George Bush on global warming is one of those marriages of speaker and subject that can't help but generate its own peculiar brand of spectacular bullshit. The president's speech to the United States Global Leadership Council today was no exception. In fact, it generated enough hot air to create its own microclimate -- of obfuscation, double-speak and rank insincerity. For those of you who prefer your political messages in plain English, here is a translation of some of his choice remarks.
BUSH: In recent years, science has deepened our understanding of climate change and opened new possibilities for confronting it.
TRANSLATION: In recent years, my refusal to acknowledge the reality and seriousness of global warming has turned me into a laughing-stock and contributed to my record low poll numbers. So now I have to look like I'm interested.
BUSH: The United States takes this issue seriously.
TRANSLATION: Al Gore takes this issue seriously, his movie was a big hit, and it's causing me no end of grief.
BUSH: The new initiative I am outlining today will contribute to the important dialogue that will take place in Germany next week.
TRANSLATION: The new initiative I am outlining today will put the brakes on the much more robust proposal the Germans are putting forward at the G8. As long as the dialogue continues, we won't have to abide by any binding decisions.
BUSH: By the end of next year, America and other nations will set a long-term global goal for reducing greenhouse gases.
TRANSLATION: By the end of next year, I'll be weeks away from the end of my presidency and then this can be someone else's problem.
BUSH: To develop this goal, the United States will convene a series of meetings of nations that produce the most greenhouse gasses, including nations with rapidly growing economies like India and China.
TRANSLATION: We're going to look as busy as we can without actually doing anything.
BUSH: Each country would establish midterm management targets and programs that reflect their own mix of energy sources and future energy needs.
TRANSLATION: Nobody will actually be obliged to take any painful decisions.
BUSH: Over the past six years, my administration has spent, along with the Congress, more than $12 billion in research on clean energy technology.
TRANSLATION: But we've spent a lot more molly-coddling my buddies in the oil and gas industries. Not to mention Iraq...
BUSH: We're the world's leader when it comes to figuring out new ways to power our economy and be good stewards of the environment.
TRANSLATION: But we're also the world's leader in allowing our political decisions to be determined by the power of energy industry lobbyists.
BUSH: America makes a compact with developing nations. We give aid, and in return they agree to implement democratic reforms, to fight corruption, to invest in their people -- particularly in health and education -- and to promote economic freedom.
TRANSLATION: We reserve the right to tell them what to do, while continuing to act however we please.
BUSH: We're spending a lot of money on clean, safe nuclear power.
TRANSLATION: The nuclear power industry has Dick Cheney's ear, and mine too.
BUSH: We are a compassionate nation.
TRANSLATION: Until the bombing begins.