Tuesday, April 25, 2006

A Green Bush?

The mind boggles. George Dubya calling for alternative fuels? Sounding concerned for the environment? Don't bet on it. He's just talking, as usual. Usable hydrogen fuel cells are decades away, and will take money that Bush has been, thus far, unwilling to invest. The administration actually asked for LESS money in the 2007 budget for advanced biofuel development, $300 million less than last year.

Nah, he's not a Green Bush. He's the same old Bush we've always know. The one who is calling for a bunch of cosmetic changes designed to make it look like he cares about that fact that we're paying up the wazoo for gas.

He's going to temporarily stop deposits to the US Strategic Oil Reserve. Will this give us more gas at lower prices? "It's less than 30,000 barrels a day in a country that consumes 21 million. That's not even rearranging a single deck chair on the Titanic," said Peter Beutel, an oil expert.

He's calling for an investigation into possible cheating in the gasoline markets. Is that really where the money is being made? I don't think so. As Senator Schumer pointed out, "The president today just spoke about high gas prices. And to listen to the president, you'd think that it's the local gas station that's the problem. We all know it's the big oil companies who are causing these massive price increases that go way beyond what supply and demand would merit."

And how much are those oil companies making? Exxon made $36.1 BILLION in 2005. Billion. As in, a lot of moola. A lot of green stuff that's not improving life for anyone except oil company executives, I'd guess.

What about Bush says that we should stop giving some tax breaks to oil companies? Well, it sounds good. But I suspect that $2 billion in 10 years is a drop in the bucket. I suspect, though I haven't yet found info online to confirm it, that there are many other tax breaks these companies take advantage of, such that this will not cause Exxon et al any pain.

As Kevin Drum points out, if Bush really wanted to effect change in our country, he could follow the lead of California (or several other states) and pass legislation that would require lowered emissions and less use of oil. Doing so would put pressure on auto companies to produce cars the like of the Prius, with which Toyota is leaving Detroit automakers in the dust, green-wise. He could be encouraging use of mass transit, with taxes for city dwellers who drive during rush hour (as happens in London, I think?).

But what will Bush do? Most likely, a lot of nothing that might look like something but will ultimately be, um, nothing. That's what he's good at. And why change strategies now?

Later,
Liz

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