Jenner & Block: More Insights On Obama’s Climate Change Plan

Jenner & Block: More Insights On Obama’s Climate Change Plan

Since President Obama's speech at Georgetown, there has been tremendous response and reaction to his proposed plan to address climate change. As to be expected, some support President Obama's proposals while others do not. The threefold approach includes: 1) reducing U.S. carbon pollution; 2) preparing for climate change impacts; and, 3) leading international emission reduction efforts.

In a recent survey of 37,653 respondents in 39 countries by the Pew Research Center in D.C., climate change and fiscal volatility are seen as the top global threats. The greatest concern was expressed by those in Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Asian-Pacific region. In contrast, only four in 10 Americans said the issue poses a major threat.

In a different report published by Pew Research, only 28% of Americans think climate change should be a top priority for the Administration but 69% of U.S. citizens now believe there is solid evidence to support global warming. While 42% of Americans attribute climate change to human activity, it still rates lower than the deficit, immigration and gun control in terms of issues the public want government to address.

Yahoo News reports a number of voices in the scientific community calling his attitude toward climate change bold, and critically important, as well as suggesting paths and strategies the president might follow to better combat climate change.

Mark Tercek, president and CEO of the Nature Conservancy, expressed the importance of protecting natural defenses against climate change like flood plains, healthy forests and coastal features like oyster reefs. He went on to say: "We recommend some important next steps in the challenge to deal with climate change, such as putting a price on carbon; conserving forests and keeping the carbon they store out of the atmosphere by reducing deforestation; investing in research and development that can lead to discoveries applicable in other countries like China and India; and coping with the impacts of climate change by promoting the use of natural defenses."

Certain energy industry sectors have been critical of Obama's plan.

A USA Today report showed coal stocks dropped significantly, tied to fears of how profits will be affected by the cost of the Administration's new rules.

Mike Duncan, the president of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, said in a statement, "Taking America's most significant source of electricity offline would have disastrous consequences for our nation's economy."

While environmental groups and industry have responded to the proposal, the reaction of the American public is less clear at this point. The recent surveys discussed above confirm that Americans do not always view climate change and global warming as priorities given other critical concerns they want government to focus on first.

 E. Lynn Grayson, Partner, Jenner & Block

Read more at Corporate Environmental Lawyer Blog by Jenner & Block LLP.

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