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Obama “trust the science” while talk of an Amercian carbon tax begins: the ground is shifting

Reasons for some optimism perhaps. Firstly, Obama made climate change the centre piece of his State of the Union Address:

In a soaring inaugural speech, Obama defined the climate crisis as a moral issue for the generations. For his follow-up act, the president must persuade Americans that climate change is a clear and present threat to their daily lives and their livelihoods, requiring action now, said Paul Bledsoe, who directed the White House climate change taskforce under Bill Clinton. 

“I think he has to frame climate change as an issue here, now, and as a threat. I think he has to frame it as a domestic issue – not a global issue,” he said. “The challenge is to frame climate change as an issue with large costs that are only going to grow. That is his biggest opportunity. That is what he has to do.” 

Obama does something that many politicians have failed to do: state emphatically there is good reason to “trust the science”:

Great quote: “If congress won’t act to protect future generations, I will”

But Obama also promises to open up more oil and gas permits.

Just as interesting, but overlooked so far, are recent moves to introduce a tax on carbon in the United States. The following article in The Nation explains:

Only an hour before President Obama is expected to deliver his State of the Union address—in which he might “go big” on the issue of combating climate change—two Senators announced they will introduce comprehensive climate change legislation this week, presenting a possible vehicle in the Senate for Obama’s ambitions.

Senators Bernie Sanders and Barbara Boxer will outline the legislation on Thursday morning. Details are scant, though it’s being billed as “major” and “comprehensive” legislation, and will have a carbon tax…

As many know, the Waxman-Markey “cap-and-trade” bill introduced in 2009 but was abandoned. It was regarded as a victory for fossil fuel and polluting interests.

However, such legislation was always going to resurface – the efforts of vested interests and the denial machine are merely rearguard actions designed to delay such initiatives.

Like Big Tobacco their intent was to stall the inevitable.

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