President Barack Obama’s climate agenda announced in June 2013 represents the latest of many Democratic Party efforts to address climate change. Although it includes no new legislation, the president’s plan makes unprecedented use of executive branch powers and offers a great many things that appeal to core Democratic constituencies. Implemented in full, power plant carbon rules,
further delays in economically beneficial pipeline projects, and added green energy projects would result in a bigger, more intrusive government that exerts greater control over the economy, rewards perceived “good guys,” and punishes supposed “bad guys.” Not surprisingly, the plan, like all previous Democratic efforts, has earned a suspicious and hostile reaction from conservatives.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Rather than pretend climate change is not a problem, there are ample opportunities for Republicans to point out the obvious flaws in the left’s plans to deal with it and offer alternatives of their own. In short, conservatives can take a page from the liberal playbook and use the climate change issue to push policies that they favor anyway.
The attached policy brief originally appeared in the September 2013 issue of Environmental Law Reporter’s News & Analysis.