In June, President Obama's landmark speech at Georgetown University delivered a powerful message on the dangers the world faces from global warming – extreme weather, rising seas, increased wildfires, epic droughts. "We will be judged," he said, "as a people, as a society, and as a country, on where we go from here." So where do we go? In his first term, Obama enacted tougher vehicle mileage standards and doubled electricity from renewables. But he's still got a long way to go. Here are a few things the president could achieve in his second term.
Crack down on coal.
Coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel, is responsible for a third of U.S. carbon pollution. In 2011, Obama passed strict new rules on toxic mercury pollution, but cutting down on carbon will be harder. After failing to pass cap and trade legislation in the first term, Obama has vowed to use the regulatory powers of the EPA to impose carbon limits on new and existing coal plants. Done poorly, the rules will be tied up in court for years; done right, they could have a major impact on global warming pollution.
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