not policy. Worse, it won’t cut oil dependency.
Can we get some similarly cogent press coverage of Bush’s climate speech today?
Get Grist in your inbox