There are increasing hints in Washington that Bush is finally going to change his stance on CO2 emissions and possibly push for some kind of regulatory response to global warming. Nope – NOT because of the midterm elections – although I’m sure they may provide him some political cover for his “change of heart.” He’s changing his stance because Big Oil is changing theirs.
What? Big Oil is now FOR regulating CO2 emissions at the federal level? Well, yes and no. Of course they’d rather have no regulation at all, but if they must…. And why must they? Here’s where change is happening from the bottom up.
Turns out that the voting public is by and large (70%) convinced that global warming is a serious problem and are worried about the U.S.’s lack of action on that front. Because of this lack of action from the politicos in Washington, politicians at the state and even local level have responded to increasing pressures from the voting public and instituted measures to regulate CO2 emissions in their jurisdiction. When Republican Governor Schwartzenegger of California signed a major piece of CO2 emission legislation, Big Oil could see the handwriting on the wall.
In effect, the voters did an end run around the oil companies’ highly successful Washington lobbying efforts. Bravo for us!
These state-sponsored efforts create huge headaches for the big oil companies in two ways:
1. They would have to wage their head-in-the-sand battle against global warming measures on 50 fronts instead of one – expensive and difficult. Better to have the regulations come from Washington, where they can concentrate their efforts and lobbying funds.
2. Washington politicians are by definition less connected to the will of the people, the goings-on there are less transparent, and therefore it’s easier to secretly buy influence and water down regulations at the national level than at the state and local level.
Big Oil is agreeing to regulation so that they can return the regulatory efforts to Washington where they can have more control over it. Simple as that. Sure they may have to make a concession or two, but they’re experts at crafting legislation that looks like it’s accomplishing a lot but actually requires very little.
So, although it looks like Bush is having a change of heart on global warming, don’t you believe it. His heart still belongs to Big Oil. And where Big Oil leads, George will follow.