Obama’s Incredible New Climate Change Plan is Not Good Enough, Says Senior Aide

Look, we don’t want to be dismissive of President Barack Obama’s latest environmental policy change, a proposed 30% reduction in carbon emissions from power plants. While it’s a positive step in the right direction, is it also too little, too late? Even John Podesta, a senior adviser to Obama, is cynical about what kind of real impact this move will have.

Podesta was candid in an interview with Harper’s Magazine. “Fifty years from now, is that going to seem like enough?” Podesta asked in reference to Obama’s most recent environmental plan. “I think the answer to that is going to be no.”

Indeed, the threats posed by climate change are massive and it’s not hard to imagine that future generations dealing with the consequences are going to ask, “Is that really the best you could do?”

Podesta is particularly critical of the skewed statistics Obama has offered. When the international community sets environmental goalposts to hit, they almost always use 1990 emissions levels as the base line. Obama’s administration, however, generally uses 2005 as his starting point. With that in mind, while his plan to reduce emissions by 30% may sound significant, it actually doesn’t even measure an 8% reduction by the United Nations’ standards.

Technically, Obama has a legal obligation to commit to reform that will prevent the earth from heating more than two degrees Celsius. This plan, however, will not accomplish that number. “Maybe it gets you on a trajectory to three degrees, but it doesn’t get you to two degrees,” Podesta said.

Podesta is not alone. Harper’s asked other past and present Obama aides for their opinions on the effectiveness of the current plan. None were willing to say that this actually tackled the problem. “I don’t know about two degrees,” Carol Browner, Obama’s former chief of climate and energy policy, conceded.

As for why Obama is striking so late, Podesta faults the President’s fellow top advisers, particularly those from his first administration. Though climate change was technically on their list of issues to address, it was not prioritized. “Yeah, fine, fine fine, but it’s ninth on our list of eight important problems,” Podesta said, doing an impression of their attitude toward climate change.

Obama is certainly not in an enviable position. It can’t be easy trying to balance modern economic needs with environmental concerns for the future. Still, it’s the latter that will prove most important, and we need a leader who can make those tough, perhaps even unpopular calls to legitimately protect the earth.

Of course, some action – even if delayed – is better than no action. The trick is probably to applaud efforts that facilitate change, while continuing to push for better and stronger reform. With that in mind, Good Job President Obama!

Now quick, pursue several more aggressive environmental reforms that have an even bigger impact, and maybe history will actually be able to give you credit for avoiding catastrophe.


Jim Ven
Jim Ven1 years ago

thanks for the article.

Patrice Z.
Patrice Z3 years ago

[Member] wrote to me:
"And how do you expect this country to run if this happens, it would take 60% of the GDP to do this, do you have the 2.5 trillion dollars to pay just for the zero emmisions or the 12 trillion to convert just 1/2 of this country to total green and are you willing to rehire the 1,240,000 people or more who will be put out of work by taking petrolem out of production?"
I replied:
"Good questions. Important questions. I am not trying to imply that this will be easy or sacrifice-free. However, we, as a nation and as citizens of the Earth, need to start doing big things because time is running out, the CO2 levels are too high.

The fossil fuel industry receives an estimated $360 million to $1.6 trillion a year in subsidies. These need to be repealed and used to aggressively implement sustainable energy sources. I cannot find how much the industry save in tax loopholes, but those need to be closed, too.

The Global Climate Crisis is the most significant crisis that civilization has ever encountered. Therefore, it requires a significant paradigm shift. During World War ll and until the late 70's, the wealthiest Americans paid tax rates up to 80%. Harsh? Maybe. But we recognized in wartime the need to have the money required to do what we had to do. After the war, we continued to have high tax rates to invest in our country. It seems prudent to reinstate those tax rates now so we can do as much as we are able to tackle the Global Climate Crisis.

Patrice Z.
Patrice Z3 years ago

Thank you for posting; however, this is frustrating. I have written to President Obama and asked for bold measures. I keep telling him we need to be taking giant leaps for humankind. How about zero emissions for all cars/vehicles? How about stopping all drilling/mining/fracking? How about intense investment in genuinely clean, sustainable healthy energy--wind, solar? (He hasn't written back.)

Laura R.
Laura R3 years ago

Good job! ...for a start. Now we really need some more action! This article is completely right, the future of our planet is more important than modern economic needs.
Obama really is in a difficult position, though.

Brett Byers
Brett Byers3 years ago

Have an impact on climate change for the cost of a cup of coffee: Stop 1000 tons of CO2 emissions by saving acres of rainforest: https://www.rainforesttrust.org/acres-for-50cents/

Darryll Green
Darryll Green3 years ago

want to read about Obama's loses-http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/52284

Nils Anders Lunde
PlsNoMessage s3 years ago


Deborah W.
Deborah W3 years ago

Podesta ... say no more.

Hamburger Moscovici


Val M.
Val M3 years ago

Good on Obama! Now please get Tony Abbott on board.