Climate Change Plan B: Exercise Presidential Authority

“Congress’s inability to cap U.S. carbon emissions contributed to the failure to reach a global climate treaty last year in Copenhagen,” said PCAP Executive Director William Becker. “It now appears that Congress has failed again just months before international negotiators are set to reconvene. “Congress has passed the ball back to President Obama,” Becker said. “He should run with it.”

The Presidential Climate Action Project (PCAP) is a foundation-funded organization of Natural Capitalism Solutions in Boulder, Colorado.  Since January 2007 the PCAP has been working to identify the authority of the President of the United States to “demonstrate U.S. leadership on climate and energy security, with or without additional action by Congress”.

Sound scary?

The PCAP Advisory Board is a veritable who’s who of environmental activists and not a single business person in the room.  In November 2008, PCAP gave the Obama Transition Team a “comprehensive plan” outlining proposed actions on environmental issues ranging from energy security to ocean ecology. On August 5, 2010, PCAP released a new report, The 2010 Plan, proposing actions the Obama Administration should take since Congress failed to enact climate change legislation.

“We believe U.S. leadership remains one of the most important catalysts for an international climate treaty,” said former U.S. Sen. Gary Hart, chair of PCAP’s National Advisory Committee. “It’s time for an historic intergovernmental partnership to achieve significant near-term reductions in America’s climate-altering emissions.”

The 2010 PCAP Recommendations include:

  1. Create a Roadmap to the Clean Energy Economy
  2. Declare War on Waste
  3. Reinvent Transportation Policy
  4. Stop Subsidizing Fossil Fuels
  5. Put Ecosystems and People Back to Work

Sounds good, right?  You better read the fine print before drawing that conclusion.  This action plan is right out of Saul Alinksy’s playbook.  Here is an example from the press release:

“At the top of our list is a full partnership between all levels of government in the United States to build the clean energy economy,” said Terry Tamminen, former secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency and special advisor to California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. “The Senate has debated whether to preempt some of the states’ power to deal with climate change. Instead, the federal government should help states expand the leadership they have shown for more than a decade.

So what?

While this self-nominated and privately funded Presidential Climate Action Project group is free to publish its report and advocate its views, it nonetheless is a chilling reminder of what is at stake in the current political debate and the lengths to which some are prepared to go to achieve their political and policy goals.

In fairness, this is not a government body and the President certainly does not have to take their recommendations.  They come from a vocal, politically active part of the President’s base of supporters and they are more than a little irritated at him right now because their agenda is not being adopted as they expected.  They are pushing him hard to take action to satisfy their goals while there is still time.  They’ve given up on Congress passing climate change this year.   And there may be NO next year for them if the November 2010 elections go as the polls suggest today.

I feel their pain!  I just don’t want to feel THIS Plan B pain or its consequences for America.

What is chilling for me is the desperation for action now and the profound lack of respect for the democratic process and the law to get it.  The willingness to undermine our institutions and values to achieve a specific political agenda shocks me.

Read the Report of this group.

Listen to command and control language of their approach and recommendations.

Make up your own mind.

Does this sound like change you can believe in?