Bush pulls out of Kyoto

Bush.Photo: White House/Chris GreenbergDuring the 2000 presidential campaign, George W. Bush neutralized Al Gore’s pledge to restrict planet-warming carbon dioxide emissions by promising to do the same himself. It may go down as one of history’s more fateful lies. After “winning” the election, Bush promptly reneged on his promise. In March 2001, Bush went one better and, without even telling his EPA administrator, Christine Todd Whitman, declared that the U.S. would not ratify the Kyoto Protocol. There followed eight long years of mulish, intractable stalling from the U.S. on climate change. The world community’s pleas for leadership were spurned and precious time was frittered away. Now the level of effort needed to reduce emissions in time to avert catastrophe is steeper, the political problem thornier. Damn you, butterfly ballots!