As the Obama Administration comes to terms with its failings in implementing stricter gun control, reaching economic agreements with Republicans, passing broad immigration reform and successfully rolling out Obamacare, some watchers suggest that an executive order blitzkrieg on climate change may be President Barack Obama’s last ditch effort to produce a legacy in his second term.
Late last month, Obama issued an executive order to create new Federal measures to prepare the Nation’s infrastructure to withstand weather-related natural disasters. The President called for the implementation of “engaged and strong partnerships and information sharing at all levels of government” and “risk-informed decisionmaking and the tools to facilitate it” in the fight against climate change.
“The impacts of climate change — including an increase in prolonged periods of excessively high temperatures, more heavy downpours, an increase in wildfires, more severe droughts, permafrost thawing, ocean acidification, and sea-level rise — are already affecting communities, natural resources, ecosystems, economies, and public health across the nation,” said Obama in issuing the order.
On Friday, The Hill reported: “[T]here’s one thing that’s going right for Obama: Executive action on climate change is moving full-speed ahead at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).”
Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) told the newspaper that the President is likely to continue his climate change crusade because his executive order authority, coupled with the EPA’s wide-reaching authority to implement new rules, eliminates many hurdles to the President’s agenda on the issue.
So far, Obama’s biggest climate change directive has been changing carbon emission standards for power plants throughout the Nation. Last month’s executive order called for the creation of a bevy of new bureaucratic entities with names like the Council on Climate Preparedness and Resilience and the State, Local and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience which will be directed to come up with ideas for halting climate change.
The White House also announced the appointment of longtime Washington insider Dan Utech to be the President’s new advisor on energy and climate change this week.
“For the last three and a half years, Dan has been a key player in developing and implementing every aspect of the President’s clean energy and climate agenda,” a White House official said Friday.
Utech previously worked on the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee and served as Hilary Clinton’s top adviser on energy and environment issues for five years while she was in the Senate.