The word and the deed

President Bush is now mouthing words about wanting to do something about global warming, having finally been forced to admit it is at least a possibility.

But many have noted that while Bush claims to be ready to take action, he is actually not proposing any action. He’s ready to spew words but not ready to back them up with anything meaningful.

This discrepancy between words and deeds is highlighted by the announcement that the government is scaling back on plans to launch new scientific satellites to replace old ones soon to lose their usefulness.

What was going to be an initiative to engage in serious study of global climate change is now, as a result of cost overruns and budget cuts, going to be limited to weather prediction.

The original plan was to put six satellites in orbit, but now they are only going to put up four, plus they have eliminated the equipment necessary to gather long-term data on ice caps and sheets, surface levels of seas and lakes, sizes of glaciers, surface radiation, water vapor, snow cover and atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with weather prediction, but at the very same moment Bush is giving speeches about how the U.S. is ready to take action on global climate change, we see in reality exactly what kind of action he is talking about — cutting programs, making it difficult to study what is actually going on, downplaying the scientific study necessary to help protect the world from potential disaster. What his action amounts to is doing less — that’s the change he has in mind.

Bush has been claiming for years, along with a small coterie of climate change skeptics, that there is no global warming going on. Now, he’s going to make sure he can still claim that, because he is cutting the program that will help determine the actual facts. He is happier with proclamations than with scientific fact — from his point of view, better not to collect the data in the first place.

Bush’s proposals to the G-8 meeting amount to calling another international conference to set goals for reducing emission of greenhouse gasses — goals with no teeth, no accountability, no plan for how to accomplish them, no reality at all, just something to sound good when he makes a speech.

So here’s the scoop: Bush says he wants peace, but invades and occupies. Bush says he wants democracy, then steals elections. Bush says he’s for diplomacy, but then refuses to take any diplomatic action.

And Bush says he is finally ready to admit that possibly there might just be some kinds of climate change we need to talk about, maybe, but first let’s cut the funds so we can avoid knowing exactly what the facts are.

Seems like a pattern to me.

Marc Brodine ( is chair of the Washington State Communist Party.