Wednesday, February 16, 2005

News To Me

In a (subscriber only) article in TNR on Valentine's Day, Gregg Easterbrook takes the media to task for ignoring the Bush Administration's efforts to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. Easterbrook writes that a search of "Nexis by New Republic super-intern T.A. Frank, no American newspaper put Bush's methane regulation initiative on the front page when the agreement was announced; most said nothing at all about it." (Lexis Nexis, for those of you who aren't familiar, is basically the online record of print media). Easterbrook argues that the media has been purposely ignoring any positive efforts by the Bush Administration because it would interrupt the narrative they have of the evil White House neglecting the environment in the face of the noble European calls for action. Easterbrook also notes, however, that Bush's energy policy is seriously lacking. This CNN.Com article today on the Kyoto Protocol taking effect seems to confirm Easterbrook's argument.

"The White House has contended that complying with the treaty's requirement could cost millions of jobs, many of them to places like India and China, both signers of Kyoto but exempted from any limits on greenhouse gases.

'We are still learning about the science of climate change,' White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Tuesday.

In the meantime, McClellan said, 'We have made an unprecedented commitment to reduce the growth of greenhouse gas emissions in a way that continues to grow our economy.'"

So Easterbrook seems to be pretty on the money. But I have a question: Why isn't the Bush Administration making a bigger deal about its methane gas reduction initiative, "Methane to Markets"? I don't really think they want the word to get out that they're actually on board with climate change, because they're afraid they're going to scare all the workers/company heads who are with them on opposing Kyoto. I mean one problem this White House has not had is getting it's message heard. So although I do think that the media should take some blame for not carrying this story, I question if this is not the way the Administration prefers it.

Any thoughts?


At 8:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Buddy, that's great. One good environmental policy. So? That does not make a good environmental record.

On a slightly different tack, even The Washington Post did not put the White House lying about the increase in terrorist acts on the front page(i do not have the link, but they did). Some stuff just isn't front page material. Yes, the kyoto Protocols are flawed. But at least they're flawed in the right direction.

By the way, good call about the Bush admin. not wanting people to know about it. That is insightful, I applaud you.

--Josh G-M

At 10:51 PM, Blogger Nick said...

Kyle, that strikes me as an excessively cynical explanation for the lack of publicity regarding this initiative. More plausible, to me at least, is what Easterbrook hints at in his article: "The European Union, on the other hand, is a leading emitter of methane, given the natural-gas energy economies of many Western European nations. Talk about methane reduction makes Europe uneasy." Given our recent efforts in public diplomacy with Western Europe, it seems logical that the Bush administration is trying not to step on too many toes.

At 7:15 PM, Blogger Jeremy said...

I realise this is a very old post and I don't know if you'll see this via an email warning. Anyway, I've had a google news alert on for "methane to markets" ever since I posted on the program a month and a half ago, and it's had maybe 20 mentions in the press. Interestingly, most of these have been Scott McLennan plugging the program - every time he is asked about climate change he seems to mention the program. I think the admin is trying to publicise the program, but I don't think the message is getting through.

Btw, there's only been one mention from an environmental group which was, happily, positive.


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