Now that Obama has won reelection, he is freed up to follow his heart, moving forward forcefully in the fight against climate change. Put a piece of legislation in front of him, Congress, and he’ll sign it.
Even, say, a piece of legislation exempting U.S. airlines from an E.U. carbon dioxide reduction plan.
The E.U. plan (which has already been postponed anyway) would have required that any airline doing business in its member countries participate in a cap-and-trade system. The U.S. Senate leapt into action, initiating a bill that would exempt U.S. airlines from the mandate (claiming, ludicrously, that it was because it sought more sweeping carbon reduction schemes). The House followed suit.
And now, our president has signed it. From The Hill:
President Obama has signed into law a bill that requires U.S. airlines to be excluded from European carbon emissions fees.
Environmentalists had framed the bill as the first test of the president’s commitment to fighting climate change in his second term and urged him to veto it. Obama signed it over their objections, though the move was not publicized by the White House. …
The New York-based Environmental Defense Fund called the emission ban, “[a]t best … simply superfluous” when it was approved by lawmakers earlier this fall.
But the industry group Airlines for America said Obama’s signature will allow carriers to reduce emissions through international agreements.
Even as we speak, I imagine that the CEOs of American and United and JetBlue and whoever are jet-pooling to Qatar to appeal to the governments of the world to increase the cost of carbon emissions under a sweeping international agreement. “Whatever it takes,” one CEO will say, and the assembled U.N. leaders will rise to their feet, clapping slowly. One will brush away a tear.
Anyway, I’m sure Obama will stand up for the climate next time. Keep flipping a coin and it has to come up heads sometime, right? (No, it doesn’t.)