Climate Change Action in Obama's Second Term?
by Robert Kropp
After an election campaign during which climate change was barely mentioned, sustainable investors
and other advocates hold out hope for effective action in the next four years.
Climate change is the single most important sustainability issue confronting us today, and that it
was barely mentioned by the Presidential candidates during the recently completed election campaign
defies reason. Yet despite the silence of the candidates on the subject, and despite insufficient
attention to it during the first term of the Obama administration, at least the candidate who won
doesn't waffle over whether human agency has anything to do with global warming and extreme weather
Furthermore, during Obama's first term
ambitious fuel economy goals have been established, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
has established new rules for mercury emissions and greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting from the largest
emitters. Obama's 2009 economic stimulus provided an estimated $90 billion for renewable energy
technologies, and wind energy in particular has accounted for a significant portion of new energy
installations since then.
It wasn't enough, and the intransigence of US negotiators at
climate talks in South Africa and Brazil prevented meaningful action on climate change from being
accomplished. Nevertheless, with the election certifying a second term for Obama, sustainable
investors and other advocates remain hopeful that necessary steps, such as binding international
agreements and a price on carbon, might yet occur.