Obama's Climate Challenge | Politics News | Rolling Stone
The polar ice caps are melting faster than scientists predicted
But if the president is planning any bold action during his second term to combat global warming, there's little evidence of it. "I want to do something on climate," he told a friend and former White House staffer after the election, "but I don't know what." Before his 2008 inauguration, Obama solicited ideas for combating climate change from top environmentalists and energy executives. This time around, there have been no such meetings, and the president has not telegraphed any ideas on climate change to Congress. "If he has a larger strategy on this, I haven't seen it," says the chief of staff to a leading Democratic senator. One Democratic donor and climate activist who visited the White House in December was told point-blank by Heather Zichal, the White House adviser on energy and climate, that the president has no plans to propose any climate legislation to Congress, knowing that House Republicans would shoot it down.
"I think the president understands the climate crisis intellectually, but he has not had the 'holy shit' moment you arrive at when you think about this deeply enough," says a leading climate advocate who has had private conversations with Obama about global warming...Lisa Jackson, a tough inside player willing to stand up to Big Oil and Big Coal, announced in December that she was stepping down. "She was clearly exhausted by the endless political attacks on the agency," says one insider...That means Obama must drop all the talk about "clean coal" and "energy independence" – code words for more mining and drilling – and articulate the hard truths about global warming: that we need to wean ourselves off fossil fuels as quickly as possible, that we'll have to prepare ourselves for life on a hotter, less hospitable planet, and that our suburban paradise of shopping malls, big backyards and SUVs is a relic of an earlier era.
Obama can kick off the conversation by permanently halting the Keystone XL pipeline, which has been dubbed "a fuse to the biggest carbon bomb on the planet."
...the president knows there is little political upside to spending his last years in office focused on a gloomy subject like climate change.