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Obama's Climate Plans Face Long Fight 229

Posted by samzenpus
from the long-road dept.
An anonymous reader writes "He hasn't even given his Tuesday speech yet but Obama's plans to tackle climate change are already raising objections in Washington. From the article: 'When President Barack Obama lays out plans to tackle climate change in a speech Tuesday, including the first effort to curb greenhouse-gas emissions from existing power plants, he will unleash a years-long battle that has little assurance of being resolved during his time in office. The president has called climate change a "legacy issue," and his speech may head off a backlash from environmentalists should his administration approve the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada. But the address is unlikely to blunt criticism of Mr. Obama's approach from the left or the right.'"
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Obama's Climate Plans Face Long Fight

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 24, 2013 @08:14AM (#44090995)

    lol, because what environmentalists want, after 4 years, is a speech... while his actions are the opposite of what he says he wants to do.

    I'm voting 3rd party from now. Least of all evils isn't enough.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      "I'm voting 3rd party from now. Least of all evils isn't enough."

      Not to nitpick, but I think you mean "lesser of 2 evils ("Big 2 parties").

      Your third-party candidate would be the "least" evil.

      But having said that, we have had some GOOD 3rd-party candidates. Far better than the BS the 2 big parties have thrown at us. And I include Obama as some of that "BS".

      • But having said that, we have had some GOOD 3rd-party candidates.

        Who, exactly? From what I've seen the 3rd party candidates manage to look good on paper by avoiding real issues that they'll have to deal with once they get into office. This is much like Obama, of course, who ran a campaign based on "hope" and "change," but hadn't really thought deeply about issues like, "how do you try a foreign terrorist held at Guantanamo in a civilian court?" Of course, he was elected anyway because the people who voted for him didn't really think through those issues either......

        I'm

        • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Monday June 24, 2013 @02:19PM (#44094707)

          "From what I've seen the 3rd party candidates manage to look good on paper by avoiding real issues that they'll have to deal with once they get into office."

          Really?

          When did Ron Paul, for example, "avoid" an issue? On the contrary, he was very outspoken about any issue anyone cared to raise with him. He wasn't allowed to speak in many settings, like some of the "debates"... but that's not even close to the same as "avoiding".

          When has Ron Paul been shown to ever lie? He always voted exactly the way he told his constituents he would. He has a perfect voting record in that respect.

          Paul was against Guantanamo. Etc.

          And he wasn't the only one, just the most popular. You have had the answers to your complaints right in front of you, yet you refused to see they were there. That's not the politicians' fault, it's yours.

          • Ron Paul points out problems. His solutions aren't nearly as good. This resonates with people who also see problems, who also haven't thought through the issues.

            An example is healthcare. He wants to get rid of government sponsored healthcare for the poor and destitute, but he doesn't have any reasonable replacement.
      • by geekoid (135745)

        "Your third-party candidate would be the "least" evil. "
        based on what? hmm? So, it's a different party therefor not evil? People who think that sloppy should not be allowed to vote.

    • by FriendlyLurker (50431) on Monday June 24, 2013 @08:47AM (#44091223)

      "Obama's actions are often quite different than his rhetoric" [guardian.co.uk]... like any politician. That is why websites like the Political Memory [politicalmemory.eu] by La Quadrature du Net are so interesting and give real hope for change: Believe what they have done, not what they say they did (or will do).

      Now, if only the population at large would flock to use such tools on election day... but as it is, the village keeps voting time and again for one of the two village liars who both just happen to be backed by the biggest landowner(s) in town - to everyone's long term detriment. Oh and the town message billboard happens to be controlled by the said landowners. We have not progressed very far politically, it would seem...

      • who both just happen to be backed by the biggest landowner(s) in town - to everyone's long term detriment. Oh and the town message billboard happens to be controlled by the said landowners.

        This doesn't matter when the populace is informed and understand who they are voting for. Of course, if the majority of the population votes based on what they read in billboards, they are so uninformed it doesn't really matter how you change the system, it will still be broken. "Democracy doesn't guarantee good government, it guarantees the people get the government they deserve."

      • Candidate Obama debates President Obama on Government Surveillance
        www.youtube.com/watch?v=7BmdovYztH8&feature=youtu.be

    • by mlts (1038732) *

      How about people just not just vote, but take the time to pay for the election fee and throw your hat in the ring? Why elect yet another clown when you can have your shot at a ringmaster, or at least a ringside seat?

      Sounds stupid, but it would send a message at the minimum, and you might just win.

    • by akb (39826)

      I would like Obama to have done more on climate change, though I'm not sure what more he could have done.

      Obama has gotten slaughtered politically for the environmental moves he has made. The green jobs that were part of the stimulus have cost him dearly, as have the much tightened auto emissions standards and the C02 limits for existing coal plants. All 3 of these are very substantial actions.

      You may recall earlier in his first term a climate deal was near-ish happening. Subsequent to that the Tea Party

      • This is what doesn't make sense to me logically, but makes sense to me emotionally. The President doesn't really have any power to affect the climate. The real legislative power lies with the House and Congress (you know the legislative branch). But he always gets blamed when shit hits the fan. Bush, Clinton, Obama. The only power they have over laws is veto. They can suggest actions that Congress can take, but let's face it, Congress usually tells the Pres to take a flying leap.

        If you want to address

        • by Creepy (93888) on Monday June 24, 2013 @11:27AM (#44092841) Journal

          Congress may have legislative power, but Obama has some sway over the Department of Energy. If he tells them coal must use CCS (Carbon Capture and Sequestration), for instance, it is up to the DoE to develop a plan to implement it, because let's face it, coal plant owners will never do it voluntarily because it makes no sense from a business standpoint. 30% less efficient and therefore 30% less profitable to... save the environment? Why would you do that if you can spend 1% (or less) supporting global warming doubters that say it isn't an issue?

        • by geekoid (135745)

          They influences the DoE, and look at what they are calling for and their actual actions.
          Look what Reagan did. That Jackass single handily destroyed the then alternate power industry, and pretty much handed are ass to the Mid-East.
          Worst. President. Ever.

      • by geekoid (135745)

        All he can do is urge congress and other leaders to take action. He's president, not a king.
        Sadly, congress is stuffed full of ignorant SOBs who wouldn't know what science is if it bit them in their ass.

    • Yeah the more you vote third party the further away from your goal you get. So if your goal matters to you , then you'll think things through.

      It is a material fact about the United States that baring dramatic, unforeseen events which cause an equally dramatic exodus from one or both parties, voting third party means taking your vote away from the candidate you otherwise would have voted for.

      (In the case such defection does occur, no one will miss it and you'll be just one of hundreds of millions doing the s

  • by lxs (131946) on Monday June 24, 2013 @08:16AM (#44090999)

    Shutting down all PRISM related datacenters will seriously reduce the US carbon footprint.

  • by usacoder (816957) on Monday June 24, 2013 @08:17AM (#44091009)
    And that's what all of this is about... politics.
    • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Monday June 24, 2013 @08:28AM (#44091071) Homepage Journal

      And that's what all of this is about... politics.

      Any time two or more people with differing ideas (let alone ideals) get involved with something, there will be politics. Thus, everything interesting has political ramifications.

      Climate is related to technology, and also, we all live here. I for one welcome our politics-discussing overlords. As always, you have the option to simply spin on rather than crying about it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      And that's what all of this is about... politics.

      Yep, energy sources and national stability have absolutely nothing at all to do with tech.

      Please stop reading Slashdot. Please. Go pick up a copy of ACM or PLOS if you want to remove yourself entirely from humanity.

    • by sycodon (149926)

      Politics is a good thing, when compared to the alternative of shooting each other.

  • by some old guy (674482) on Monday June 24, 2013 @08:23AM (#44091039)

    Without comprehensive, cooperative, enforceable international standards and practices, it's all just political showmanship. Given the interwoven economic, i.e. selfish capitalist, constituencies of all the nations, unilateral grand-standing and token half-measures are futile.

    When global issues are at stake, global cooperation is required. It might start with a less-corrupt, more efficient United Nations with unselfish participation by the member states to give it a sense of legitimacy. That would be the ideal.

    My gut feeling is that nothing, if anything, substantial will be done until the international capital oligarchs sense a real financial threat. Good intentions create politics; money creates policy.

    • by olau (314197) on Monday June 24, 2013 @08:48AM (#44091231) Homepage

      Without comprehensive, cooperative, enforceable international standards and practices, it's all just political showmanship.

      No, it's not. Changing the world often starts with yourself.

      If you don't get this - fair enough. But don't ridicule people who do.

      • Read recently that the USA had reduced its carbon footprint by ~200 megatons over the last year or so

        Alas, same article mentioned China had increased their carbon footprint by 300 megatons in the same timeframe.

        With China and India trying to move into the 21st (or at least late 20th) century, there's not anything that can be done about AGW until you get BOTH of them on the bandwagon....

    • by Kuruk (631552)
      <quote><p>My gut feeling is that nothing, if anything, substantial will be done until the international capital oligarchs sense a real financial threat. Good intentions create politics; money creates policy.</p></quote>

      I agree wholeheartedly. Business will drive the planet down until it is profitable to change and then charge us for that as well. While future generations get the raw end of the deal. We won't feel it in our lifetimes.

      We will be remembered badly I think.
    • by taiwanjohn (103839) on Monday June 24, 2013 @09:16AM (#44091489)

      Not just futile, most "useful" measures would require legislative action, which is practically impossible these days.

      That said, if I could choose one single bill to have signed into law, it would be the "Open Fuel Standards Act" which was brought up a few years ago, but didn't get a vote. This would require all new cars sold in the USA to be fully flex-fuel capable. (There are already a lot of "flex-fuel" cars on the market, but many are only able to use ethanol. The OFSA would mandate compatibility with methanol and butanol as well.) This would add about $100 to the price of each car, which is much less than an after-market retrofit would cost.

      The point of all this is to break the effective monopoly on transportation fuel held by petroleum and bring true competition to the market. Methanol may be only 80% as energy dense as gasoline, but last I checked it was only about $1.50/gal. And unlike ethanol, methanol can easily be made from any kind of biomass, so this would also decouple the alternative fuel supply from food crops like corn. Best of all, it would stem the tide of cash that currently flows out from the USA's collective pocket, which is around $400 billion annually. That kind of economic "stimulus" would be a nice bonus too.

      • Why that one? That seems like a bandaid solution to the climate change problem. A single bill putting the costs of carbon emissions onto the emitters, no matter what form, would do much more to prevent climate change. Or rather, reduce climate change.

        Wouldn't solve the problem completely, and there would be loopholes of course, but no problem as big as climate change has one simple trick to solve it.
        • While I agree that putting a "price" on carbon would help, it's currently a political non-starter. The OFSA at least has a chance of bipartisan support, and it stands to put a serious dent in our overall net carbon emissions. In the meantime, solar and wind installations will continue to chip away at the coal-fired electricity emissions. Some judicious "incentives" like a feed-in tariff might speed the process up a bit, but we're already past the tipping point where "going green" makes better business sense

      • by moeinvt (851793)

        We need to pass a bill which sets a new government mandate on automobile manufacturers? And this needs to be done so that market forces can address the problem?

        The reason we got to this point is government intervention in the economy. More government intervention is not the answer.

        The government should just STOP. Stop anything and everything that they are doing to subsidize here, penalize there, micro-manage this, incentivize that, etc. All of their policies together have produced nothing but a colossal

        • Our problem is neither "government" nor "business" per se, it is rather the capture of government by business. None of these absurd "interventions" in the market originated from government, they came from highly paid lobbyists, often with the relevant legislative language being written by them.

          Like any other tool, "government" is a double-edged sword. If wielded properly, it can be used for good. In this case, I deem the cost/benefit to weigh in our favor.

    • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Monday June 24, 2013 @09:16AM (#44091495) Homepage Journal

      Without comprehensive, cooperative, enforceable international standards and practices, it's all just political showmanship.

      The average American pollutes more (partly by proxy, through their economic decisions) than almost any other kind of human on the planet. We cannot ask others to do what we are not willing to do: that's a special kind of bullshit. Leading from the rear is how we got into this mess. Put civilian lawmakers who decide we're going to war on the front lines (have them carry a radio or something) and see what happens, some things will shift very quickly.

      When global issues are at stake, global cooperation is required. It might start with a less-corrupt, more efficient United Nations with unselfish participation by the member states to give it a sense of legitimacy. That would be the ideal.

      The UN will never have legitimacy as long as it retains its structure, ruled by the UNSC. Guess who the most puissant nation on the UNSC is?

      My gut feeling is that nothing, if anything, substantial will be done until the international capital oligarchs sense a real financial threat.

      As long as they stay on top of the order, they don't seem to care much what it looks like...

      • by Richy_T (111409) on Monday June 24, 2013 @09:36AM (#44091681) Homepage

        The Average American (of which I am not one), tends to have higher productivity on the planet than most other people. It's hard for a peasant in a rice field to produce much waste or pollution or CO2. Yet. What you have to watch is emerging economies where pollution and waste controls are absent.

        With that said, there could be much done in America to improve on waste and some on pollution (though I am not a fan of harsh or even most regulations). America as a whole has been on a pretty reasonable post industrialization trajectory and it would be a tragedy to damage its economy in an attempt to force things which will likely occur in time anyway.

        • by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Monday June 24, 2013 @09:56AM (#44091911) Homepage Journal

          The Average American (of which I am one) might be more productive, but all that productive work is putting money into the pockets of corporate masters. So not only are polluting, we're not even seeing the economic benefit of the pollution. So we aren't only killing ourselves, we've not even seeing the economic benefits we constant whine that we'll lose if simply do common sense measures.

          It's high time the US population wake up and realizing everything being done is going to feed the corporate pig and that 99.999999% of us aren't millionaires in waiting. Our thinking is so screwed up that it's hard to pay attention to ANY political news and not get a headache from the cogitative dissonance we're forced to put up with day in and day out.

          • by ganjadude (952775)
            so all that productive work doesnt do anything for you? you dont get paid for your work? Why is everyone always talking about the "big bad corporations" while at the same time ignoring that these people do in fact keep people like you working?
            • by drinkypoo (153816)

              The economic divide is widening in America, not narrowing, even as the amount of work necessary for survival decreases. Something is rotten much nearer to home than Denmark.

          • The Average American (of which I am one) might be more productive, but all that productive work is putting money into the pockets of corporate masters.

            That might be true of some, but I can tell you for me, and a lot of people I know, it's definitely putting a lot of money in my own pocket.

          • by ArsonSmith (13997)

            Get a 401k or a mutual fund or buy some stock and then you too can be one of the corporate masters getting money and economic benefit from all the average Americans.

        • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

          by drinkypoo (153816)

          The Average American (of which I am not one), tends to have higher productivity on the planet than most other people.

          Uh, what? By what measurement? Most Americans don't produce anything.

          It's hard for a peasant in a rice field to produce much waste or pollution or CO2. Yet. What you have to watch is emerging economies where pollution and waste controls are absent.

          In theory, that's true. In practice, people in those countries can't afford anything anyway. They're having to turn to efficiency just to exist. They're using rocket stoves which reduce emissions because they can only get a few sticks to cook their food with, or they're shoveling their pigshit into a pile and running a gas hose in from there, and so on.

          America as a whole has been on a pretty reasonable post industrialization trajectory

          Reasonable according to who? Those who live a life of privilege due to the pollution inv

  • by Anonymous Coward

    ... about the Global Cooling that has been going on for the past 15 or so years?

  • Spy on them (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Is he just going use the NSA to spy on the weather until it behaves?

  • Dearest Public (Score:5, Insightful)

    by argStyopa (232550) on Monday June 24, 2013 @08:39AM (#44091159) Journal

    Since everything else seems to have gone in the shitter, I come back to you with a message that seemed to sell well in both campaigns: the environment.

    I look forward to again gaining your broad support with a campaign of platitudes, anthemic one-word slogans, and statements that make me appear sympathetic to your issues, while actually resulting in policies that either ossify the current corporation-based lobbyist-driven structure, or expand the pervasive control of the Federal government ostensibly for good reasons but which will in fact be used to incrementally decrease your rights vis a vis that "Constitution" thingy, which I will continue to re-interpret as really not relevant to today's realities anyway.

    Signed,
    Your President.

    • by rujholla (823296)

      Since everything else seems to have gone in the shitter, I come back to you with a message that seemed to sell well in both campaigns: the environment.

      I look forward to again gaining your broad support with a campaign of platitudes, anthemic one-word slogans, and statements that make me appear sympathetic to your issues, while actually resulting in policies that either ossify the current corporation-based lobbyist-driven structure, or expand the pervasive control of the Federal government ostensibly for good reasons but which will in fact be used to incrementally decrease your rights vis a vis that "Constitution" thingy, which I will continue to re-interpret as really not relevant to today's realities anyway.

      Signed,
      Your President.

      QFT

  • Do all of you guys commenting have a subscription to get past the WSJ paywall, or are you reading the article from some other method?

    Oh... wait. "Reading the article". LOL.

  • Just shut up and roll over.

  • by exabrial (818005) on Monday June 24, 2013 @09:43AM (#44091753)
    http://news.yahoo.com/singapore-malaysia-face-economic-hit-prolonged-smog-093307319.html [yahoo.com]

    Really it doesn't matter what we do in the USA if Asia and the middle east are 1000x worse with a larger population.
  • Unfortunately (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 24, 2013 @09:53AM (#44091877)

    There are 3 major obstacles to getting anything done with the climate change issues.

    1 - USA: large portion of population, especially in the red states espousing a world view that is anti-science to the bone. This is being shamelessly exploitetd and nurtured by a powerful energy lobby and "conservative" (conservativism used to include environemental conservation in Teddy Roosevelt's era) politicians. In addition, US economy is facing competitive pressure from other countries and is worried that cleaning up environment means increased cost and loss of jobs. My view on this is that nothing will happen on the US end until after the final collapse of the republican party as we know it today. That is a few years out, but it will surely happen. US voters are by nature centrists, and the red state/blue state division won't last forever. Gerrymandering and politicized supreme court will extend the suffering though.

    2-China. When China sets their mind to do something, it will get done,but their environmental policies are at the same level of their human rights policies, pretty low. They are smart enough, and tend to take the longer view, though, so I am sure they realizes that they can not fuel their economy USA-style for very long without ending up in a Mad Max-scenario. By the time the US republican party collapses, China might have turned around and become a climate change believer.

    3-The developing countries. Energy is essential to increase the living standard, and it would be hypocritical by western nations to continue our high energy consumption, while these countries have a desperate need too increase their energy use. A country like Norway, who is a major oil producer, while being a poster boy for environment and climate change policies, spending a large portion of their GDP on rain forest projects, foreign aid and other environmental projects, needs to realize that until their privileged population does something about their massive energy usage, they will remain hypocrites. We need to budget for a dramatic increase in energy use by developing countries, which means we need to dramatically reduce our energy consumption in the west. I see soem good signs in that there are more and more small cars on US roads, but the SUVS,compact SUVS, and trucks, as well as assholes riding heavy BMWs, Audis, etc. are still dominating the landscape.

    I think all rational persons have a pretty good idea what needs to be done. Obama needs to try, to make sure it gets put out there in the public, so that we know what direction to turn when the rest of the world is ready to advance from the middle ages. And by those, I include the republicans that espouse a pre-Copernicus world view.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by flyingfsck (986395)

      No, actually, the rational people do not agree on what needs to be done or even whether anything needs to be done. It is only the irrational people that agree that extreme and possibly quite useless things need to be done.

      Rational people look at the facts that the earth is still cooler than before the medieval cold spell and that the temperature increase halted for the last 15 years, while irrational people do not want to be confused by these facts.

  • Great article in Rolling Stone the other day - laying out how our decades of not doing anything (fossil fuel companies love it) has already cost us Miami and southern Florida, its just a matter of time at this point:

    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/why-the-city-of-miami-is-doomed-to-drown-20130620#ixzz2X0NGzxLY [rollingstone.com]

    The President will be talking about 17% CO2 emissions reductions from 2003 levels (if memory serves, but it should be 1990 levels) by 2020 which is a joke - and totally inconsequentia
    • by PPH (736903)

      Continue to dither. Until climate change actually becomes important.

      We'll know when this happens. It will be when one ton of carbon sequestered by a Monsanto genetically engineered super tree is worth the same in carbon credits as one ton sequestered by a tree in some third world country, owned by Al Gore. Until then, its a wealth transfer scam.

  • by moeinvt (851793) on Monday June 24, 2013 @12:39PM (#44093475)

    The government has the fix for everything. Just let them confiscate more of our wealth and give them more power to micro-manage every aspect of our lives. That's the solution to this problem and apparently every other problem.

  • The halving of coal-powered electricity was due to a combination of expensive coal metal-pollution laws the availability of cheap, clean alternative- fracked natural gas. This cut US CO2 emissions 20% since the early 2000s. But that is only a band-aid. If leveraged right that will buy us a decade or two to R&D even cleaner energy. The world is about to imitate the USA in this changeover, mainly for economic reasons.
  • Here is what I've learned about politics in America:

    1. The right hates the left.
    2. The left hates the right.
    3. Everybody hates the center.

    Compromise is evil. If you didn't get everything that you want, then you've lost. When people say that they're hoping for a "moderate", they mean somebody who agrees with them on everything meaningful and gives up only trivial things that you don't care about at all.

    This sarcasm isn't really about trying to defend the plan, or pick out the parts I think are good from the

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