NY Times' Davenport Nudges Obama from Left to Lead World on Global Warming By Crippling US Coal

On Tuesday, New York Times reporter Coral Davenport nudged Obama from the left ("Governments Await Obama’s Move on Carbon to Gauge U.S. Climate Efforts") to show "how serious [he] is" in getting with the international program to stop global warming. The effort apparently involves the president shackling the coal industry of his own country.

The article's upshot: Global warming will overwhelm island nations and cause mass destruction, and it's mainly America's fault. Yet even reporter Davenport eventually admits that it's China, not the United States, that is currently the world's most harmful polluter, though China gets a pass.

President Obama is expected to announce on Monday an Environmental Protection Agency regulation to cut carbon pollution from the nation’s fleet of 600 coal-fired power plants, in a speech that government analysts in Beijing, Brussels and beyond will scrutinize to determine how serious the president is about fighting global warming.

The regulation will be Mr. Obama’s most forceful effort to reverse 20 years of relative inaction on climate change by the United States, which has stood as the greatest obstacle to international efforts to slow the rise of heat-trapping gases from burning coal and oil that scientists say cause warming.

The president had tried, without success, to move a climate change bill through Congress in his first term, and such legislation would now stand no chance of getting past the resistance of Republican lawmakers who question the science of climate change. So Mr. Obama is taking a controversial step: He is using his executive authority under the 1970 Clean Air Act to issue an E.P.A. regulation taking aim at coal-fired power plants, the nation’s largest source of carbon pollution.





China and the United States, the world’s two largest economies and greenhouse gas polluters, are locked in a stalemate over global warming. While today China pollutes more than the United States, Chinese officials insist that, as a developing economy, China should not be forced to take carbon-cutting actions. China has demanded that the United States, as the world’s historically largest polluter, go first. Chinese policy experts say that Mr. Obama’s regulation could end that standoff.


Mr. Qi said that while he did not expect the Chinese government to publicly comment on the E.P.A. rule, a strong regulation -- like one that led to a 20 percent cut in coal plant pollution -- could stimulate policy changes. “It will have an impact,” he said.

So only after America shackles its own economy will China deign to decide if it wishes to eventually do the same? That dubious bargain didn’t raise any questions for Davenport.

As usual with a Times report on global warming, it's apocalypse now, and so much for national sovereignty:

But scientists have also warned that collective action, with carbon cuts by all the major economies, is essential to achieve the drastic reduction in carbon pollution necessary to stave off the most destructive impacts of global warming.

This December, leaders from many nations will gather in Lima, Peru, at a United Nations summit meeting aimed at drafting a treaty, to be signed in 2015, that would legally bind the world’s major economies to cut their carbon pollution.

Republicans who "question the science of climate change" were characterized as nothing more than obstacles in the way of progress. (Davenport has done that before.)

Many governments are also mindful of the opposition to climate change science in the United States Congress.

Peru’s environment minister, Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, paid attention when Senator Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican who is viewed as a potential presidential candidate in 2016, questioned the science of climate change this month on ABC News’s “This Week.”

“Senator Rubio shows us that there are still people who are skeptical of the science, even though we are already suffering the consequences of climate change,” Mr. Pulgar-Vidal said. “The government faces resistant actors, skepticism from political leaders -- it’s the same in the international arena.”

Perhaps no governments are anticipating the rule with more urgency than those in the small island nations that could be threatened if sea levels rise. A series of scientific reports have concluded that as the planet warms, melting polar ice will drive up sea levels two to four feet by the end of the century, threatening the very existence of some of those islands.



Clay Waters
Clay Waters
Clay Waters was director of Times Watch, a former project of the Media Research Center.