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Ear to the Ground

Is Barack Obama Getting Serious About Global Warming?

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Posted on Jan 9, 2013
kps186media (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Americans demoralized by President Obama’s lack of initiative on the climate problem are being told he is “seriously considering” hosting a summit at the White House, intended not to outline his plan to tackle the crisis, but to “apprise” members of the public “about how they can act.”

That’s the message from Bob Doppelt, executive director of Resource Innovation Group, the Oregon-based think tank behind the high-level meeting. He says the White House has responded encouragingly to suggestions that Obama hold a summit on the national climate strategy, though it is unclear what those signals are and if they indicate a serious intent to act.

“What I think has excited the White House is that it does put the president in a leadership role, but it is not aimed at what Congress can do, or what he can do per se, so much as it is aimed at apprising the American public about how they can act,” Doppelt said. It’s an odd formulation, given that it is the explicit duty and function of the legislature and the president to enact and execute public policy.

Obama listed climate change among the top three priorities of his second term.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

The Guardian:

[T]here is growing concern among campaign groups and fellow Democrats that Obama has yet to come up with a clear plan for deploying government agencies to protect against future events like Sandy, or for rallying the public behind a strategy to cut emissions.

The political opportunity created by Sandy could be slipping away, said Betsy Taylor, an environmental consultant in Washington DC. “We are disappointed that he hasn’t talked or used his bully pulpit.

When he went to New York after Sandy he said almost nothing about climate change,” she said. “In the very short-term there was an opportunity post-Sandy but I don’t think it has been seized.”
Unlike Obama’s first term, when the larger campaign groups in particular seemed reluctant to force the climate issue, environmental leaders say they intend to keep up the pressure on the White House.

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