For the first time, the Bush administration has acknowledged, in a report to the U.N., that climate change is most likely caused by human activity and will have far-reaching effects on the American environment. Although the report marks a significant shift in the administration’s rhetoric — Bushies had heretofore maintained the need for more research before drawing conclusions about climate change — it is unlikely to precipitate a corresponding change in policy. Rather than recommending reductions in greenhouse gases to control global warming, the report suggests adapting to the inevitable, including heat waves, the disruption of snow-fed water supplies, and the permanent loss of Rocky Mountain meadows and some coastal marshes. The conclusions aren’t pleasing anyone; industries that produce or depend on fossil fuels feel somewhat betrayed by President Bush, while environmentalists are excoriating the administration for acknowledging a problem while refusing to help solve it.
Get Grist in your inbox