Political Climate Change

THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION  IS stepping up its efforts to combat climate change, and the GOP and industry lobbyists may not be able to do much to halt it. POLITICO reports that President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to carbon emissions targets for the next twenty years, and that the United States will spend considerable funds to aid developing countries in coping with climate change.

GOP leadership, of course, are none too pleased. The Washington Post notes that both Mitch McConnell and John Boehner have blasted the deal, calling it “job-crushing” and a “crusade against affordable, reliable energy.” Despite the incoming Republican majority in the Senate, it’s unlikely that Congress will be able to significantly impact the deal or the EPA’s proposed climate rules due to Obama’s veto power, although POLITICO notes that the GOP may be able to slow parts of the administration’s climate change agenda.

Industry lobbyists also expressed concerns about the Obama administration’s climate policies, in particular the EPA’s carbon dioxide restrictions on power plants. An industry-backed report claims that the rule could cost the energy industry $366 billion. The industry’s stauch opposition does seem to be having some effect; Bloomberg Businessweek reported that the EPA is now considering extending the timeline of emissions reduction from 2020 to 2029.

On the flip side, the clean energy industry as well as climate change advocates is encouraging Obama to hold his ground. In a letter organized by Environment America, groups such as the Solar Energy Industries Association and SunEdison praised the EPA rules, calling them an important step to reduce emissions and usher in an era of clean, renewable energy.

With an upcoming GOP majority in both chambers of Congress and staunch opposition from the energy industry, the fight against climate change has a bumpy road ahead, but in the short term it appears that its opponents can do little to stop the Obama administration’s agenda.


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