Indiana Professor: Obama Should Order GHG Cuts

Prof. Rafael Reuveny, Indiana UniversityProf. Rafael Reuveny
Rafael Reuveny, a professor of public and environmental affairs at Indiana University, says President Obama should bypass the gridlocked Congress and issue an executive order to cut greenhouse gases.

The environmental community is voicing concern after President Obama suggested Congress might move an energy bill forward without a carbon-trading system in place.

According to Rafael Reuveny, a professor at the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs in Bloomington, the entire negotiation in Congress is "politics as usual" and meant to stall or defeat vital climate change legislation.

"We are trying to win this fight for our lives through consensus. Such compromise will never materialize ─ not in this country and not internationally," said Reuveny, co-author of Complex Transformations: Democracy and Economic Openness in an Interconnected System (Cambridge University Press, 2009). "No matter how often President Obama pleads for it, bipartisanship has become a joke. So, while the two sides continue this ridiculous game, Rome ─ read: the planet ─ is burning."

Reuveny said it's imperative that President Obama bypass this unproductive haggling. "He must issue an Executive Order to the Environmental Protection Agency to immediately implement a system that will cut greenhouse emissions of the American economy by meeting the goals set by the Waxman-Markey bill passed by the House in 2009," he said. "He should also order the EPA to design an all-inclusive command-and-control system of greenhouse emission quotas and monitoring to be backed by severe and immediate penalties on units that would emit more than their allotted amount.

"During his State of the Union address, President Obama made a bold move calling out Supreme Court judges, declaring their decision could enable U.S. and foreign corporations to determine our elections," Reuveny said. "Surely, the president realizes that his opportunity to affect this crisis is coming to an end as energy-consuming corporations gain even more political power. An executive order is the only solution."

Reuveny's research focuses on political conflict and how it interacts with international trade, democracy, migration, and the environment.

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