Skip to content

How Will President Obama’s Second Term Impact Climate Change?

January 29, 2013

Environmentalists are cautiously celebrating President Obama’s inauguration speech, in which he committed to addressing the threat of climate change. He has elevated the issue to a top tier priority for his second term- giving it as much weight as gun control and immigration reform.

“We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations,” Mr. Obama stated in his speech.

The President went on to say, “Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms. The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But American cannot resist this transition — we must lead it. We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries — we must claim its promise. That’s how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure — our forests and waterways, our crop lands and snow-capped peaks. That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God.”

P041311PS-0621_zps8a3bfdc1 photo P041311PS-0621_zps8a3bfdc1-1_zps03de5bf3.jpg

While his speech seemed to focus on developing clean and renewable energy sources, many in the environmental community are speculating on how the President will address the issues specifically.

Whether or not Mr. Obama will pursue aggressive legislative policy in the coming years is still unknown. However, many believe that he will take a stricter stance on regulating coal and gas fired power plant emissions, which account for 40% of total US emissions.

Under the Clean Air Act, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is already authorized to regulate carbon dioxide and impose carbon limits on existing coal- and gas-fired facilities. The EPA is currently working on carbon emissions standards for new power plants, which are expected to be announced in April.

Later this year, President Obama is also expected to make a final decision on the fate of the Keystone XL pipeline project- a 1,700 mile pipeline that will carry tar sands from Canada to the Gulf Coast. Mr. Obama vetoed the original plan for the pipeline last year, a victory for the environmental community, but a revised route has put the project back on the table.

More answers are expected from Mr. Obama’s State of the Union Address next month.

PresidentObama2010_zps39470b4c photo PresidentObama2010_zps39470b4c-1_zpsb0d75b48.jpg
The 2010 Goldman Prize recipients pose with President Obama.

Recent Posts

The 2023 Goldman Environmental Prize is Monday, April 24


January 10, 2023

The Goldman Environmental Prize is excited to share that the 2023 Prize winners will be announced on Monday, April 24. The Prize winners will be celebrated at live ceremonies to coincide with Earth Day: at the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco on Monday, April 24, and at the Eisenhower Theater at the John…

Read more

Goldman Prize Executive Director Michael Sutton on Why We Should Support Grassroots Voices


January 3, 2023 – By Michael Sutton

Happy New Year! A new year brings fresh inspiration, motivation, and possibilities. It also provides an opportunity for reflection—on the previous year, its highs and lows, and what lessons it conveys to us for the future. This past year, I had the opportunity to immerse myself in nature on several occasions. Memorably, my son and…

Read more

Five Highlights from the 2022 Goldman Environmental Prize


December 13, 2022

As 2022 concludes, we reflect on what a year it has been! Join us in celebrating some key moments at the Goldman Environmental Prize this year. 1. The 2022 Prize Winner Announcement The Goldman Prize was thrilled to welcome the 2022 winners: Chima Williams, Niwat Roykaew, Marjan Minnesma, Julien Vincent, Nalleli Cobo, and Alex Lucitante and Alexandra…

Read more