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.
Trap natural gas.
Fracking is a nasty business. Among other problems, methane leaks from natural gas wells and pipelines. One recent study found leakage rates of up to 17 percent of production. For the climate, that's a big problem: As a greenhouse gas, methane is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Solution: an EPA crackdown on fugitive methane emissions. Obama is a big natural-gas booster and a quiet supporter of fracking, so this is likely to happen, but he may avoid harder problems like drinking-water pollution or wastewater disposal.
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