Net Right Daily –
By Marita Noon
A few months ago, in his State of the Union address, President Obama proudly pledged to tackle climate change — despite opposition from Republicans. To date, precious little action to combat climate change has been seen from the White House — which pleases most Republicans and angers the Left.
Environmental activists are some of Obama’s most ardent supporters, but they are frustrated and losing patience with the president. He hasn’t been definitive on killing the Keystone pipeline; as the Washington Post reports, he’s “fallen back from the broad clean energy agenda he envisioned when he first took office” — even to the point of supporting natural gas exploration and recently approving Liquefied Natural Gas export terminals that will increase demand by shipping U.S. natural gas to foreign markets; and he seems to have acquiesced to a fossil fuel future by proposing adaptations to make “coastal communities more resistant to increasingly severe storms and floods.”
The environmental community wants to see bold steps toward a fossil-fuel free future.
Michael Brune, executive director for the Sierra Club, groused: “On climate, we’re worse off than we were when the President’s second term started.”
Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), is calling on the President to “outline exactly how he plans to combat global warming by 2016.”
In a new campaign being launched by the NRDC, filmmaker Robert Redford states: “Four months ago, President Obama spoke of our obligations to combat climate change, saying failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.” Ads from the NRDC feature Redford challenging Obama to live up to the “courage of his convictions.”
Even those within his own party are pressuring the president.
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) has called climate change “the issue of our time.” He believes that Obama should announce the implementation of strong regulatory steps that will “revive this great issue.” Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) recently pushed the President to oppose the pipeline — despite polling that shows the vast majority of the public supports it: “I encouraged him to follow through on the correct policy position, suggesting polling numbers aren’t always in support of smart policy.”
With his base is looking for immediate remedies, his popularity is plunging, and more negative news is hitting the airwaves every day, an announcement — as Whitehouse wants — of “strong regulatory steps” to “revive this great issue” could be advisable. It would give environmentalists the aggressive action they are itching for and divert the discussion from the various scandals plaguing his presidency.
Instead, when the White House made a decision to raise the social cost of carbon emissions by 60 percent — which will have a costly impact on the economy with wide-ranging implications for everything from power plants to the Keystone pipeline — there were no optics: no fanfare, no press conference, no announcement.
Tucked into a rule about microwave ovens’ efficiency standards (With everything going on in the world, we are worrying about microwave ovens?) is an increase in the figure the government uses to weigh costs and benefits of proposed regulations. The “so-called social cost of carbon” represents the “approximate losses from global warming such as flood damage and diminished crops.” The Daily Caller describes this social cost of carbon dioxide emissions as “a monetary estimate of the damages caused by carbon emissions” that “all federal agencies must use when formulating regulations.”
The White House Office of Management and Budget raised the cost of a metric ton of carbon from the current $23.80 to $38.00 in 2015 — which gives the administration “justification to be more aggressive than they otherwise would be,” explained Jeff Holmstead, air quality chief at the Environmental Protection Agency under President George W. Bush.
It seems that this “determination” was intended as appeasement to Obama’s agitated base while not damaging his falling popularity — though it probably fails at both.