What Does Obama’s Victory Mean for Action on Global Warming?
What does a second term for Barack Obama as U.S. president mean for action on climate change? The short answer is that some action is now at least conceivable. It would not have been under Mitt Romney, whose statement that the president’s job was not to stop the sea rising was hideously exposed by the inundation of New York and New Jersey by the surge of superstorm Sandy.
So far, so good. But what action can we expect from Obama, at home and abroad? First, the good omens. Climate change was cited in his victory speech, albeit among 2000 other words: “We want our children to live in an America that isn’t burdened by debt, that isn’t weakened by inequality, that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet.” A second-term President is unencumbered by the need to seek re-election, meaning – in theory – he is free to be bold.