By Michael Hoexter
The recent re-entry of the Obama Administration into public discussions and advocacy for climate change action has been a mixed blessing for the climate action movement. On the one hand, President Obama possesses the (U.S.) bully pulpit as President and thus can broadcast messages, which can be heard around the country and the world. Furthermore he leads the executive branch of the US federal government, where his Administration can enforce existing regulations, negotiate international business and political relationships, and set climate and energy targets for the functioning of the federal government’s internal operations. Indications that the US President personally is concerned about climate and assigns it a medium or high priority would, one would assume, make more likely real policy and executive actions, not just speeches. Against the background of relative US government inaction on climate change over the past two and a half decades, the decision to bring the climate issue out of the shadows in the beginning of his last term in office and his June 25th speech would under most circumstances be viewed as a net “win” for climate action and the climate movement, no matter what the exact content of his policy prescriptions.