In SOTU speech, Bush mentions eco-responsible energy, dodges climate

In his State of the Union speech last night — in between 27 utterances each of the words “freedom” and “terror” or their variants — President Bush squeezed in a brief nod to green issues. He said that the country needs “environmentally responsible” energy sources, just before touting nuclear power, praising ethanol, and urging Congress to pass his long-stalled energy bill, which would pave the way for a big new burst of oil and gas drilling. He also boasted of the bill’s support for “conservation, alternative sources, [and] a modernized electricity grid,” without explaining why those widely supported goals were packaged together with controversial measures certain to meet opposition in Congress. Perhaps most jarring to green ears was what was not mentioned: climate change, which of late has been the subject of numerous high-profile studies and conferences and is at the top of the agenda for the coming meeting of the G8 countries, presided over by British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who has practically begged Bush in recent weeks to take global warming seriously — apparently without effect.