I mean, I suppose he has been pretty up-front about his intentions to flout this pesky representative democracy of ours in order to pass the progressive agenda items that those spitefully obstructionist Republicans would otherwise prohibit. There’s that, at least.
But if Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will. I will direct my Cabinet to come up with executive actions we can take, now and in the future, to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change, and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy.
In addition to the many heavy-handed regulations his administration has already issued on the ostensible behalf of his fustian ambitions for retarding climate change, President Obama fairly quietly released an executive order last week that will, in a nutshell, require the federal government to replace 20 percent of the electricity they use with renewable sources by 2020:
MEMORANDUM FOR THE HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES
SUBJECT: Federal Leadership on Energy Management
In order to create a clean energy economy that will increase our Nation’s prosperity, promote energy security, combat climate change, protect the interests of taxpayers, and safeguard the health of our environment, the Federal Government must lead by example. During my Administration, Federal agencies have reduced their annual greenhouse gas emissions by more than 15 percent (7.8 million metric tons) — the equivalent of removing 1.5 million cars from the road. Today I am establishing new goals for renewable energy as well as new energy-management practices. …
To help agencies achieve my Administration’s climate change goals and increase development of new renewable energy sources, I hereby direct the following:
Section 1. Renewable Energy Target. (a) By fiscal year 2020, to the extent economically feasible and technically practicable, 20 percent of the total amount of electric energy consumed by each agency during any fiscal year shall be renewable energy. …
And etcetera. This kind of seems like a relatively small-potatoes directive at first, especially in light of the fact that this order is building (although quite substantially) on renewable-energy targets and goals the federal government already has, but consider that the federal government is the single largest consumer of electricity in the United States, and that this applies to all agencies both civilian and military. It takes a lot of gall to call this an effort to “increase our Nation’s prosperity” and “protect the interests of taxpayers” when this is yet another blatant attempt to use taxpayer money to subsidize their politically preferred energy sources — this time, not through cash grants, loan guarantees, favorable regulations, or tax credits, but by artificially boosting a market for renewable energy that wouldn’t have nearly so much “success” (if you can call it that) on its own. One needn’t look any farther than Europe to see the direct consequences of trying to forcibly integrate more of particular energy sources into the economy into a market that isn’t calling for it: Dramatically higher energy prices and a whole lotta’ backtracking.
Then again, however, the order doesn’t seem to have any teeth, exactly; there are a couple “to the extent economically feasible and technically practicable” thrown in there (and renewable energy ain’t cheap), which makes me wonder if this isn’t just more climate-change showboating designed to appeal to his progressive base and eco-minded cronyists and donors. I mean, of course it is, but we’ll have to see how far they try to take it.