Will Obama manage this time?
As early as 2009, President Obama announced radical climate protection measures and failed in the Senate. Now he wants to bypass Congress by turning on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) through the Clean Air Act, and thus single-handedly make climate history.
President Barack Obama wants his energy-wasting country to emit 32% less CO2 by 2025 and produce 28% of its electricity via wind turbines and solar panels by then. Germany already had this much okostrom in 2014.
Environmental groups buried the U.S. president’s announcements after China, the EU, Japan and Canada already unveiled concrete climate change targets for the Paris Climate Change Conference in late 2015. This hardly increases the chances for an effective agreement in Paris, because the planned agreement is not supposed to be binding under international law. The goal set by the international community of limiting global warming to an additional two degrees compared to the end of the 19th century will not be achieved with proclamations alone. The goal of halting the rise in interest rates at the end of the twentieth century could not be achieved.
Obama now wants to follow up his previous international announcements to China and at the G7 summit in Elmau with national action. Opposition Republicans and the U.S. coal lobby, especially in Kentucky, Wyoming, West Virginia, and Missouri, have already announced opposition. Because the CO2 reductions would mean the closure of many coal-fired power plants.
We have just seen in Germany how successful this resistance to them can be through the coal lobby. Even though Congress won’t vote directly on the proposed measures, it can still give Obama the budgetary resources he desperately needs for his ambitious climate plans.
Obama’s opponents, like their German coal friends, argue job losses. profit slumps and "War on coal". Obama counters like the German environmental associations and the Grunens: structural change is coming anyway, creating far more jobs than are lost in the coal industry, the time of coal is over.
In the U.S., climate protection and environmental protection play a lesser role among voters than in Germany. In youngest polls, environment tops 18. Instead of urgent matters. Far more important are economy, jobs or terrorism. For example, 25 of the 50 U.S. states have already threatened to sue over Obama’s climate change plans.
So does he make it this time? His advantage over 2009: He doesn’t have to take the next election into consideration, because he can’t run for office anymore. Washington is having a sale with an uncertain outcome.