How Green is the White House?
Business Week; November 3, 2003
Green enough to likely prevent Democrats and environmentalists from making much of a political issue of it in 2004, according to reporter John Carey's review of the Bush "real record." Business Week is obviously no front for Greenpeace, but neither has it been Forbes or Fortune when it comes to reporting on environmental issues. So this piece might strike some Bush defenders as a somewhat unexpected plus and Bush critics as a sop. The three-page piece gives Bush "high marks" for backing tougher diesel engine standards and reaches an arguable "bottom line" assessment that the Administration's "Clear Skies" initiative in the end "will result in cleaner air -- but not as clean as the greens would like."
On water, BW's "bottom line" on Bush: "A big chunk of the nation's wetlands, streams, and rivers could be threatened. But little has actually happened yet, and may not, depending on where the Administration goes from here." And on public lands: Biz Week relies on an unnamed "GOP Hill aide" to acknowledge that "the cumulative impact will be much less land protection." Carey writes, "Nothing much has happened yet, but over time, 'it could literally change the landscape,' he says." On climate change, Carey writes of "widespread agreement -- among enviros, academics, and industry -- that Bush has fumbled badly" in not proposing a serious program after canning the Kyoto Protocol. Here too, he writes, it's too early to reach a full assessment.
His cumulative "bottom line" -- "the Bush environmental record isn't 'bad' enough to skewer his re-election." Only a possible second term will determine what Bush's policies "actually mean" for air, water, and land ... and for Earth's climate. In a "Bush's Enviro Report Card," Business Week itself seemed to come off somewhat more critical of the Administration than did its reporter. The magazine opined that Bush at this point "gets a gentleman's 'C.' It's better than critics are willing to admit but worse than most previous Presidents, Republican and Democrat alike." The magazine's editorial gives Bush an "A" for the Clear Skies legislative proposal but a "low grade" on water quality and "poor grades" on public land use. On global warming, Business Week gives the Bush White House an "F" and says U.S. market policies could be put into play but that the Bush administration is showing no leadership. Final grades "won't come due until November 2004. President Bush still has time to improve."