President Barack Obama issued a series of steps Friday to help the nation combat global warming, an issue that may reignite partisan battle lines in Washington.
Obama signed an executive order directing agencies to help make it easier for states and localities to fight storms, droughts and heatwaves, creating a task force to advise the government and requiring better coordination on the federal level.
The task force is comprimised of eight governors, 16 local officials and two tribal representatives. Seven of the governors are Democrats. The only Republican is the governor of the terrority of Guam. It's task is to identify hurdles in federal policy preventing localities from doing their jobs.
“The recent anniversary of Superstorm Sandy serves as a stark reminder of how disruptions to our nation’s critical infrastructure have far-reaching economic, health, safety and security impacts," Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz said in a statement. "As a country, we have a shared responsibility to prepare for storms of increasing intensity and frequency by improving the resilience of our communities to better withstand these events."
The order is part of Obama's second-term climate agenda released in June that promises a series of actions: reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent by 2020, compared with the level of 2005, and rules likely to limit coal-fired power plants. The administration already has a policy that requires cars and light trucks sold in the U.S. get an average of 54.5 miles to the gallon by 2025.
Following is a statement from Natural Resources Defense Council President Frances Beinecke:
“Coming on the first anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, the president’s order could not be more timely. This also is a call for action by state and local governments, as well by businesses and individuals. We must all work together to address the greatest environmental challenge of our time. As we have all learned -- from the storm-battered shores of the Northeast to the bone-dry farms of the Southwest – we must address climate change for the sake of our communities and our children. Climate change knows no borders, nor should our country’s response.”
“We must all work together to address the greatest environmental challenge of our time," Natural Resources Defense Council President Frances Beinecke said. "As we have all learned -- from the storm-battered shores of the Northeast to the bone-dry farms of the Southwest – we must address climate change for the sake of our communities and our children. Climate change knows no borders, nor should our country’s response.”
The executive order is likely to be met with opposition from Republicans, some of whom have questioned the science behind global warming. Congress was not in session Friday.
A new Pew Research Poll poll released Friday shows 67 percent Americans say there is solid evidence that the earth has been getting warmer over the last few decades. But just 25 percent of tea party Republicans agree compared to 61 percent of other Republicans.