Columns » Hightower

Bush's silly summit

Bush's silly summit "It's important to set a tone and to lead," explained George W when he ran for president. "That's exactly what [I] do."

Well ... actually, George, you have not led. In fact, you've been inert almost comatose on maybe the biggest issue of our time: global warming.

The seriousness of climate change, however, has reached such profound proportions that even Bush can no longer stick his head in the slush and pretend it's not happening, nor can he deny that his beloved fossil fuels are the primary culprit. So, to make a show of at least being awake, George's handlers recently set him up as host of his very own, two-day, international summit on global warming.

Held in the cozy confines of the state department building in Washington, D.C., the 17 nations responsible for four-fifths of the world's climate-altering emissions were brought together for the purpose of ... well ... of what? To hear Bush speak, of course. George the Leader boldly declared that nations should set goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and that an international fund should be set up to develop new technologies for achieving those goals. Bravo!

But, then, he abruptly left, cutting his speech short and offering in the way of specifics much less tangible commitments to action. Indeed, "The Leader" continues to oppose any mandatory goals for cutting fossil fuel emissions, insisting on a "voluntary" approach which includes volunteering to do nothing. As for the tech fund, he set no amounts and offered no contribution ... or leadership. Apparently, the Tooth Fairy is to deliver the needed technology.

The delegates to Bush's Global Warming Fest were underwhelmed, mostly puzzled by why they'd wasted their time. As a British official noted: "We could have another 20 years of talking about talking. We need to start deciding about doing."

But that would require a leader. Jim Hightower is the best-selling author of Let's Stop Beating Around the Bush, on sale now from Viking Press. For more information, visit

Add a comment

Clicky Quantcast