How Can President Obama Address Climate Change?
At CNT, we advocate for transit because it is an important strategy for reducing carbon emissions that contribute to climate change. Climate change is one of the greatest threats facing our planet today, so it was good to hear President Obama reaffirm his commitment to take action on the issue in his recent inaugural address. The Presidential Climate Action Project, which CNT participated in creating, sets out specific, practical steps that the President and Congress can take to reduce America’s carbon emissions and set the country on the path towards a renewable energy future. The President is certainly familiar with the report (I personally put a copy of the freshly printed 2008 version of it in then candidate Obama’s hand) and has indicated his support in the past for many of the steps that it outlines.
Although climate change has become a sensitive issue politically, there are important steps that the President can take to advance the agenda without legislation. CNT encourages him to follow the recommendations contained in the PCAP and communicate directly with the American people about the importance of taking action on climate change and of the economic opportunities presented by making the transition towards a green, advanced energy economy.
The President should also engage with Congress to push for the passing of legislation capping carbon emissions or pricing carbon. These market based mechanisms, by promoting efficiency and encouraging the private sector to invest and innovate in new, green sources of energy, must be part of any comprehensive solution to the problem.
The decision surrounding the construction of the Keystone XL tar-sands pipeline presents the President with an opportunity to demonstrate his commitment to tackling climate change. CNT urges him to kill the pipeline which does nothing but increase America’s dependency on polluting fossil fuels. Recent severe droughts and extreme weather conditions has reminded everyone of the urgency of the threat that we face. CNT encourages the President to follow through on the promises he has made as soon as possible.