Op-Ed: Obama's Weak Climate Change Legacy

David Bookbinder argues that the Obama Administration dragged its feet on climate change, only implementing last-minute actions that will be easy to reverse.

1 minute read

May 18, 2017, 11:00 AM PDT

By Philip Rojc @PhilipRojc


President Obama

The White House. / The White House

According to David Bookbinder, the Obama Administration's climate legacy is being thoroughly greenwashed. Early in his presidency, Bookbinder writes, Obama's policies differed very little from Bush's: "Both fought mightily to avoid greenhouse gas regulation — Bush because he didn't care about the issue, Obama because it was a lower priority than health care and, after the Affordable Care Act passed, because of fear of the political consequences.">

While Obama did move on climate during his second term, most of those regulations will be easy for Trump and the Republicans to undo. "Regulations that came out in the second half of 2016 can be killed via the Congressional Review Act (CRA) — eliminated through a simple-majority vote of both houses of Congress, and the president's signature."

Bookbinder says credit belongs to California for establishing tougher emissions standard for the auto industry, which the EPA simply rubber-stamped. "Obama's climate strategy was a sound one, in short, only if he was 100 percent sure that Hillary Clinton (or another Democrat) would succeed him."

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