Three years after President Obama’s push for a cap-and-trade bill failed in Congress, the White House is hoping to re-visit one of Obama’s second term priorities in a major speech on climate change. The president is expected announce a series of executive actions including new Environmental Protection Agency rules to limit carbon emissions in new and existing power plants.
The Center for American Progress’ Neera Tanden and The Heritage Foundation’s Nick Loris joined The Daily Rundown on Tuesday to discuss likely reactions from both sides of the aisle.
Tanden, president of the liberal think tank, said there’s energy for a renewed focus on climate change.
“I think most people are pretty excited by the president’s actions today,” said Tanden. “These are important steps to take and to address one of the greatest challenges of our time: climate change.”
Loris, an analyst from the conservative policy center, arguing he sees the speech as evidence that the president is trying to sidestep Congress.
“This is a back door cap and trade plan. That is getting all the major headlines,” said Loris. “These regulations on new and existing power plants are doing what Congress rejected and he’s going beyond them now.”
But Loris did not oppose all parts of the president’s coming initiatives, noting the administration’s climate change preparedness initiatives for natural disasters were a positive step.
“Having people better prepared for severe weather incidences, whether they are a result of human increases in greenhouse gases or not, is just common sense preparation,” Loris said.
But disagreement remains between the left and right over the source of climate change and how adjusting human behavior couldaffect the climate. Loris argued that the president’s proposals will not mitigate climate change, but Tanden disagreed, pointing to success from some of President Obama’s initiatives that are already in place.
“I don’t think it should matter if it is man-made or not. If the climate is changing and it is severe, we need to do something about it. That being said, the president’s request to reduce CO2 emissions from new and existing power plants isn’t going to do anything to slow temperatures,” Loris said.
“We’ve been told by conservatives for decades now that there’s nothing we can do about it. It will have minimal impact,” Tanden added. “We’ve already seen large scale reductions in part because of the actions the president has already taken on issues like fuel efficiency standards.”