yodaThe White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair showed off his legendary verbal skills at a G8 press briefing yesterday (PDF). Here are the two best bits.

Yoda Connaughton was enumerating the President’s “domestic agenda on climate” when he said:

The President has set out his support at the state level for renewable power mandates, and we now have the United States of America, 80% [sic] of our power under state renewable power requirements.

Packed in a lot of doubletalk in one sentence, he has. The president opposes a federal renewable power mandate (even though he signed one into law in Texas). Second, 80 percent is just plain wrong. The 20 states with renewable mandates (plus D.C.) account for 42 percent of electricity sales. Can anyone can explain what he meant?

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The second example is even more garbled:

Connaughton replied to a question about why he opposed European proposals for a 50 percent cut in emissions by 2050, saying:

The fixation with one proposal and one target has fascinated me. And the fact that it has been a sustained discussion for four months I find particularly fascinating, especially given the fact that we have hundreds of targets and timetables in the climate discussion. Hundreds of them. And so you’re — in America we have the expression, losing the forest for one tree.

At least he shares his boss’s gift for mangling aphorisms. But what are these hundreds of targets? Does anybody know?

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In his famous essay, “Politics and the English Language,” George Orwell wrote:

The English language … becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts.

Just so.

I used the Yoda metaphor because the tiny Jedi master talks strangely. But maybe Connaughton is more like another Jedi master:


This post was created for ClimateProgress.org, a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund.