This must be April fool's day -- White House Shifts Its Focus on Climate
According to the 8-26-04 N.Y. Times, the administration has issued a report indicating that emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases were the only likely explanation for global warming. The article notes:
In a striking shift in the way the Bush administration has portrayed the science of climate change, a new report to Congress focuses on federal research indicating that emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases are the only likely explanation for global warming over the last three decades.
Previously, President Bush and other officials had emphasized uncertainties in understanding the causes and consequences of warming as a reason for rejecting binding restrictions on heat-trapping gases.
[The report] also says the accumulating emissions pose newly identified risks to farmers, citing studies showing that carbon dioxide promotes the growth of invasive weeds far more than it stimulates crops and that it reduces the nutritional value of some rangeland grasses.
American and international panels of experts concluded as early as 2001 that smokestack and tailpipe discharges of heat-trapping gases were the most likely cause of recent global warming. But the White House had disputed those conclusions.
[T] report was disputed by some groups, aligned with industry, that oppose restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions and have attacked science pointing to dangerous human-caused warming as flawed.
At the same time, the report did not please environmental groups, which have repeatedly criticized Mr. Bush for opposing efforts to require restrictions on the gases linked to global warming, though he has gradually come around to the position that warming is at least partly caused by emissions.
"The Bush administration on the one hand isn't doing anything about the problem, but on the other hand can't deny the growing science behind global warming," said Jeremy Symons of the National Wildlife Federation.
The latest analysis, done at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., found that natural shifts in the output of the sun and other factors were responsible for the warming from 1900 to 1950, but could not explain the sharp and continuing rise since 1970.