Obama’s ‘jolt’ puts climate change at center of 2016 race

Aiming to jolt the rest of the world into action, President Obama will on Monday turn his attention to climate change, announcing plans for unprecedented pollution controls on American power plants. The President calls it “the biggest, most important step we’ve ever taken to combat climate change.”

Here’s the details:

Eric Holthaus writes at Slate that the President “wants you to think his climate plan is bold. It’s not.”

As I wrote last year when the rule was initially announced, many states are already well on their way to achieving the required reductions, thanks in part to a recent boom in cheap natural gas and the Obama administration’s choice of 2005 as the basis year for cuts, which was close to America’s all-time peak in carbon emissions. Obama’s plan is significant, but it’s not bold.

A previous version of the targets, announced last year, would have required states to begin implementing changes to their power-producing mix in 2020. The final rule, to be announced Monday, gives states and utilities an extra two years, until 2022. The targets will vary by state, depending on their current energy mix, and states will have flexible ways of achieving emissions reductions, including an option to join an interstate cap-and-trade scheme.

Republicans are already calling the plan a “war on coal” or worse. The Los Angeles Times reports:

By a coincidence of the calendar, as the administration began publicly outlining its plans, many of the leading candidates for the Republican nomination were at a gathering of wealthy donors assembled by Charles and David Koch, the billionaire brothers who have heavily funded efforts to oppose government regulation of the economy, particularly the energy industry.

Speaking to that gathering, at a resort hotel in Dana Point, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), one of the presidential aspirants, said the new plan “will make the cost of electricity higher for millions of Americans” and will achieve nothing because any U.S. reductions will quickly be overwhelmed by increased emissions from other countries.

It’s not as if climate change warnings are a new story, but the President’s stance will certainly have an influence in shaping the 2016 Presidential race.

But, if nothing else makes people take notice, perhaps this will..

***

* POLITICS * At the aforementioned Koch Brothers summit in California at the weekend, five GOP candidates showed up to connect with powerful potential donors. The nominal front-runner, was having none of it, as Ashley Parker writes in the New York Times:

“I wish good luck to all of the Republican candidates that traveled to California to beg for money etc. from the Koch Brothers,” Mr. Trump, who leads in many national polls, wrote in a Sunday morning Twitter post. “Puppets?”

The answer to his question, of course, is a matter of perspective.

On the Democratic side, Vide-President Joe Biden may or may not actually decide to jump in the race, but that doesn’t mean plenty of folks aren’t thinking about it.

Including, apparently, the current Democratic favorite, Hillary Clinton, who has moved up an ad buy originally scheduled for November.

***

* WORLD * Stock markets in Greece are set to reopen on Monday after five weeks, with warnings of an immediate hit for share prices.

A 16-year-old girl stabbed at a gay pride parade in Jerusalem at the weekend died of her wounds. The suspect, who was arrested, was released from prison just weeks ago after serving 10 years for stabbing marchers at the 2005 parade.

Meanwhile there was also a demonstration in Jerusalem, as well as widespread outrage across the world, over the murder of a toddler in an arson attack in the West Bank on Friday.

Fifty years after the Selma march, a protest in favor of restoring the Voting Rights Act is paying tribute to the original marchers by walking 860 miles to Washington DC.

***

* SPORTS * The Athletic world was rocked by what could be a huge new doping scandal after The Sunday Times and German broadcaster ARD revealed details of data covering more than 5,000 athletes’ blood tests, leading to allegations that many Olympic medals had been won “by cheaters.”

***

* CULTURE * Hitchbot just wanted to be friendly. But as Dante D’Orazio writes at The Verge, expecting to be treated “humanely” in Philly was maybe a reach.

All the Hitchbot wanted to do was see the United States. But just two weeks after starting its cross-country journey in Boston, Hitchbot’s trip has come to an unfortunate end. Last night, the cute little robot was vandalized and apparently decapitated in the city of brotherly love.

 

Finally, Priscilla White, who as Cilla Black was one of Britain’s most popular TV entertainers in the 1980s, died aged 72.

 

 

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