Analysis: Can We Regulate Our Way Out of Climate Change?

Vladimir Melnik/Shutterstock.com

Bypassing Capitol Hill, President Obama is throwing his political power behind his administration’s actions to combat global warming.

“For the sake of our children, and the health and safety of all Americans, I’m directing the Environmental Protection Agency to put an end to the limitless dumping of carbon pollution from our power plants, and complete new pollution standards for both new and existing power plants,” Obama said last week in a speech at Georgetown University on a 90-degree, humid day.

Throughout his first term in the White House, Obama used EPA regulations as a stick to prod Congress to pass comprehensive legislation that put a price on the greenhouse-gas emissions that scientists say cause global warming. Obama said several times that EPA wasn’t his first option to tackle climate change. Now that he has failed to get such a bill through Congress, the president is prepared to fight the problem through his EPA. He did, however, leave the possibility of compromise on the table.

“I am open to all sorts of new ideas, maybe better ideas to make sure that we deal with climate change in a way that promotes jobs and growth,” Obama said later in his speech.

Is EPA the best way to attack climate change? If not, what other ideas would be better? Do these ideas have the ability to gain bipartisan support on Capitol Hill?

With EPA now actively working on regulations to control greenhouse-gas emissions from existing power plants, will this be enough of a threat to force Congress to come up with another, potentially better solution? 

See the discussion at NationalJournal.com.

(Image via Vladimir Melnik/Shutterstock.com)

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