President Obama promised he wouldn’t wait for Congress to combat climate change, vowing to use executive action wherever possible. One year later, are Obama’s actions helping or hurting?
That was among the topics debated by David Kreutzer, research fellow in energy economics and climate change at The Heritage Foundation, and Daniel Weiss, senior vice president for campaigns at the League of Conservation Voters, during a recent appearance on C-SPAN.
Obama has made some progress on his efforts. The EPA has proposed a rule that would effectively ban the construction of new carbon plants in the United States and is preparing a rule that would reduce the pollutants allowed from existing sources.
Kreutzer said these policies do little to combat climate change but raise energy prices, which hurts the poor the most. He questioned spending and government preferences on renewable energy sources as well.
“When the government gets involved, we see money going to the wrong place,” Kreutzer said. “When we see people making decisions and husbanding their own money trying to get a return from their own investments that they make … that’s when we see progress.”
Weiss said Obama’s Climate Action Plan is “not the last step, it’s the first step. It’s like having cancer. Just like removing a tumor isn’t going to remove cancer, removing a power plant isn’t going to fix climate change.”
Weiss said the United States should emulate Germany, where 75 percent of the electricity comes from renewables. He said renewable energy “is here and we need to continue those investments and shift away from dirty coal.”
Kreutzer said these sources are not ready to provide the amount of energy needed in places such as China, India and Brazil, which “don’t like being poor, and I don’t blame them.”
>>> Watch the full hour-long debate: