Federal Report on Global Warming Produces Beltway Drama

When The New York Times reported yesterday on a new Bush administration report to Congress which acknowledged the human causes of global warming, characterizing it as an abrupt shift in policy, some Beltway wags speculated that the newspaper was trying to box the administration in and embarrass it. Today brought evidence in support of such speculation. The Times ran an editorial calling the report “tardy acceptance of what mainstream scientists have been saying for years.” Meanwhile, in an interview with the paper, when asked why the administration had changed its position, Bush said, “Ah, we did? I don’t think so.” When the paper’s story on the report was brought to his attention, he said, “Oh, okay, well, that’s got to be true.” Elsewhere, in more informed quarters of the administration, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said policy on climate change would continue to be “guided by … science”; White House spokesperson Trent Duffy said, despite the report, “we need to fill in the knowledge and the scientific gaps” on the issue; and Bush’s top scientific adviser, John Marburger, said the report has “no implications for policy.” Glad we cleared that up!