Just days after using the release of the National Climate Assessment to push his message on climate change, President Obama will continue his use of executive power Friday to push solutions to curb its effects.
Obama will announce a series of energy-efficiency moves Friday in a speech at Walmart in Mountain View, Calif., including an additional $2 billion goal in energy-efficiency upgrades for federal buildings over the next three years. Obama will announce a series of commitments to expand the use and availability of solar power, including rules on renewable-energy installations for real property and solar-industry workforce training.
It’s part of the administration’s “year of action” on climate change, said Dan Utech, White House special assistant on energy and climate change. It’s also a continuation of Obama’s strategy of using executive authority to move his climate and energy agenda in the face of obstruction from Congress.
The announcement comes as the Senate is facing the failure of its own bipartisan bill to increase the energy efficiency of commercial and residential buildings and federal facilities. The Shaheen-Portman efficiency bill had broad support, but it has all but collapsed as Republicans push for amendments that would target Environmental Protection Agency action on power plants, air pollution, and other issues.
“We’re working every day to do what we can to attack this problem,” Utech said. “At the same time, we’re always eager to get additional support, additional tools, and we’d love to see Congress move forward with the Shaheen-Portman bill — and it’s unfortunate that Republicans are standing in the way.
“We’re going to be doing everything we can with the tools that we have to move forward on efficiency,” he added.
The announcement — being made at Walmart because of the company’s adoption of renewable energy — marks a pivot from this week’s emphasis on climate science to one that will focus on clean energy and jobs. Obama will announce plans to expand the Energy Department’s Solar Instructor Training Network to support training programs at community colleges to help 50,000 workers break into the solar industry by 2020.
Obama will also detail commitments from more than 300 organizations to deploy more solar power.
When taken with other efficiency-related executive actions, the White House said the new initiatives would cut more than 380 million metric tons of carbon emissions and save businesses $26 billion on energy bills.
The federal building target — which builds on a 2011 announcement of a $2 billion savings goal — will also come at no net cost to taxpayers becasue it uses future energy savings to pay for the up-front costs, the White House says.
The announcement will also include new Energy Department efficiency standards for walk-in coolers and freezers and electric motors; incentives for renewable power on public housing; and affirmation of commercial-building energy codes that will provide an additional 8.5 percent energy savings over previous standards.
Utech said that the initiatives continue to build on the momentum that was built with this week’s climate-assessment release, which he said “underscores the urgency of the problem.”
“We’re seeing the impacts of climate today. That’s why the administration is committed to moving forward,” Utech said. “And I think if you ask Americans whether they think we ought to take steps to cut carbon pollution, the answer is yes.”
What We're Following See More »
"Democrats panicked by third-party candidates drawing support away from Hillary Clinton are ramping up their attacks against Gary Johnson and warning that a vote for a third party is a vote for Donald Trump. Liberal groups are passing around embarrassing videos of Johnson and running ads against him warning about his positions on issues like climate change that are important to young voters and independents."
Russo-Western relations are getting thornier all the time. "Dutch-led criminal investigators said Wednesday they have solid evidence that a Malaysian jet was shot down by a Buk missile moved into eastern Ukraine from Russia. Wilbert Paulissen, head of the Central Crime Investigation department of the Dutch National Police, said communications intercepts showed that pro-Moscow rebels had called for deployment of the mobile surface-to-air weapon, and reported its arrival in rebel-controlled areas of eastern Ukraine." Russia, of course, is denying culpability.
In its roughly 125-year history, the Arizona Republic has never endorsed a Democratic candidate for president. Until now. "The 2016 Republican candidate is not conservative and he is not qualified," the editors write, as they throw their support to Hillary Clinton.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi have reached a deal which is likely to avert a government shutdown. The biggest impediment had been the GOP's refusal to include funding for Flint water system reconstruction in the continuing resolution, and this solution provides an alternative measure likely to appease both sides. The funding for Flint will be included in the Water Resources and Development Act as an amendment to the version passed by the House of Representatives, one which will be passed in the senate. It now appears likely that Congress will in fact be able to keep the government open.
Monday night's debate may have inspired some in Congress, as Senate Minority Leader has decided to take a stand of his own. Reid is declining to allow a vote on a "bipartisan bill that would bolster U.S. spectrum availability and the deployment of wireless broadband." Why? Because of a "broken promise" made a year ago by Republicans, who have refused to vote on confirmation for a Democratic commissioner on the Federal Communications Commission to a second term. Harry Reid then took it a step further, invoking another confirmation vote still outstanding, that of Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland.