Obama weathers backlash on climate

Dec 30, 2010 by Shaun Tandon
Obama is to face tough challenges from opponents on his plans to fight climate change
Smoke billows from chimney stacks at a factory. President Barack Obama's administration enters 2011 pressing ahead with new regulations and diplomacy to fight climate change, but it will face stiff challenges from opponents.

President Barack Obama's administration enters 2011 pressing ahead with new regulations and diplomacy to fight climate change, but it will face stiff challenges from opponents.

The year ended with modest progress toward a new global deal during UN-led climate talks in Cancun, Mexico, where major emitters including the and China moved beyond past bad blood.

But US environmentalists' hopes were dashed at home, where a proposal to create a first nationwide "cap-and-trade" plan to restrict in the world's largest economy died in the Senate.

The Obama administration is nonetheless taking action on its own. Starting January 2, US authorities will consider greenhouse gases when approving emission levels for large new industrial plants.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency announced on December 23 that it would go a step further starting in 2012 by setting greenhouse gas standards for and petroleum refineries -- which together account for nearly 40 percent of the emissions blamed for climate change.

But Obama can expect even more hostility to his climate agenda starting in January, when the rival Republican Party takes charge of the House of Representatives.

Representative Fred Upton of Michigan, the Republican who will head the new House Energy and Commerce Committee, said the United States should be "working to bring more power online, not shutting plants down" to protect jobs.

"We will not allow the administration to regulate what they have been unable to legislate," Upton said.

"This Christmas surprise is nothing short of a back-door attempt to implement their failed job-killing cap-and-trade scheme."

The Obama administration insists it is only setting standards, such as favoring , and not imposing numeric caps on emissions as envisioned under most cap-and-trade proposals.

The Obama team and environmentalists argue that a shift to green energy would create, not reduce, jobs by opening a new area of growth in the troubled economy.

The world's temperature has been steadily rising and many scientists point to rising disasters -- including devastating floods in Pakistan and, counter-intuitively, intense blizzards -- as evidence of climate change.

The Democrats narrowly retained control of the Senate and Obama remains president, meaning he can fight any legislative efforts to weaken regulation on climate change.

But several Republicans have vowed to fight a key US promise in international negotiations -- to contribute to poor countries seen as suffering the worst effects of climate change.

The Cancun conference set up a Green Climate Fund, to which the European Union, Japan and the United States have led pledges of 100 billion dollars a year starting in 2020.

Bracing for concerns about accountability, the Obama administration fought successfully in Cancun to put the World Bank in charge of the Green Climate Fund.

Todd Stern, the chief US climate negotiator, said the financial pledges were "extremely important" and "a core part of the deal."

"Obviously, the fiscal situation is exceedingly tough in the US. It's tough in Europe and other places as well. And we are going to have to do the best we possibly can to carry out" the promises, Stern said.

As part of a future deal, the United States has pressed for fast-growing emerging nations such as China to agree to binding and verifiable action on .

India surprised many other countries in Cancun when it said it would consider a future binding deal. China has reiterated its opposition but promised to show flexibility.

Despite the shift in Washington, California -- the most populous state -- approved its own cap-and-trade system after voters rejected a referendum supported by the oil industry to suspend air pollution control laws.

By contrast, oil-producing Texas -- the biggest carbon polluter -- has refused to abide by federal guidelines on emissions, leading the Obama administration to take over its permit system.

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User comments : 23

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omatumr
2.5 / 5 (31) Dec 30, 2010
Great!

Climate change occurs because planets and the Sun itself are in orbit about the constantly changing center-of-mass of the solar system.

See: "Earth's Heat Source - The Sun,"
Energy & Environment 20 (2009) 131-144
arxiv.org/pdf/0905.0704

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
Justsayin
2.3 / 5 (18) Dec 30, 2010
I had the desire to puke my guts out so I read the entire article.
ryggesogn2
2.9 / 5 (23) Dec 30, 2010
"By contrast, oil-producing Texas -- the biggest carbon polluter -- has refused to abide by federal guidelines on emissions, leading the Obama administration to take over its permit system."
TX is also the most prosperous as millions have voted with their feet finding opportunities that have been squashed by 'progressive' states.
ted208
2.8 / 5 (13) Dec 30, 2010
BS
ted208
2.6 / 5 (22) Dec 30, 2010
Obama and the EcoCrats days are numbered. I thought the Bush NeoCons fanatics were bad and believed me I couldn't wait for them to go. Now we have Obama's NeoCrats stormtroopers crushing democracy under their Stalin boot heels, from one extreme to the other. Only this time I'm really scared of the socialist agenda. Obama and the Democrats are extremist and will hurt the USA economy especially with their Climate hoax deal via the Eco goons at EPA, it has to stop!
Dug
3.1 / 5 (17) Dec 30, 2010
"The Obama team and environmentalists argue that a shift to green energy would create, not reduce, jobs by opening a new area of growth in the troubled economy." Unfortunately, Obama's team of environmentalist doesn't include any economist. Economist that have looked at both the dollars and thermodynamics of a green economy and continue to logically argue that until green energy is competitive with petroleum production costs and aren't competitive with food producing petro-chemical fertilizers (85% of food production) like bio-fuels - a green economy is a non-starter - no matter how passionate we are about it.
Howhot
2.3 / 5 (16) Dec 30, 2010
I for one would love to see the Stalin boot heels at the throats of the polluters. It would solve a lot of environmental problems quickly, would it not?
Parsec
3.1 / 5 (11) Dec 30, 2010
Obama and the EcoCrats days are numbered. I thought the Bush NeoCons fanatics were bad and believed me I couldn't wait for them to go. Now we have Obama's NeoCrats stormtroopers crushing democracy under their Stalin boot heels, from one extreme to the other. Only this time I'm really scared of the socialist agenda. Obama and the Democrats are extremist and will hurt the USA economy especially with their Climate hoax deal via the Eco goons at EPA, it has to stop!


The supreme court ruled that the EPA has to consider the effect of CO2 and other greenhouse gases under the provisions that created the EPA long ago. The EPA fought tooth and nail to avoid doing that for years.

It is the failure of congress to act plus the rule of law that requires the EPA to act. They begged congress to avoid making them do that, but the Republicans voted against every possible solution congress could come up with. Look it up. Its historical fact, not opinion.
Parsec
3.9 / 5 (10) Dec 30, 2010
"The Obama team and environmentalists argue that a shift to green energy would create, not reduce, jobs by opening a new area of growth in the troubled economy." Unfortunately, Obama's team of environmentalist doesn't include any economist. Economist that have looked at both the dollars and thermodynamics of a green economy and continue to logically argue that until green energy is competitive with petroleum production costs and aren't competitive with food producing petro-chemical fertilizers (85% of food production) like bio-fuels - a green economy is a non-starter - no matter how passionate we are about it.

This is true, but since fossil fuels are heavily subsidized to make using them cheaper, and economies of scale inevitably bring down the cost of green technologies, the break even point shifts daily as those subsidies can be decreased, and volume increases.
GSwift7
3.4 / 5 (9) Dec 30, 2010
but the Republicans voted against every possible solution congress could come up with


That's not true. The republicans voted against every version of cap and trade that the Democrats could come up with. The funding for ARPA-e actually got approved, and I think it's our best option. Do you really think cap and trade is a good solution compared to ideas like ARPA-e? You have to look at cost versus benefit. Cap and trade has too many middle-men making billions for it to be a good idea, in my humble opinion. We obviously need a solution to our energy problems, whether we believe the hockey stick or not, but I honestly think there's many ways to do what we need without a cap and trade law making lots of rich guys richer.
GSwift7
2.3 / 5 (12) Dec 30, 2010
To clarify, I'm not saying that cap and trade wouldn't work. I'm just pointing out that it's a very wastefull way to get the job done. There are plenty of other ways that wouldn't cost as much. Lindsey Graham has suggested an energy apollo project, for example. I really like that concept, but it would need to be done with a clear goal, and people argueing over the hockey stick graph only get in the way of the real issue of our energy problem. IF we fix our energy problem, then the global warming problem goes away. I just don't think a new tax is going to do it as fast or as effetively as other means may be able to.
ForFreeMinds
3.9 / 5 (7) Dec 30, 2010
I for one would love to see the Stalin boot heels at the throats of the polluters. It would solve a lot of environmental problems quickly, would it not?


Would that be you, a user of coal fired energy, emitter of pollutants from your car, and enabler of every manufacturer who pollutes and whose products you buy?
Skeptic_Heretic
3.6 / 5 (9) Dec 30, 2010
Representative Fred Upton of Michigan, the Republican who will head the new House Energy and Commerce Committee, said the United States should be "working to bring more power online, not shutting plants down" to protect jobs.
Another ignorant point of non-fact.

Cap and trade isn't in the business of shutting power plants down. If you can keep it open, and reduce the emissions, it stays open. That means you now have a market based problem, with a market based solution. ie: exactly what the Republicans state brings innovation forward. So where is the innovation?
VeryEvilDudeofDarkness
3 / 5 (8) Dec 31, 2010
Obama and the EcoCrats days are numbered. I thought the Bush NeoCons fanatics were bad and believed me I couldn't wait for them to go. Now we have Obama's NeoCrats stormtroopers crushing democracy under their Stalin boot heels, from one extreme to the other. Only this time I'm really scared of the socialist agenda. Obama and the Democrats are extremist and will hurt the USA economy especially with their Climate hoax deal via the Eco goons at EPA, it has to stop!

Your posting on a Science website and you don't accept all the evidence that has been put forward to prove that climate change is happening? Please folks, wake up and know that this is not a joke. I'm of the mid half of the Y generation(21) and you don't want us blaming you for when we really start to feel the effects.
tpb
3.2 / 5 (10) Dec 31, 2010
"Smoke billows from chimney stacks at a factory."
The caption on the picture alone tells me that this article is full of it.
The stuff billowing out of the chimney stacks is water vapor.

Wind and solar will never compete without using things like cap and tax to massively and artificially increase the cost of fossil fuels.
The cost of fossil fuel is already at least 5 times higher than it should be because of the cartels holding production down.
The cost of energy determines the cost of all goods and products, including food.
Since there is no way to stop international monopolistic behavior, we need to go to domestic nuclear power and compressed natural gas for vehicles.
Ultimately, unless there is some incredible breakthrough on batteries which doesn't seem likely, we should use nuclear power to synthesize liquid hydrocarbons for our vehicles from CO2 in the air and H in water.
Inflaton
3 / 5 (3) Dec 31, 2010
"Obama weathers backlash on climate"

I see what you did there!
ShotmanMaslo
4.7 / 5 (6) Dec 31, 2010
Solar concentration powerplants are most likely to approach cheap price of fossil energy, or even be cheaper when economy of scale kicks in. That, and advanced nuclear reactors able to burn current nuclear waste and torium are the way to go for the future, until fusion becomes available.
Skeptic_Heretic
3 / 5 (6) Dec 31, 2010
Wind and solar will never compete without using things like cap and tax to massively and artificially increase the cost of fossil fuels.
The cost of fossil fuel is already at least 5 times higher than it should be because of the cartels holding production down.
The only thing artificial about the price of fossil fuels is how cheap they are for the end user. If you look at the price of producing a gallon of gasoline in the US, we pay maybe a tenth of the actual price at the pump. THe rest is pulled out of our trade budget resulting in deficit, out of tax dollars in way of further subsidy and defense spending to maintain the military infrastructure that protects the supply lines for American oil. Coal and gas aren't as bad, but there is still a large incentive for gas and large, large costs with coal production cleanup.
3432682
3 / 5 (6) Dec 31, 2010
The socialist BS just keeps on coming. The economic illiterates are killing our economy.
Shootist
1 / 5 (1) Jan 01, 2011
The only thing artificial about the price of fossil fuels is how cheap they are for the end user.


Willful ignorance of basic economics should be punishable by 6 months forced listening to Milton Friedman tapes.
Shootist
1 / 5 (4) Jan 01, 2011
Your posting on a Science website and you don't accept all the evidence that has been put forward to prove that climate change is happening?


By climate change I assume you mean anthropomorphic, yes?

Freeman Dyson doesn't believe man is the cause of climate change. Neither should you.

"The polar bears will be fine." - Freeman Dyson
Shootist
1 / 5 (2) Jan 02, 2011
Dust Study Invalidates Most Warming Modeling Work Done to Date

jerrypournelle.com/mail/2010/Q4/mail655.html#models

Too bad, so sad.
GSwift7
1 / 5 (1) Jan 03, 2011
I wonder why there wasn't a story on physorg about the findings of the UN IAC (the independent UN panel that audited the IPCC this year, and released a report in August). I also wonder why there wasn't a story about the new official stance of the Royal Society in regard to GCC (they released a comprehensive summary of their view of the state of climate science in September. They break it down into three categories: Certainties, disputed items, and uncertainties. Very interesting)

You can find the RS paper if you google the following and pick the first choice:

Climate change: A Summary of the Science

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