President Bush says the U.S. has spent more on climate change research than any other nation. That's true. But this week's revelations that a White House aide with no science background toned down a report linking greenhouse gas emissions with global warming puts a cloud over the government's $1.8 billion-a-year effort, an effort designed to "clarify" the cause and consequences of the growing climate crisis.
It's time for Bush to concede, as almost everyone else has, that we have the science to suspect the connections between emissions and warming. And that is enough. Even developing countries like Brazil, China, and India, that were exempt from reductions in certain international agreements, and were used by Bush in his excuse to keep the U.S. from signing on to such agreements, have come on board. The three countries, along with representatives from the scientific community in 11 countries worldwide, signed a joint letter calling for action now.
States in the Northeast are taking measures into their own hands, in the absence of federal leadership. Even California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is getting into the act. Announcing his challenge to Silicon Valley to come up with solutions to reducing his state's greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent over the next 50 years, the Ah-nold said, "We know the science, we see the threat, and now it's time to act."
It's time to take that $1.8 billion annual investment and turn it over to innovative thinkers here and abroad who can help derive solutions to the problem, as well as new technologies that can drive our economy in this century. Americans are bold enough to take on a challenge like this; entire industries can be transformed or created with the right investment. If we set loose such investment to developing free market solutions to this global crisis, while hastening inevitable federal regulations, there's no telling what we can do. That means more jobs, a cleaner environment, and a hopeful future.
So what are we waiting for? "Let's terminate global warming!" as Ah-nold might say.