THE POLITICS OF RESENTMENT, GLOBAL WARMING EDITION. Last week, the White House touted President Bush's announcement of a new plan for 15 major countries to forge a climate change policy in 2008 as a bold step forward in tackling the problem. Substantively, it was easy enough to show that this was actually all bunk. But another way of getting at the notion that the White House might not be pursuing a good-faith substantive effort to address climate change here would be to read National Review's editorial praising the president's plan:
From the early days of the Kyoto Protocol, one of the not-so-hidden agendas of the Europeans was to use climate-change agreements to hobble the American economy, so much so that even the Clinton administration felt compelled to push back. Now, with President Bush politically weak and relentless fearmongering over climate "catastrophe," this week's G-8 meeting has been shaping up as another attempted mugging of Uncle Sam. Tony Blair is triumphant in his pronouncements that "there’s a change in mood in America," making possible "a new binding international agreement to come into effect when the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012 . . . one which is more radical than Kyoto and more comprehensive."
President Bush's announcement last week that he will convene a conference of the Big 15 greenhouse-gas emitters is a fair bid to turn the tables on the Europeans and slam the door on Son of Kyoto. As the New York Times put it: "For six years, Europeans have pleaded with President Bush to seize the initiative in the campaign against global warming. Now that he has, many [in Europe] are even more frustrated."
That is to say, Bush's bold new climate change plan is awesome because it will piss off Europeans. NR's editors go on to make a half-hearted effort endorsing on substantive grounds the administration's (red herring) focus on greenhouse intensity as a policy approach, but surely the scare quotes around "catastrophe" in the first paragraph sort of gives the game away: The editors don't think there's a problem to be tackled here, so the only metric with which to assess the president's plan is the degree to which it annoys the people National Review likes to see annoyed.