Writing in the current issue of Rolling Stone magazine, Jeff Goodell, author of "How to Cool the Planet: Geoengineering and the Audacious Quest to Fix Earth's Climate," acknowledges that the president made a deal with automakers to double fuel-efficiency standards by 2025, increased spending for clean-energy research, and “made some impressive appointments to key positions,” including EPA chief Lisa Jackson and Secretary of Energy Steven Chu.
“But overall, Obama's record on the environment has been uninspired – and that's putting it kindly,” Mr. Goodell writes. “He hasn't stopped coal companies from blowing up mountaintops and devastating large regions of Appalachia. He caved in on tightening federal standards for ozone pollution, putting the lives of millions of Americans at risk. And the biggest tragedy: He has done almost nothing to rein in carbon pollution – or even to convince Americans that, in the long run, cooking the planet with coal and oil is a bad idea.”
Presidents can’t do everything at once, and the country again finds itself in a situation where “it’s the economy, stupid” is again the prevailing mantra. Regulating corporate and individual action – particularly for a problem that seems to the lay person to be way off in the future – has become even more difficult.