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Former Republican leaders support Obama’s case for climate action

Date
05 August 2013
Former Republican leaders support Obama’s case for climate action

NEW YORK: Former Republican leaders of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) publicly support Obama’s climate plan and call for bipartisan action to tackle climate change.

The former EPA chiefs, William D. Ruckelshaus, Lee M. Thomas, William K Reilly and Christine Todd Whitman, who all served under Republican presidents, penned an op-ed in The New York Times last week. In it they stress the inevitability of climate change and call for more workable climate policy solutions between the Republicans and the Democrats that ‘transcend political affiliation’. They write: “the United States must move now on substantive steps to curb climate change, at home and internationally.”

Bigger steps

Acknowledging that the ‘current political gridlock’ in Washington would prevent a market-based approach such as a carbon tax from reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the Republicans share their support of President Obama’s recent climate action plan, specifically his pledged reductions in HFCs and emissions from power plants, and planned investment in clean energy.

They suggest that rather than argue against Obama’s proposals, Republicans in Congress should instead endorse them, taking the ‘bigger steps’ needed to secure climate solutions.

But while they back Obama’s progress, they argue more must be done urgently. They write: “[…] we must continue efforts to reduce the climate-altering pollutants that threaten our planet. The only uncertainty about our warming world is how bad the changes will get, and how soon. What is most clear is that there is no time to waste.”

Low carbon economy

The authors also recognize that the US Government’s EPA has developed successful solutions in the past and proven that the perceived compromise between economic growth and climate policy is false. They state: “We can have both a strong economy and a livable climate.”

Evan Juska, Head of US Policy, The Climate Group, said: "As this, and other conservative opinions demonstrate, climate change does not need to be a partisan issue. The impacts of climate change affect everyone and all policymakers should be engaged in finding a solution.

“Republicans and Democrats don't need to agree on all climate change policies. The key, as these authors point out, is to begin a more honest, good-faith debate on the issue, and to work towards solutions that are feasible for both sides."

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By Phoebe Kitchen

Capitol Hill image by DBKing

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