After a long election season with barely a mention of climate change, President Obama brought the topic up at his very first press conference following his re-election. According to the Associated Press, he discussed his previous efforts to reduce the U.S. carbon footprint, such as increasing vehicle fuel-efficiency standards, clean-energy production, and carbon-reduction technology.
But he also recognized that there is a long, hard road ahead. “I am a firm believer that climate change is real, that it is impacted by human behavior and carbon emissions,” he said. “And as a consequence, I think we’ve got an obligation to future generations to do something about it.”
Part of the problem, the President says, is making sure that there is a balance between keeping our economy healthy and addressing climate change at the same time. “If the message is somehow we’re going to ignore jobs and growth simply to address climate change, I don’t think anybody’s going to go for that,” he said. “I won’t go for that.”
Some are proposing a carbon tax for the use of non-renewable resources and greenhouse gases. Some are concerned that such a tax will be overly burdensome to lower income families, but many environmentalists continue to advocate for the bill. The Congressional Budget Office is looking at ways to propose a tax law that would not break lower income families’ budgets.
Perhaps it’s the broadened sense of post-election status, but Obama’s straightforward discussion of climate change—a generally very controversial topic—certainly comes as a relief to many.
“[Y]ou can expect that you’ll hear more from me in the coming months and years about how we can shape an agenda that garners bipartisan support and helps move this—moves this agenda forward,” he said.