Seeking to build his legacy on a core issue for many in the Democratic Party, the president and his deputies in the Environmental Protection Agency and elsewhere will take several key actions over the next 12 months as part of the federal government’s larger effort to combat climate change, specialists say.
Mr. Obama has shown few reservations about using executive powers on climate and environmental issues. In the final few months of 2013, he took executive action directing the government to prepare itself for “the impacts of climate change” and instructed all federal departments and agencies to dramatically increase energy efficiency and reduce fuel consumption at all government facilities.
Those and other executive steps — such as EPA action to reduce carbon emissions from coal plants, a move that could doom the industry — don’t carry the weight of legislation that would pass Congress and be signed into law. They aren’t as far-reaching and can be reversed more easily by Mr. Obama’s successor.
But Mr. Obama’s environmental supporters have fully accepted that, in order to accomplish their aims, executive action remains the most realistic path.
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