Obama Continues to Push Unilateral Action to Fight Climate Change

CHICAGO - SEPTEMBER 01: Solar photovoltaic panels generate electricity at an Exelon solar power facility on September 1, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The 10-megawatt facility located on the city's south side is the largest urban solar installation in the United States. The 32,292 panels can generate more than 14,000 megawatt-hours of electricity per year, enough to meet the annual energy requirements of up to 1,500 homes. 
National Journal
Jason Plautz
Add to Briefcase
Jason Plautz
May 9, 2014, 2 a.m.

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 »
STATES HOPE TO FILE IN D.C. CIRCUIT
Twenty-One States Sue FCC Over Net Neutrality Repeal
17 minutes ago
THE DETAILS

Twenty-one states, the District of Columbia and several public interest groups filed the first major lawsuits Tuesday to block the repeal of the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality rules. The FCC's rules had prohibited Internet providers from slowing down or blocking websites. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who is leading the states' suit, said that the FCC’s repeal was “arbitrary” and “capricious” and violates federal law. The suit comes just a day after Democrats in the Senate said they were inching closer to acquiring the votes needed to pass legislation overturning the FCC's rule change. It has garnered the support of all 49 Democratic senators as well as one Republican, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME).

Source:
BELIEVED RESPONSIBLE FOR AGENTS’ DEATHS
Ex-CIA Officer Arrested for Assisting China
2 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"A former C.I.A. officer suspected of helping China identify the agency’s informants in that country has been arrested, the Justice Department said on Tuesday. Many of the informants were killed in a systematic dismantling of the C.I.A.’s spy network in China starting in 2010 that was one of the American government’s worst intelligence failures in recent years, several former intelligence officials have said. The arrest of the former agent, Jerry Chun Shing Lee, 53, capped an intense F.B.I. investigation that began around 2012 after the C.I.A. began losing its informants in China."

Source:
ZINKE REFUSED TO MEET WITH THEM
Park Service Panel Resigns En Masse
2 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"Three-quarters of the members of a federally chartered board advising the National Park Service abruptly quit Monday night out of frustration that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke had refused to meet with them or convene a single meeting last year. The resignation of nine out of 12 National Park System Advisory Board members leaves the federal government without a functioning body to designate national historic or natural landmarks. It also underscores the extent to which federal advisory bodies have become marginalized under the Trump administration."

Source:
WOULD ALSO DELAY OBAMACARE TAXES
GOP Leaders Dangle CHIP Fix to Avert Shutdown
11 hours ago
THE LATEST

"House GOP leaders on Tuesday night pitched a new strategy to avert a looming government shutdown that includes children's health funding and the delay of ObamaCare taxes. Lawmakers need to pass a short-term stopgap bill by midnight Friday, when money for the federal government runs out. The latest GOP plan would keep the government’s lights on through Feb. 16, and be coupled with a six-year extension of funding for the popular Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The continuing resolution or CR would also delay ObamaCare's medical device and Cadillac taxes for two years, and the health insurance tax for one year starting in 2019."

Source:
NO DACA DEAL = NO SPENDING DEAL?
With Deadline Approaching, Lawmakers Sounding Notes of Pessimism
15 hours ago
THE LATEST

"A key Senate negotiator and White House official on Tuesday expressed little hope for an immigration deal this week but nonetheless predicted that Congress can avoid a government shutdown." Marc Short, the White House Capitol Hill liaison, said he's optimistic about a deal on DACA overall, but not this week. Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn also said he doubts an agreement can be made before week's end.

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login