The following editorial appeared in Monday's Los Angeles Times:
After hearing European Union leaders fume recently at President Bush's decision to bow out of an international accord in which the United States committed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christie Whitman wrote her boss a memo observing that "we need to appear engaged" with the problem of global warming. That memo at least partly explains why Bush aides are now preparing a set of pro-environment speeches for the president to give just before he heads off to Canada to speak at the Summit of the Americas on Earth Day, April 22.
If Bush is to honor the commitment his father made in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro to support a United Nations-led international effort to reduce global warming and the carbon emissions that contribute to it, then he will have to go beyond green-friendly rhetoric and take environmentally responsible actions.
Bush's newly issued budget again puts his actions at odds with his words. The budget makes sharp reductions in national programs to improve energy efficiency and to understand and mitigate global climate change.
If the president truly believes that the science establishing global warming is "incomplete," as he said in rejecting the international accord, then why cut $500 million over 10 years in programs such as the Global Change Research Program, which would help scientists better fathom climate change? And if he wants "developing nations to do their fair share" to control global warming, as he said on the campaign trail, then why does his budget cut another half-billion over 10 years in programs such as the Global Environment Facility, which provides financial and technical assistance to help developing nations reduce global warming?
On Friday, the Senate dealt a major blow to Bush's misguided environmental budgeting by passing an amendment to restore all of the $4.5 billion that Bush would cut in programs aimed at understanding and mitigating global warming. The budget resolution was backed by 49 Democrats and four Republicans, but it isn't a done deal yet. Many House Republicans have said they will try to strike it down in the budget conference committee that will meet later this month.
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