Bush’s Last Climate Obstruction Hurrah Must Not Stop Obama
It is reported President Bush is closing off some of President-Elect Obama's immediate climate policy alternatives [ark] with last minute “midnight” environmental regulations. These include barring the Environmental Protection Agency from considering the effects of climate change on protected species [search], and forbidding the EPA to regulate carbon dioxide under the Clean Air Act [search]. These are avenues Obama could have used immediately to begin regulating carbon dioxide (and still can but will take longer to undo Bush's mess). Some had hoped President Obama would make a dramatic gesture and begin regulating carbon under these existing avenues immediately upon taking office, others would argue it is better to work for more comprehensive national legislation and lead international cooperative measures to achieve binding yet differentiated carbon targets upon all nations.
I would argue for all at the same time and more, as leading NASA climate scientist James Hansen does [ark]. President Obama should begin by banning further coal plants and regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant under the Clean Air Act as soon as possible. He should also begin national measures to establish a dedicated carbon tax, proceeds to be used for renewable energy development and to lower other taxes. Further, if any more time is to be wasted on establishing cap and trade systems, he must unveil an ambitious goal to reduce carbon emissions quickly — perhaps 40% by 2020. Or else he is better off moving on to ending the use of coal and other actions commiserate with the threat. And finally, the world is calling out for international leadership to break the log jam of national interests impeding global enforceable cuts upon greenhouse gas emissions. Let's hope that Obama lives up to his rhetoric and leads on climate at this crucial juncture. Nothing less than the survival of the world, humanity and all Earth's creatures is at stake.