Friday, March 13, 2015

Jeb Bush: can he admit that climate change affects Republicans too? … by gimleteye

We know how Gov. Rick Scott feels about climate change: his administration prohibited the words to creep into any state policy documents.

And what about former Gov. Jeb Bush -- the likely GOP nominee for president in 2016 -- and global warming?

We know about his brother, George W. because the historical record is clear: lobbyists he appointed to run senior staffing positions at the US EPA made climate change denial the order of the day. In the Bush administration, federal scientists were prohibited from freely discussing sea level rise with journalists.

Jeb says, "I am my own man", in trying to distance himself from sins of omission and commission in his brother's White House.

But when Jeb was governor, agency staff interactions with journalists were also monitored and censored. Under Gov. Bush, for instance, the State Department of Health refused to discuss the most severe threat to public health from toxics in the environment: cancer clusters.

One of the ways toxics get into the environment is through drinking water. Then Gov. Bush also supported major changes to the Safe Drinking Water Act, a federal law that could have protected the nation's groundwater supplies from contamination by fracking.

In 2000 under Jeb Bush, those federal protections disappeared because of litigation and an EPA rule change triggered by Florida. It happened in the way that most protections against toxics are weakened: dilution is the solution to pollution.

Florida's own Koch Brothers -- the Fanjuls of Coral Gables and Palm Beach -- were major supporters of Jeb Bush who reciprocated their campaign contributions by authorizing changes to the federal state water quality standards for the Everglades, precipitating a decade-long lawsuit that decisively, in the end, rebuked Bush's policies.

The kinds of corporate welfare embodied by ruined aquifers and outright manipulation of federal subsidies tend to be overlooked by radical conservatives.

Of course, people can change.

The climate is already freakish. While media attention has been focused on severe winter weather in the northeast, severe drought in the American west continues. Warm spring conditions prevailing in western mountain ranges are frightening. This is the winter that never was.

Not to mention, Sao Paolo, Brazil -- where severe drought could claim its first megacity. Or, southern Sudan or Syria, where drought conditions already helped to trigger civil war.

GOP attitudes toward global warming are shifting because its own voters have started to reject the party's anti-science bias. For example, the religious right appears to have woken up to the climate chaos we caused, threatening God's creation.

Jeb's problem with global warming is that he is a conservative who long ago decided, as a foundation of his career in politics, that government's appropriate role is a limited one. The dilemma: how to match limited government to unlimited liability? Who do you trust to solve the climate crisis? Big Business? The Koch Brothers? The Fanjuls?

You don't. You can't. All the puffery about industry self-interest providing for people better than regulations is dissolved by global warming. That's why Gov. Rick Scott prohibits agency staff to use the term, 'climate change'. For GOP leadership, climate change is that piece of porcelain thrown against a window made of tempered glass.

That's also why Jeb Bush has a lot of explaining to do.


Anonymous said...

Climate change denial now.

Climate change denial tomorrow.

Climate change denial forever.

Anonymous said...

It is climate change caused by human activity that is still questionable. And weighing our nation's interest vs. global responsibilities that must be kept in mind.

Anonymous said...