If we don’t get a climate deal done soon do you think it will happen in Obama’s term?



  1. 0 Votes

    I do, for a couple of reasons. Climate change as an issue isn’t going away. People are concerned about it, and even despite the rash of stories in recent months about how supposedly the public is increasingly doubting the science of climate change, the truth is that the scientific basis for it is strong and will only get stronger in the future. Thus, I believe the American public will eventually demand some sort of coordinated action on climate change and probably sooner than later. Second, the international pressure is immense. The United States is the only major country in the world that didn’t ratify the Kyoto Accords, and we have been living under that cloud in the international community since 1997. If the United States does not come up with some sort of workable climate change policy, sooner or later the international community is going to begin leveraging their displeasure in ways that may hurt–for example, countries may begin to tie economic issues like import restrictions and foreign investments to action on climate change, the way we sometimes do on other issues (for example, using economic sanctions against particular countries to motivate change on human rights or nuclear proliferation issues). Obama is certainly not benefited by letting the situation get this bad, and he definitely doesn’t want another failed international climate summit such as Copenhagen, so I think he’ll work hard to get a deal that he can point to as real accomplishment on climate change.

    Obama also faces some political dangers as well as opportunities. If his health care bill passes, yes, he will suffer a political backlash from conservatives, but he’ll also have some political capital to spend because he’ll be the president that succeeded where all others have failed. Certainly he’ll seek to parlay that political capital into other projects he wants to accomplish, one of which is action on climate change. Finally, don’t forget that Obama is going to want a second term and a climate deal could help him shore up political support in 2012. Even if he’s not re-elected he may try to grab at anything he can make a deal on before he leaves office so the history books will have something positive to say on him, and again climate change is one potential issue he could reach for. All of these factors indicate to me that Obama will probably work toward a climate deal, and I think he’ll eventually get it.

Please signup or login to answer this question.

Sorry,At this time user registration is disabled. We will open registration soon!