Global Warming Chief forced out by US after Secret Meeting. Bush acts as Exxon Flunky

A report in yesterday’s Financial Times (Web link: reads in part as follows:

Surely Global Warming must count as one of the hotest topics for the next Congressional and Presidential elections. Why would the U.S. oust one of their own as the Climate Change Chief? Is George W. Bush really and truly just a paid toady for the oil industry, and for Exxon in particular?

As the United States suffers scorching heat followed by freezing cold, and droughts followed by floods, why do the American people put up with secret meetings which are used to promote the interests of Exxon and other big polluters while ignoring the sufferings the American people?

Have the American people become such wishywashy dupes of the establishment that such goings on are ignored, even when the interests and maybe even the lives of Americans are at stake?

What is especially distasteful is that the secret meeting and abrupt dismissal of US physicist Robert Watson was done on Friday, so that it would go unnoticed over the weekend and so that by Monday it would be old news, not fit to report.

It is all a very sad commentary about the way 21st Century American press and politics works.

Uh, welcome to the boards. A Moderator will be along shortly to escort you to the correct forum.

Welcome to the SDMB. ATMB is for concerns and technical questions about this message board. I’ll move this thread over to Great Debates.


Well, I think that Americans for the most part are not following this story very closely. [And the media hasn’t really been giving it much coverage.] Quiz: Who among you knows the details (or even the basics) of Bush’s policy plan on climate change that he announced in March?

[By the way, I am not sure if the timing on a Friday was intentional on the part of the U.S…They had already made the decision to not back Watson on the previous week and I am not sure who controlled the schedule for the vote.]

An interesting question is why Exxon-Mobil decided they wanted this Indian fellow, Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, rather than Watson, as Pachauri has also been very critical of U.S. policy in this area. However, my guess is that Exxon-Mobil sees it as a win-win situation. On the one hand, they may think that perhaps he will work out better for them. On the other, if he doesn’t, they think that they can discredit him and the whole IPCC more easily since his background is not in climate science (he’s an economist) and even moreso, since he is not an American. As you know, there is a reasonably-sized segment of the American population that is very distrustful of anything linked to the U.N. It was rather more difficult to discredit IPCC when it was headed by an American with impeccable scientific credentials…but it may be easier now. Anyway, that’s my current theory. We’ll have to see how it pans out.

By the way, Exxon-Mobil is really the evil one among the major oil companies when it comes to the global climate change issue. Most other major companies have acknowledged the reality of the problem but E-M continues to hold out and to throw lots of deceitful rhetoric into the public spectrum. Think about that if you are tempted to fill up your gas tank at an Exxon (Esso) or Mobil station! It may help you to do the right thing.

Al Gore commented on it in his column about the environment in today’s New York Times:

You know, someone can have an allied position with someone or with a group or organization without being ‘bought and paid for’.

Is Tom Daschle bought and paid for by labor unions?

Is Ralph Nader bought and paid for by environmentalists?

The fact is, Bush leans towards believing that global warming isn’t the imminent danger to the Earth that some people think it is. That position will gain him support in various industries and cost him support in others. That in no way makes him a stooge.

Well, in some sense, Sam, I think you are right. I don’t think that Bush was literally “bought off” here. But the extent to which the Administration is willing to do the bidding of Exxon-Mobil and others is quite amazing…You write a memo, and voila, you get a policy (sometimes even with much of the language lifted from your memo…Check out for another example. I don’t think you could find such close connection between Daschle and unions. [In fact, it seems to me that if a Democrat is about equally pro-labor and pro-business then he is considered by the right to be in the pro-labor camp.]

By the way, I don’t think you are completely correct on your characterization of Bush on global warming. Particularly after the NAS report, he has had to basically accept the science, at least publicly (while perhaps playing up the uncertainties a bit). But the approach he has adopted is basically to sound quite good with the rhetoric … but then put propose policy that has a complete disconnect from the rhetoric, obfuscated enough that this isn’t obvious.

I probably wouldn’t have known about this if it weren’t for the BBC. They’ve had a couple stories about Watson and his expected ouster. I checked the New York Times and the Washington Post websites yesterday and…nothing. Now I realize they are a lot of major stories competing for headlines nowadays, but at least this could’ve been mentioned in the NYTs science section.

I did notice that Al Gore piece today, however. (BTW Mr Salads, you can post portions of an article but posting the whole thing is frowned upon around here. Welcome to the SDMB, by the way.)

Moderator’s Note: Mr Salads, as Ace_Face has already pointed out, we ask that you not reproduce entire copyrighted articles on the SDMB. I have edited your post to remove most of the article, and inserted a link to the column on the New York Times website; they do require a free registration to read that particular item.

Ace Face,

I don’t know what happened with the reporting of the actual vote … But, to be fair to the N.Y. Times, they did in fact run two stories on the subject around the time that the Administration decided not to be re-nominate Dr. Watson:

I apologize for posting the whole article. It was on AOL, so I copied it from there. I’ll be sure not to infringe on copyrighted material in the future.

Thanks, I missed those. I read the online NYT pretty regularly, but not regularly enough, I guess. The Post doesn’t even have a regular science section, which is a crime for a major paper in this day and age (but that’s another story).

Without directly addressing the Bush Administration’s position on global warming and the defects in the proposed treaty, it’s an overstatement to suggest that the Prez’s actions stem from being an industry toady. The fact is that Bush and the G.O.P. (as well as a large percentage of Democrats) genuinely think the interests of Bizness, even when they apply only to the short term, trump long-term planning needs in this country. Thus we have Congress, in the face of a severe threat to our oil supplies, refusing to mandate a modest increase in vehicle fuel efficiency, since apparently that was too upsetting to automakers.

It’s nice to see Al Gore thinking environmentally. I don’t recall him making a big deal about global warming or any such issues during the past campaign, or more recently raising hell about drilling in the ANWR. It’s quite possible he sees environmental issues as a vehicle for challenging the Republicans in the fall elections. I hope that comes about.

Jack, Al Gore has a book on environmental issues. Believe you me, it’s more than a political agenda for him.

I guess the distinction between being “an industry toady” and holding the views you express in this sentence is sort of lost on me. Is your point that it is not only this particular industry or is it that you think that these stem from a genuine philosophy rather than a cold-minded calculation of where one’s campaign funds are coming from?

If this is the case, I am inclined to agree with you. As this and the thread just started on ANWR have gotten me thinking, I really have a more expansive view of being a toady. I.e., I don’t believe the Bush people are saying, “They gave me $100,000 so I better do this and that for them.” I think it really has a lot to do with philosophy. On the other hand, I think it all gets tied together in a very messy mix that is hard to separate. I mean, if people give you money because they like your philosophy and then as a result they end up being your acquaitances (or becoming even better acquaintances) and thus end up being pretty much exclusively the people you listen to on matters of policy…It’s all a very subtle sort of corruption of the process.

Well, I don’t remember exactly what he said about these issues in the last election, but I think that ones has to be pretty cynical to believe after “Earth in the Balance” that Gore doesn’t truly care fairly deeply about such issues.

Of course, this begs the harder question of why, given this caring, he seemed unwilling to expend more political capital on environmental issues during the Clinton years. I think this says some things about him and some things about the political process…In some ways it is perhaps a more damning indictment of the political finance process (and perhaps also the willingness to cave on principle to appeal to the middle-of-the-road in U.S. politics) than in the case of Bush et al. because with Bush et al. you can at least see more consistency between philosophy and action. I.e., they totally cave to business interests because they truly believe that is the right thing to do. It all gets very icky and depressing.

Still, I would much prefer having someone in the White House who often knows what the right thing to do is even if he sometimes (all too often!) is willing to compromise it away.

Al Gore also holds a huge interest in Occidental Petroleum. Which may partially explain why energy conservation and alternate fuels were not a major theme for him in the past election, or in recent months.

He may on some level “care deeply” about the environment. On a more critical level what he cares about is Al Gore and his potential ride to power. It’ll be up to us to hold his feet to the fire and demand more than occasional crumbs.

Anyone care to recall what the logical fallacy of Post hoc, ergo propter hoc is?

  • Rick

Rick, assuming you’re addressing the OP (rather than the side-jack re: Al Gore’s enviro-commitment), what would you consider as valid evidence of undue petrochemical industry influence over the Bush administration’s energy policies? If the Exxon memo was the sole connecting artifact, the OP would, indeed be a post hoc fallacy. But this is hardly the case, is it?

(Of course, you could be addressing the OP’s assertion that the Friday vote was intended to take advantage of the weekend dearth of reportage… In which case, I agree that this assertion is unfounded.)

Can you link to any of this “deceitful rhetoric”? You know, just in the interests of fairness. I’d like to see an Esso lie for myself since you seem to be calling for a boycott.

President Bartlet!!!

and to make this post not entirely useless…
(thanks Lib for the link, got it from you almost a year ago…)