The Onion June 20, 2007 | Issue 43*25 Addressing Climate Crisis, Bush Calls For Development Of National Air ConditionerMessage 1 of 1 , Jun 30, 2007View Source
Ahh, some comic reliefThe OnionJune 20, 2007 | Issue 43*25Addressing Climate Crisis, Bush Calls For Development Of National AirConditioner
WASHINGTON, DC-In a nationally televised address reminiscent of
President Kennedy's historic 1961 speech pledging to put a man on the
moon, President Bush responded to the global warming crisis Monday by
calling for the construction of a giant national air conditioner by
the year 2015.
"Climate change is real and it demands a real solution," Bush said.
"Therefore, I am committed to dedicating all of the technology, all of
the brainpower, and all of the resources we need in order to keep
America cool and comfortable well into the 21st century."
The National Air Conditioner Initiative is expected to be the largest
public works project in the nation's history. Because technology
capable of creating an air conditioner that can fulfill the cooling
needs of a continental land mass does not presently exist, the
president estimated that research and development alone will require
at least $100 trillion in both federal and private sector funds.
"The challenge of building an air conditioner for all Americans will
be the greatest we have ever faced," Bush said. "But we must face it.
We must act now to ensure that our children and our children's
children can live in a world where they don't get sweaty and have to
change their shirts all the time."
'We have a responsibility to future generations.'
While Bush's speech left many questions unanswered, such as whether
the one-touch cooling settings would be under federal or state
jurisdiction, reaction from congressional Democrats and Republicans
has been largely favorable.
"I applaud the administration for finally taking this issue
seriously," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. "Such a giant apparatus
means that Americans from all walks of life, not just the wealthy and
privileged, will be able to get relief from the rise in the Earth's
surface temperature. And it will create a great many jobs. Just
removing and rinsing out the huge filter will require tens of
thousands of seasonal laborers."
Petrochemical industry leaders voiced early support of the plan, which
would stimulate additional exploration and production of oil and gas
to satisfy the machine's staggering energy needs.
Some fiscal conservatives, however, decry the cost of the project and
the gargantuan electric bills that would result, saying that a series
of mile-high oscillating fans stationed in the Pacific Northwest and
blowing in the direction of the jet stream would accomplish
essentially the same thing and save billions. Conservative commentator
Pat Buchanan expressed his concern that illegal aliens would benefit
unfairly from the air conditioner, since many of them work outside,
and questioned President Bush's ability to "seal the nation's borders
in order to keep the cool air in."
Environmental groups like the Sierra Club have taken a tough stance on
the president's plan, demanding it contain legally binding language
that ensures the air conditioner will be switched to a special
energy-conserving "sleep" setting when the country cools off at night.
The White House has shown interest in an "economy mode" option that
could be used in the event of a budgetary crisis, but it is still
unknown whether such a massive unit would qualify for an Energy Star
certification, let alone accommodate built-in money-saving features.
The strongest opposition to the plan has come from Canada. Because the
proposed National Air Conditioner would cover 90 percent of the state
of North Dakota and face south, the U.S.'s northern neighbor would be
directly in the path of superheated air expelled from the machine's
back vents. Though Prime Minister Stephen Harper said this would
create drought conditions and devastate their farmlands, most believe
Canada lacks the clout to halt Bush's air-conditioning agenda.
American air conditioner manufacturers, with whom President Bush
reportedly consulted extensively prior to announcing the initiative,
will soon be awarded tens of trillions of dollars to design and build
the components necessary for the giant unit. Industry leader Lennox is
expected to receive at least $30 trillion, including a massive
installation fee, while the Carrier Corporation, Trane, and Amana are
all jockeying for the next largest contracts.
"Global warming threatens us all, whether we're mowing our lawns,
rafting down a river in a national park, or driving to the end of the
driveway to get our mail," Bush said. "The task that lies ahead is
undeniably hard. But if we do not succeed, we will be profoundly
inconvenienced. And I promise you: America will not let that happen."
Speaking at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser Monday night,
Al Gore said that now that Bush has taken up the cause of global
warming, the former vice president and environmental activist will
redirect his energies toward developing a personal spacecraft capable
of transporting a family of four to a distant planet.
"One study estimated that more than half (59 percent) of 1598 species exhibited measurable changes in their phenologies and/or distributions over the past 20 to 140 years."
" ... high proportion of species responding to recent, relatively mild climate change (global average warming of 0.6 C)."
Parmesan, Camille. ' Ecological and Evolutionary Responses to Recent Climate Change.' Annual Review of Evolution, Ecology, and Systematics. 2006. 37: 637-69