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?