President Bush Evidently Way Cooler, Greener When Not President


Photo via KHL

If you met a guy who lived in house that has 25,000 gallons of rainwater storage, ran on geothermal power, and who made use of his high public profile to endorse wind power, you'd probably think he was pretty green. Of course, knowing that the guy also happens to be 43rd US President George W. Bush, your impression may get a tad more complicated. Earlier this week, Bush gave a speech in Dallas at the American Wind Energy Association, where he highlighted his commitment to wind power as governor of Texas, and his statement in the 2007 State of the Union that America is addicted to oil. While it's true that Bush's signing of Texas wind power standard helped the state become the nation's leader in wind, any policy that would actually wean the nation off oil was nowhere to be found during his tenure as president.

Bush's speech was evidently extremely well received, and contained other evidence of green leanings. The New York Times reports:

"The overall trend in my judgment is that new technologies will find new ways to power our lives. I fully believe that hybrid plug-ins will be a transition to electric cars," he said, and that new ways to generate electricity will be needed. The audience welcomed Mr. Bush enthusiastically, giving him standing ovations at the beginning and end of his speech.

Ms. Bode asked him about green improvements to his house in Crawford, Tex., which collects rainwater and uses geothermal energy. "We've tried to live our life that way, you know, without thumping our chest," he said. "We just did it. Not for political purposes, just because we want to live our life," Mr. Bush said.

Also, Bush's presidential library is going to be LEED certified.

All of which raises what is perhaps the inevitable question: WTF? It certainly induces some pondering -- if these principles were important to the president, why did he spend so little time publicly advocating them? Even if he didn't want to "thump his chest" about it, surely there was some way to communicate the ideals to his supporters?

It's just strange. It the report is accurate, and Bush is entirely comfortable and enthusiastic about what's probably the greenest house of any US president, and he genuinely supports wind power (his policy as governor is evidence that he does) and electric cars, what caused the vast discrepancy between personal belief and his policy ideas? Could it be the sway of his advisers and a particularly oil-friendly vice president? Could it be that he never put two and two together to realize how deterrent his climate change-denying policies were to growing the clean energy sector?

Strange indeed.

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