On a new blog called Terra Rossa — “Where Conservatives Consider a New Energy Future” — GOP consultant Whit Ayres argues that when President Bush at the G8 summit declared his willingness to “seriously consider” carbon emission reductions over the next forty years, he took a “major step” in the direction of his environmental critics. Says Ayres:

I don’t think anyone could argue that conservatives are not trying to compromise on the issue. While many conservative voters, politicians, and business leaders might prefer to take no action to limit carbon emissions, they have heard the call to action and are clearly working toward a cap they can live with.

Ayres claims the President has undergone a “sea-change” on global warming, but ignores these inconvenient facts:

  • No agreement to reduce carbon emissions came out of the G8 summit, despite much pressure from Germany and Europe.
  • The President talks of “long-term” [requires subscription] “aspirational” goals, but has committed to nothing but discussion.
  • Shortly after taking office, a White House insider admitted [requires subscription] to Andrew Revkin of The New York Times that the Bush administration intended to do as little as possible about global warming: “There’s a sense in which everybody’s saying the American public doesn’t have the attention span or background to pay attention to this issue,” the official said. “There’s still a hopeful perception around the White House that this has gone away.”
  • Not only did the President break a reassuring campaign promise regarding carbon emissions, but just this last year told a biographer that he was a “dissenter” on the “theory” of global warming.

So we have good reason to doubt the sincerity of the Bush administration, despite the bland assurances of progress from White House environmental chief Jim Connaughton. And in fact this past week the president himself, in his own words, has let us know exactly how high a priority he gives the issue. Four recent speeches — to a Southern Baptist convention, to a homebuilders convention, at a political fund-raiser, and at a nuclear power plant yesterday — were put through a word processor, and the results show what is on the president’s mind, and what is not:

IRAQ, WAR, 9/11, TOUGH DECISION, CRUEL DICTATOR (2706 WORDS)

IMMIGRATION, BORDER, CATCH AND RELEASE (2,365 WORDS)

NUCLEAR ENERGY, REPROCESSING, SPENT NUCLEAR FUEL (1752 WORDS)

TAX CUTS, MONEY, FEDERAL REVENUE (709 WORDS)

ENTREPRENEURS, ENTREPRENEURSHIP, SMALL BUSINESS (635 WORDS)

INTRODUCTORY REMARKS (608 WORDS)

TECHNOLOGIES, SWITCHGRASS, AUTOMOBILES (412 WORDS)

HIV/AIDS, AFRICA, POOREST NATIONS ON EARTH (301 WORDS)

NEW TECHNOLOGIES, “CLEAN COAL,” ELECTRICITY (300 WORDS)

PRAYER, MINISTRY, SOUTHERN BAPTISTS (297 WORDS)

DARFUR, SUDAN, U.N. (207 WORDS)

CULTURE OF LIFE, ABORTION, TEEN ABSTINENCE (194 WORDS)

OIL, GAS, EXPLORATION, ANWR (160 WORDS)

CLOSING REMARKS (134 WORDS)

FREEDOM, ALMIGHTY (117 WORDS)

UNIONS, TRADE ACTIVISTS, LEGISLATION (125 WORDS)

SUPREME COURT, DECISION, EPA (79 WORDS)

G-9, GDANSK, ANGELA MERKEL (40 WORDS)

HEALTH CARE, PROVIDER, PATIENT (48 WORDS)

REGULATION, RED TAPE (47 WORDS)

PROSPERITY (42 WORDS)

GREENHOUSE GASES (34 WORDS)

GOD, BLESS, COUNTRY (19 WORDS)

PEANUT FUDGE (7 WORDS)

MOUNTAIN BIKE (5 WORDS)

ENVIRONMENTALLY-FRIENDLY (3 WORDS)

ENVIRONMENT (2 WORDS)

CARBON DIOXIDE (2 WORDS)

EMISSION (1 WORD)

The President concluded the discussion of global warming yesterday by saying: “we’re moving forward because the Supreme Court told us to move forward.”

As if to say: If not for that ruling, we wouldn’t pretend to care!

With this White House posture the Democrats should “come to the table” and offer concessions?

Obviously not: Bush is a foot-dragger, and must be pressured to show any results. Despite calling for voluntary measures for others to reduce emissions, he has made as little effort as possible himself.

Ayres can’t be serious. If this is a trial balloon, it should be shot down immediately.