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Blues for Bush

Richard Black | 10:51 UK time, Monday, 5 January 2009

It's a question I was going to ask in a week or so as the man prepares to leave office.

But following the announcement of a major US move on protecting coral reefs and special areas of seafloor in the Pacific, it seems right to ask it now: what is the second President Bush's environmental legacy?

bushafpgetty203.jpgReaction to this week's announcement ranged from the Pew Environment Group's applause for Mr Bush's "historical action" to the Center for Biological Diversity's contention that in the end it meant nothing without cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

In recent weeks, the president's administration has been under fire for denying endangered species protection to the ribbon seal (an echo of its earlier stance on the polar bear), over plans that would apparently allow developers to build in forests and permit surface mining close to mountain streams - and for the "one-minute-to-midnight" nature of this rule making.

For some observers such as the Huffington Post's Lincoln Mitchell, the administration's record on greenhouse gas emissions means that President Bush will be remembered for "a studied, and malignant, neglect of major issues such as climate change".

But for some others, including the Guardian newspaper, the Pacific marine measures are enough to "recast his environmental record".

A few other issues that bear on the legacy question might, depending on your point of view, include:

So what do you think?

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