I recently replied to a question on the National Journal blog on sizing up President Obama's State of the Union speech
You can read responses at the National Journal .
Here is my response: When Congress failed to enact the climate bill in 2010, many longtime climate action advocates responded by falling silent on climate change. “Too polarizing,” they said. “When we talk about climate change, the skeptics attack climate science, the press reports he-said-she-said, and all the public hears is a muddle. Let’s talk about green jobs and air pollution instead.”
That silence was a big mistake. It understated the urgency of the challenges we face. It undervalued the clean energy solutions we need to deploy throughout our economy. And it underestimated the ability of busy moms and dads to cut through the noise about the world we’re leaving our children.
Meanwhile, even as climate change was barely whispered about in Washington D.C., climate-driven impacts were loud and clear across America in the form of record-setting heat, extreme drought, floods, severe wildfires, and, of course, Hurricane Sandy.
President Obama has now broken the silence. First in his inaugural address and then in his State of the Union address, he referred to all the above in making the case for climate action. In the State of the Union, he urged Congress to move forward – “but if Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will.”
What executive actions can the president now use while we wait for Congress to act? In a new C2ES policy guide , we offer some suggestions. Under existing authority, the administration can:
Working together, President Obama and Congress can also:
That’s a pretty good list. There’s a lot that can be done.
But most of all, let’s please remember – ignoring this problem won’t make it go away.