President Obama plans to make climate change a more prominent issue in his policy agenda for the next four years. During his inaugural address last week, the president pledged to address climate change.

“We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations,” said the president. “Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires and crippling drought and more powerful storms.”

Although the White House has yet to release any specific details of its plans, the administration seems inclined to pursue actions through executive authority, rather than relying on Congress to enact new legislation. One likely action is the finalization of carbon-cutting regulations for new power plants. Environmentalists are also calling on the president to reject the northern stretch of the Keystone XL pipeline.

On Capitol Hill, lawmakers have launched a new task force to address climate change. The group plans to weigh in on how the president can use his existing authority to tackle climate issues. Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) founded the group. The lawmakers have written to President Obama to call for the development of a specific plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions through new regulations, increased investments in efficiency and alternative energy, and international agreements to cut emissions of black carbon and methane.


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