President Barack Obama announced his plan for addressing global warming and greenhouse gases. His speech Tuesday at Georgetown University contained few new proposals, however. The only news is that he intends to use his executive powers to set new limits on carbon emissions from power generating plants and to encourage alternative energy.
If anything is going to get done, it will have to be through executive orders. A congress that can't pass a farm bill is certainly not going to agree on any clean air program that Republicans warn will throttle the U.S. economy.
We accept that the U.S. uses a lot of energy, and it certainly is incumbent on us to generate it responsibly. But we have to realize we are only a small part of the "global" warming problems. We can regulate our energy plants practically out of business, but what is to be done about the growing consumption of coal and other fossil fuels in China, which certainly has nowhere near our emission standards, or India, or any of the other growing economies in the world?
We can encourage the development of alternative energy but what is being done to encourage countries like Brazil to control the slashing and burning of the rain forests that do so much to take carbon dioxide out of the air?
There have been global environmental summits in the past, which always seem to break down over the issue of demanding the U.S. cut its emissions while allowing developing countries to grow their economies with far less stringent regulations. That's no way solve the problem.