Tags: Barack Obama | Climate Change | climate | change | global | warming | Obama

Reports: Global Climate Change Will Define Obama's Final 2 Years

By    |   Tuesday, 18 Nov 2014 06:42 PM

Stymied by Republican opposition to nearly all his domestic goals, President Barack Obama has fixed his plans for a lasting legacy on one area where he has almost unlimited freedom to act — international climate change.

Obama is striking out on a quest to make the last two years of his lame duck presidency mean something by focusing on climate change in the international arena, his near-exclusive area of political power, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Beginning with an ambitious climate change pact with China, which Obama hailed as an "historic agreement," Obama agreed that the United States will reduce its CO2 emissions to 26 percent to 28 percent below the 2005 levels by 2050, Slate reported. China agreed to halt its growth in CO2 emissions by 2030.

Then, at the G20 talks in Australia, Obama pledged $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund to help poorer nations deal with the effects of global warming and helped to convince Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, a global warming denier, to agree to contribute an unspecified amount, according to the New Republic.

Stephanie Cutter, Obama's deputy campaign manager, told U.S. News, "He sees climate policy as good economic and health policy, but also a moral obligation to future generations — including his own daughters."

White House counselor John Podesta even taunted Republicans, saying, "I believe the president will complete actions. It is a top priority of his and I don't believe they can stop us. Notwithstanding Sen. McConnell making this a top priority to leave the status quo, to leave the air dirtier," the Washington Times reported.

On Monday, the Times reported, the White House released a report noting that "climate preparedness and resilience" could cost $100 billion "to protect drinking water supplies, shore up coastlines against rising sea levels and take other preventive measures."

U.S. News noted that while Obama's plans for immigration, education, and the minimum wage — all domestic issues — could run afoul of strong opposition once Republicans take the reins of Congress in January, "foreign policy is largely the domain of presidents" and there is little Republicans can do to stop him.

"President Obama has made no secret that his climate crusade will proceed irrespective of what the American people want or what other global leaders caution," Laura Sheehan of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity told U.S. News.

White House aides told U.S. News that Obama's Cabinet secretaries have been instructed to put together other steps his administration can take, such as increasing the use of renewable fuels.

Obama has indicated he will veto construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, the Times reports, and GOP leaders say they will attempt to rein in the Environmental Protection Agency's regulatory actions.

But the administration believes that on the international level, Obama will largely will have a free hand for the next two years.

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Stymied by Republican opposition to nearly all his domestic goals, President Barack Obama has fixed his plans for a lasting legacy on one area where he has almost unlimited freedom to act — international climate change.
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2014-42-18
Tuesday, 18 Nov 2014 06:42 PM
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