November 7, 2012 – Vol.17 No. 34

OBAMA’S WIN: NEW LIFE FOR CLIMATE ACTION.
by Bruce Mulliken, Green Energy News

A door has been opened. Without the burden of another election ahead, President Obama has a real chance to take on the challenge of mitigating climate change. But, it won’t be easy. If he attempts some legislative action he still has the Republican-controlled House of Representatives to deal with, as well as a Senate that all too often, demands a 60-vote majority, which the Democrats don’t have.

To win over Congress his job will be threefold:

- Convince the American public the climate change is real and we are responsible;

- Convince the American public, as well as the business world, that mitigation need not be expensive, and will in fact create job and business opportunities;

- And, find ways for government to help mitigate climate without new taxpayer dollars or ominous regulation.

Does Obama's work sound ominous in itself? It doesn’t have to be. Leadership could do the trick.

As I have witnessed, the general public, as well as much of the business world, is largely unaware of the possibilities available to reduce emissions without harm to the economy. This needs to change. A massive public relations effort, initiated in the Oval Office with the power of the bully pulpit, would be a great place to start.

Climate advocacy groups are encouraged by the reelection of President Obama.

The following is a statement by Andrew Steer, President, World Resources Institute:

With his reelection, President Obama has the opportunity to fulfill the promise of his campaign and tackle the greatest challenges of our generation. At the top of the list should be climate change—which is already taking a serious toll on people, property, resources and the economy.

“After a long and bruising battle, it’s time for elected officials to get off the stump and get back to the job of governing. It’s time for America’s leaders to come together and find common ground on vital issues for people and the planet.

“In its first term, the Obama administration made real progress to reduce harmful emissions and shift the country toward cleaner energy. The administration implemented historic clean vehicle rules, proposed standards for greenhouse gas emissions for new power plants, and directed unprecedented investments in clean energy, among other achievements.

“But, these actions aren’t enough. The reality is that the Obama Administration has not yet put the country on a pathway to truly confront the climate crisis. First off, the United States needs a strong national climate and energy strategy. The president should begin by reengaging a dialogue on climate change and identifying the actions needed to address the crisis. The president should work with Congress on national-level policies, including putting a price on carbon, to get the country on a low-carbon trajectory. In addition, the EPA, in particular, has the ability to implement new standards to reduce dangerous greenhouse gases from existing power plants. The president should reject proposals that would over-exploit America’s resources, decimate its lands, or increase its dependence on high-carbon fuels.

“Many leading businesses are looking for greater clarity to stay competitive in the global economy and take advantage of the emerging $2.3 trillion clean energy market. They need to set long-term goals, which are currently being undercut by America’s piecemeal approach on climate and energy.

“In the international arena, the Administration should take a more constructive role around the climate negotiations. President Obama has shown the power of bold leadership on big international issues—and he has the opportunity to make an ambitious international climate agreement part of his legacy.

“Since he took office, President Obama has been a champion of transparency and good governance. In particular, he spurred the creation of the Open Government Partnership, consisting of over 40 countries, to promote transparency and citizen engagement around the world. In his second term, he can help ensure that access to information and citizen engagement in government will continue unabated.

“Just last week, Hurricane Sandy delivered a crippling blow, reminding us what climate change looks like. Climate change is here and its impacts are being felt today. In its aftermath, we have seen how people can come together in times of need, set aside their differences, and focus on the big picture. We need to learn from these lessons and turn them into action.

“President Obama’s legacy will be shaped by his ability to take on big challenges, including climate change, clean energy, environmental protection, and sustainability. The next four years will determine if we will truly be able to say that this presidency moved country ‘Forward!’”

 

Kevin Knobloch, President of the Union of Concerned Scientists offered:

President Obama has won another four years in office. In the wake of destruction left by Hurricane Sandy, the country may have experienced its first election disrupted by global warming. What makes this even more troubling is that the urgent crisis of climate change was never meaningfully discussed in the debates or on the campaign trail. After a year of punishing droughts in our nation’s breadbasket, extreme heat across most of the country, and wildfires that devastated our forests and property, it is now time to turn up the heat on our political leaders. Even with the continued polarization in Washington D.C., there is much President Obama can do to adopt science-based solutions that permanently drive down our carbon emissions and more effectively prepare for the climate-related disasters that will continue to threaten our lives and livelihoods.”

 

Links.

World Resources Institute

Union of Concerned Scientists

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