Several people have suggested that President Obama will make climate change a key initiative of his second term. I’ve never really believed that, but today the New York Times reports that it might be for real:
President Obama is preparing a major policy push on climate change, including, for the first time, limits on greenhouse gas emissions from new and existing power plants, as well as expanded renewable energy development on public lands and an accelerated effort on energy efficiency in buildings and equipment, senior officials said Wednesday
Heather Zichal, the White House coordinator for energy and climate change […] suggested in her remarks that a central part of the administration’s approach to dealing with climate change would be to use the authority given to the Environmental Protection Agency to address climate-altering pollutants from power plants under the Clean Air Act. She said none of the initiatives being considered by the administration required legislative action or new financing from Congress.
The EPA can actually do a fair amount if it decides to. And Republicans know it: it’s one of the reasons they’ve held up the nomination of Gina McCarthy to head up the EPA. This announcement is likely to turn up the heat in that battle another notch or two.