Can’t lives on Won’t Street


One of the more interesting items on the COP15 webcast page is Yes, he can! How Obama can deliver stronger emissions reductions. The legal argument is presented by Kassie Siegel of the Climate Law Institute, beginning at about 21:40.

The case is made at greater length in Yes, He Can: President Obama’s Power to Make an International Climate Commitment Without Waiting for Congress, a 22-page pdf available through the Center for Biological Diversity, which launched the CLI earlier this year with the express purpose of all out war on global warming.

The Obama administration’s current stance is that it will not propose or agree to anything at Copenhagen that it isn’t certain will pass the Senate. (And we’re stupid enough to call that leadership.)

Siegel and the CLI argue that Obama has the power to enter into a binding agreement – don’t say treaty – under various parts of the Clean Air Act and the Global Climate Protection Act of 1987. Going a little further out on the limb, they argue that he need not even invoke these laws as authority, but can simply go it alone in a “sole executive” agreement.

No one denies that heads would explode all over DC and tv land if he did so. But in light of the crazy and immoral things the executive has gotten away with in recent years, maybe it’s time just this once that executive authority could be used for something good. We all know that it might take the Senate another ten years to even approve the current pathetic proposal, let alone anything meaningful.

It might work, especially if Obama at the same time turned his considerable rhetorical skills loose in a primetime address on the subject. Or is war really the only force that gives us meaning?

But I’m afraid this is a strong case only for what President Kassie Siegel might do, or President Van Jones. Both of which sound pretty good, since we’re dreaming anyway.

That’s not the only interesting part of the video. Marcele Furtado of Greenpeace Brazil makes an impassioned plea for the US to get off its dead ass, and brings up the historical analogy of ending the slave trade in Brazil, when opponents argued that morality be damned, it would simply be too expensive.

And in the discussion period a woman in the audience points out that the American media is hopeless, and suggests an “Adopt an American” program to bring the US citizenry up to speed. She even has the tips ready: you have to translate everything into Fahrenheit, they only understand in terms of energy independence, etc. Between her and Furtado shaking his head in disbelief that these are the people that went to the moon, the segment is a little bit funny. But a lot more sad.


2 Responses to “Can’t lives on Won’t Street”

  1. sisdevore Says:

    Copenhagen will be sabotaged, much like healthcare reform.

    Seems to be the way we do things.

    I heard Brian Williams make some kind of equivalency between the hacked emails and the poorer nations demands. Can’t get much shallower.

    Oh, fuck it can. Will Sarah Palin debate Al Gore on climate change?????

    It reminds me of Tiny Tim’s day in the sun——but it’s lasting way too long.

  2. artemis54 Says:

    Never fear, we’ll soon get two days of wall to wall footage of Obama getting on and off his airplane, not to mention hours of coverage of noted climatologist Inhofe shitting his diaper.

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