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January 2013 Archives
How, if at all, should President Obama and Congress address climate change?
"We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations," Obama told the nation in his Inaugural Address last week. That statement and subsequent ones expounding on the issue drew loud applauses from the thousands of people assembled on the National Mall to listen to Obama's speech. Since then, the administration has been coy about how, exactly, Obama intends to lead in responding to climate change. White House spokesman Jay Carney did say last week the administration intends to move forward on environmental rules controlling carbon emissions from power plants, but he didn't provide any details beyond that general statement.
What options does the administration have at its disposal to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions? Does Congress have the political and legislative appetite to pass any significant energy and climate legislation?
Despite all the talk of reducing U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions, they're actually already at a 20-year low thanks in large part to the newly discovered reserves of natural gas, which burns with fewer carbon emissions than coal or oil. Despite that domestic drop, global greenhouse-gas emissions are actually at an all-time high thanks in large part to the growing economics of China and India and their consumption of coal.
How can Washington address climate change knowing it's an inherently global problem? Can Obama lead by example on this issue? If so, how?
25 responses: Graciela Chichilnisky, Craig Rucker, Amy Harder, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., Marlo Lewis, Dirk Forrister, Rachael Jonassen, Marvin Fertel, Jennifer Holmgren, Amy Harder, Jacqueline Savitz, Kate Offringa, Keya Chatterjee, Frances Beinecke, Christine McEntee, Jennifer Morgan, Jamie Rappaport Clark, Eileen Claussen, William O'Keefe, Howard A. Learner, Kevin Crapsey, Michael Canes, Daniel J. Weiss, Bernard L. Weinstein, Scott Sklar
Should the United States think twice before allowing oil and gas drilling in the Arctic Ocean?
In response to Shell's drilling rig running aground in a storm there earlier this month, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced an internal 60-day review of the department's plans to allow drilling in the Arctic Ocean. "It's troubling that there was such a series of mishaps," Salazar said shortly after the incident, according to Bloomberg. "There is a troubling sense I have that so many things went wrong."
What more should the government and private oil companies--in this case, Shell--do to ensure that another "mishap" like the rig running aground doesn't happen again? What steps, if any, can Congress take to ensure that all safety precautions are being taken?
Is Shell's rig mishap a sign that the Obama administration should halt altogether Shell's plans to drill in the Arctic and not allow any energy development off Alaska's coast? Or, are the challenges Shell has faced surmountable?
How--if at all--should the United States take advantage of fossil-fuel exports?
President Obama has cited energy exports in two recent interviews. "The United States is going to be a net exporter of energy because of new technologies and what we're doing with natural gas and oil," Obama said in an interview with Time magazine last month. Exports of coal and refined petroleum products such as gasoline and diesel have reached record highs in the last couple of years; natural gas is poised to follow suit after an Energy Department report released late last year gave an implicit nod to more exports.
Unlike many policies, the ones governing energy exports will
face test after test this year as companies seek to export more fossil fuels.
Unlike many policies, the ones governing energy exports will face test after test this year as companies seek to export more fossil fuels.
That should be the Obama administration's policy on
fossil-fuel exports? And how, if at all, should Congress become involved? Laws
governing energy-export policies have been in place for decades. The Natural
Gas Act of 1938, for example, restricts exports of that fuel, and a de facto
ban also exists on exporting crude oil. Should Washington change any of these
or other policies?
That should be the Obama administration's policy on fossil-fuel exports? And how, if at all, should Congress become involved? Laws governing energy-export policies have been in place for decades. The Natural Gas Act of 1938, for example, restricts exports of that fuel, and a de facto ban also exists on exporting crude oil. Should Washington change any of these or other policies?
That environmental concerns should be considered in this
debate on fossil-fuel exports? What benefits do exports afford the U.S.
That environmental concerns should be considered in this debate on fossil-fuel exports? What benefits do exports afford the U.S. economy?
15 responses: Charles Drevna, Kateri Callahan, Phil Kerpen, Bill Cooper, Jack Gerard, Amy Harder, Kathleen Sgamma, Bernard L. Weinstein, Jack Rafuse, Evan Tracey, William O'Keefe, Margo Thorning, Hal Quinn, Michael Canes, Don Santa
What major energy and environment issues will Washington face in the new year?
President Obama said recently that after the fiscal cliff, energy is his third-ranking priority for his next four years, after immigration and economic growth. That order doesn't bode well for big congressional action on energy and environment policy. Issues will nonetheless demand attention from the White House and Capitol Hill, including fossil-fuel exports, new environmental regulations, and the administration's looming decision about the Keystone XL tar-sands pipeline.
What opportunities do Obama and Congress have to work together on more-incremental energy and environment policies? Are there some sleeper issues that will come out of the woodwork to demand more of Washington's attention?
Do you foresee any political appetite to go big on energy and environment policy, such as a putting a price on carbon emissions or adopting a national clean-energy standard? If so, what components would a broad package deal include?
16 responses: Amy Harder, Christine Todd Whitman, Barry Russell, Armond Cohen, Dennis McGinn, Jack Rafuse, Jonas Monast, Bill Cooper, Kate Offringa, David Holt, Michael Canes, Rachael Jonassen, Bill Squadron, Bernard L. Weinstein, Rich Deming, William O'Keefe