How the President Can Address Climate Change Right Now

When Foreign Policy magazine decided to run a series on “10 problems Obama could solve right now,” they turned to EDF’s Gernot Wagner.

His contribution: a list of ways the President can address climate change — without Congressional approval.

Gernot acknowledges that:

“President Obama isn’t going to halt the rise of the oceans in his second term.”

But he outlines steps the President can take right now.

At the top of his list:

 “The president can start by setting an example in his own house, quite literally. Based on Executive Order 13514, signed in October 2009, Obama established a 28 percent emissions-reduction goal for the federal government by 2020. While working toward this goal, the administration should take the opportunity to implement a tried-and-true market approach: Follow the lead of some big corporations like Microsoft and make each part of the government financially accountable for its greenhouse gas emissions by putting a price on carbon dioxide — at least the roughly $20 per ton established by the federal government’s own interagency working group as the single best value. That would allow the government to meet its overall target the most cost-effective way possible”.

Other key ideas:

  • Use existing legal authority under the tried-and-true Clean Air Act to cut power plant pollution, both from new and existing sources.
  • Build on the success of strengthening greenhouse gas and fuel-economy standards for cars and extend them to heavy and medium-duty vehicles, ranging from 18-wheelers to commercial delivery trucks.
  • Get methane leakage under control. Natural gas can have half the climate impact of coal, with the emphasis on “can.” Methane leakage could actually make it worse, and President Obama has the power to ensure that’s not the case.

Read more in Foreign Policy’s article.

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One Comment

  1. Posted January 5, 2013 at 2:35 am | Permalink

    He could do this …….

    In my opinion

    We need to replace the fossil fuel power plants, the primary source of GHG. Now!

    At a scale required to accomplish this task :

    Ethanol starves people : not a viable option.

    Fracking releases methane : not a viable option.

    Cellulose Bio Fuel Uses Food Land : not a viable option

    Solar uses food land : Not a viable option

    Wind is Intermittent : Not a viable option

    All Human and Agricultural Organic Waste can be converted to hydrogen, through exposure intense radiation!

    The Radioactive Materials exist now, and the Organic waste is renewable daily.

    Ending the practice of dumping sewage into our water sources.

    Air, Water, Food and Energy issues, receive significant positive impacts .

    Reducing illness / health care costs as well !

    Dennis Baker
    Penticton BC V2A1P9