President Obama has been criticized heavily for not doing enough to stand up to the vicious blitz on climate science. He’s also being attacked aggressively on the right for using his presidential powers to act on environmental issues outside of Congress.
So where does he stand? For those who’ve seen the words “climate change” disappear almost entirely from the President’s lips, he’s been a huge disappointment — even a failure, as Climate Progress editor Joe Romm wrote after the collapse of a comprehensive climate bill. And moving into this week’s climate talks in Durban, the lack of action in the U.S. has substantially reduced the country’s credibility.
But Carol Browner, Obama’s former “Climate Czar” who worked within the Administration to get a climate bill passed, believes the President’s record will be judged on his full range of initiatives, including what he’s been able to do outside of the deeply-dysfunctional Congress.
In an interview on the Climate Progress podcast, Browner shares her perspective on Obama’s environmental record. She points to initiatives like greenhouse gas standards for cars, power plants and oil refineries; clean energy investments from the Recovery Act; and mercury standards from power plants — all being developed during a time of deep hostility to any sort of environmental regulation.
“I would encourage, and I have encouraged my friends in the environmental community to look at the President’s record from day one…. If you look across the two and half/three years of the President’s tenure, what you see is a very, very strong commitment to both environmental protections, and investments in clean energy, and the regulations to create the market opportunities for investments in clean energy technologies.”
Browner was also the longest-serving Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, staying with the Clinton Administration under both terms. So she’s experienced first hand the attacks on environmental regulations, particularly during times of economic stress.
In this podcast, we’ll talk to Browner about why economic progress and strong environmental standards are not mutually exclusive. She’ll also describe why she’s optimistic about the future of clean energy in the U.S., even with a growing political movement to discredit the sector.
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