Isn’t bullying wrong? That’s what it says on StopBullying.Gov.
The issue came up on Thursday evening when the president took questions on the Google + social networking platform – the first time he has addressed the issue since his climate declaration in Tuesday’s State of the Union address: “If Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will.”
Environmentalists hope that means taking executive action to reduce fossil fuel use, such as rejecting the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada or issuing Environmental Protection Agency regulations that would curb greenhouse gas emissions from existing U.S. power plants.
On Thursday Mr. Obama said his administration can take steps to make buildings and appliances use less electricity and to “make sure that new power plants that are being built are more efficient that the old ones.” He didn’t mention existing power plants or Keystone.
“My job, I think, is to use the bully pulpit help raise people’s awareness [of climate change] because if the public cares about it, Congress eventually acts,” Mr. Obama said.
He said the American public “is still not entirely convinced that [climate change] is an urgent problem,” and that means members of Congress don’t feel pressure to pursue climate policy.
“It’s not all partisan,” Mr. Obama said. “There are some Democrats, for example, who represent states or districts that are heavily reliant on old power plants and are more heavily manufacturing-based” and therefore might fret about regulations that would require expensive power-plant upgrades.
“If you produce power using old power plants you’re going to be emitting more carbon, but to upgrade those plants means energy is going to be a little bit more expensive, at least on the front end,” Mr. Obama said. Carbon dioxide is the primary greenhouse gas linked to climate change.