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Executive Action on Climate Change
By Michael Schweibinz

Given the obvious inability of Congress to take action on climate change, President Obama has decided to take matters into his own hands by using his executive authority. The President has directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to issue a new proposal to establish and enforce pollution standards for both new and existing power plants, based on the authority granted to the Agency by the Clean Air Act of 1970. These standards will help limit the amount of carbon emissions from power plants. Not a bad starting point when considering that the “power sector produces nearly 40 percent of such pollution.”

The President continues to show his determination to take climate change head-on, whether Congress helps or not. In his memorandum, Obama supports “cleaner energy technologies, such as efficient natural gas, nuclear power, renewables such as wind and solar energy, and clean coal technology.” Further, the President encourages private capital to take action and invest in energy-saving enterprises.

The responses to Obama’s pollution standards goals have ranged from godly, to god-awful. The sustainable investment community, along with the signatories of the Climate Declaration, view this as a big step in the right direction. Achieving of the President’s objectives may ensure the well-being of future generations.

Others warn that the economy will suffer from fewer jobs and higher energy bills. Thomas Donohue, of the US Chamber of Commerce, stated, “the President’s plan runs a serious risk of punishing Americans with higher energy bills, fewer jobs, and a weaker economy, while delivering negligible benefits to the environment.”

But few dispute the President’s overall goal: to make our planet more sustainable. “I don’t have much patience for anyone who denies that this challenge is real,” he said. “We don’t have time for a meeting of the Flat Earth Society.” First Affirmative and, we believe, the vast majority of our clients agree.


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Posted: August 26, 2013