Frankly, it probably won’t. President Obama mentioned climate change in his 2010 State of the Union address, and he directly referenced the fact that many of his political opponents outright deny that it is happening. The President said: “I know that there are those who disagree with the overwhelming scientific evidence on climate change. But here’s the thing — even if you doubt the evidence, providing incentives for energy-efficiency and clean energy are the right thing to do for our future -– because the nation that leads the clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the global economy.”
The reaction? Republicans laughed at the mention of “climate change.” Considering that the climate bill passed by the House of Representatives last year is now stymied in the Senate–a body which, although controlled by a substantial majority of the President’s own party, cannot do business without 60 out of 100 votes–I don’t see how Obama’s address, which like everything else he does was met with a chorus of unanimous derision by Republican leaders, will really serve to motivate action in Congress by itself.
Obama has his critics not just among conservatives, many of whom doubt (or profess to doubt) that climate change is even real, but also among those who support a comprehensive climate change policy, and for whom Obama’s mention in his State of the Union speech did not go far enough. A point raised by these critics is that the White House has been focused more on energy policy than climate policy, which are two different things, although undeniably interrelated. My personal belief is that political leaders including Obama should be doing more to motivate public support for comprehensive climate and energy policies that bring us closer to renewable energy and greenhouse gas emissions. Horse-trading in Congress will get us only so far. I think it needs to be a grass roots effort. But, that is my own personal opinion.
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