In his first press conference since being reelected, President Obama has discussed the need for greater action on climate change in the months and years ahead. Obama said the is planning to work with Congress during his second term to move towards addressing climate change caused by human activity.
Importantly, after being silent on the climate change for most of his reelection campaign, Obama reaffirmed, “I am a firm believer that climate change is real, that it is impacted by human behavior, and carbon emissions, and as a consequence, I think we’ve got an obligation to future generations to do something about it”.
The President didn’t go into detail, adding that he would be attempting to get bipartisan support on the issue of tackling climate change. He did assert that his administration had used its first term to increase fuel efficiency standards, and to double renewable energy capacity in the United States.
Indicating that his administration has no firm plans yet, Obama said he will be having a “wide-ranging conversation” with scientists, engineers, and elected officials to find out what more can be done in the short term, as well as looking to longer-term solutions for reducing carbon emissions. He mentioned that he isn’t sure what Democrats or Republicans are prepared to do at this point, as a major solution for climate change will involve “some tough political choices”.
Obama maintained that his administration will still be focused on economic growth and jobs, and any action for addressing climate change will not impact those. He said, “I don’t think anybody’s gonna go for that, I won’t go for that”.
What this all seems to boil down to, yet again, is whether or not politicians are willing to make those “tough political choices”. Clearly, many were not willing to during Obama’s first term. The question is: has the political situation, not to mention public opinion, changed enough for politicians to step up and make the strong decisions that need to be made?