Worst kept secret


Published: Thursday, January 11, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 10, 2007 at 10:18 p.m.

For substance abusers, the first step to recovery is to admit that they have a problem. So we suppose it's encouraging to note that the Bush administration has finally, officially, admitted that we have a problem with the worst case of substance abuse the world has ever known: The poisoning of the Earth's atmosphere by massive overdoses of fossil fuel-induced greenhouse gasses.

Oh, President Bush has himself grudgingly admitted on occasion that there might possibly be something to this global warming thing. But his administration has adamantly opposed corrective action. And as if determined to remain willfully oblivious, Team Bush has assiduously kept references to global warming out of federal government reports, studies and presentations.

Until now, that is. Recently fleeting references to climate change popped up in Interior Department discussions about saving polar bears (whose icy habitats are, literally, melting out from under them).

And this week, in announcing that 2006 was the nation's warmest year on record, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration finally, officially, acknowledged what has long been the worst-kept secret in the D.C. swamp. To wit: That there might actually be something to this global warming thing.

"A contributing factor to the unusually warm temperatures throughout 2006 also is the long-term warming trend, which has been linked to increases in greenhouse gases," said a NOAA press release. It added that El Nio may also be a contributing factor.

There, they said it. The climate cat's out of the bag. Now that wasn't so bad, was it, W.?

Of course, admitting that there's a problem is only the first step in recovering from substance abuse. The next, and more important step, is to do something about it. America still needs a recovery plan to cure its addiction to atmosphere-polluting fossil fuels.

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