Is it getting warmer in Washington?

Jan 23, 2006

I was going through some of last week’s dead tree editions of the NY Times and found this in the January 19 edition:

Six former heads of the Environmental Protection Agency, including five who served Republican presidents, said Wednesday that the Bush administration needed to act more aggressively to limit the emission of greenhouse gases linked to climate change.

Speaking on a panel that also included the current agency chief, Stephen L. Johnson, they generally agreed that the need to address global warming was growing urgent and that the continuing debate over what percentage of the problem was caused by human activities was a waste of time.

Department of Energy forecasts cited in the article suggest that US carbon emissions are expected to increase 37% by 2030.

Pssssst. That’s the wrong direction.

The future is now, according to this Republican-heavy group:

“To sit back and push this away and deal with it sometime down the road is dishonest and self-destructive,” said Russell E. Train, who led the agency under Nixon from 1973 to 1977.

William K. Reilly, EPA administrator under George H.W. Bush, called those skeptical about the science “outliers,” who should not be dominating the debate at ths point.

Lee M. Thomas, EPA head during the second Reagan term put it succinctly: “We’ve got to start on this action. We can’t wait.”

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Rodger A. Payne is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Louisville. He serves on the University’s Sustainability Council and was a co-founder of the Peace, Conflict, and Social Justice program. He is the author of dozens of journal articles and book chapters and coauthor, with Nayef Samhat, of Democratizing Global Politics: Discourse Norms, International Regimes, and Political Community (SUNY, 2004). He is currently working on two major projects, one exploring the role of narratives in international politics and the other examining the implications of America First foreign policy.