This ($ub req’d) just in from Captain Environmental Compassion, Bush adviser James Connaughton: Bush is serious about climate change. Seriously!

Surprised? Read on, for excerpts from this newsflash …

Their text in blocks below. My helpful translation follows.

Despite its lack of support for a price on carbon, the Bush Administration isn’t opposed to mandatory emissions cuts, said the Chairman of the Bush Administration’s House Council on Environmental Quality, James Connaughton.

Smells like an about face?

The administration sees a need to help foster innovation and investment needed to get the job done — which is often ignored in some circles, he added at the US Department of Commerce’s “Powering Our Low Carbon Future” conference in Washington, DC yesterday.

Hmm … smells like there might be some corporate pork a-comin’.

This next year will be the most consequential ever for getting a climate change control system done internationally since this is when countries will roll up their sleeves and figure out how to actually do it.

Connaughton and his boss will work with other countries to bring down tariffs to help clean energy technology move around the world more freely.

Translation: I’ll clean up my act if you clean up yours, but don’t expect me to lead.

The Administration is also pushing a clean tech fund to which the US will contribute $2 billion over the next three-years and will seek contributions from other large economies to help foster development.

Knew I smelled it coming!

What Connaughton called the Bush Administration’s pushes for mandatory action included the new Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards, appliance efficiency standards and incandescent light bulb phase outs — all passed by the Democratic Congress last year.

Yeah, those were good times. Back when the Democratic Congress insisted on lowering CAFE standards and stopping efficiency and they were finally saved in that 11th hour wrangling session when the president’s leadership expended his political capital, safe in the knowledge that with no upcoming election, he could focus on his lasting legacy as Mr. Mandatory Climate Action. Someday, I’ll show that video to my grandkids as they play in their glaciers and remind them that but for that bit of courage, our planet would have burned. Thank you, Mr. Bush. Oh, thank you!

And the chairman cited state renewable portfolio standards as evidence the Bush Administration wasn’t opposed to mandates.

Translation: “You want crazy quotes? I’ll show you crazy quotes.” Presumably, the White House also gets credit for the mandatory caps in Europe, where they have comparable jurisdiction to the state RPS regs.

“Everyone talks about pricing carbon. We’re talking about several hundred billion dollars in compliance costs,” said Connaughton.

“You should shudder at that a little bit. But these are carefully tailored programs to ensure that that money is buying real technology produced by Americans for use by Americans.”

It is certainly shudder-worthy …