President Barack Obama departs Monday on a three-day voyage to Alaska to try to drum up excitement for his massive, unilateral climate change agenda.
With support lacking in Congress for a “cap-and-trade” carbon reduction program, Obama decided to take matters into his own hands and is using the Clean Air Act to regulate carbon emissions. A regulation issued earlier this month by the Environmental Protection Agency requires a 32-percent cut in power plant emissions by 2030 from levels that existed in 2005.
Obama views climate change as a “legacy” issue and hopes to go down in history as the president who seriously addressed it and, to his mind, saved the planet. His more immediate goal is to generate support for an international climate change deal he hopes to strike this December in Paris, with America’s carbon cuts leading the way.
Obama’s aggressive Arctic global warming push comes as he is being accused of being a hypocrite by environmentalists for allowing Royal Dutch Shell to drill in the Arctic waters off Alaska’s northern coast.
The trip this week includes a “hike” on Tuesday to Exit Glacier and a boat tour of Kenai Fjords National Park, all so that he will “have the opportunity to view the effects of climate change firsthand,” according to the White House.
Before that, however, the White House will showcase the “victims” of climate change. Obama on Monday will be in Anchorage where he will meet with “leaders from the Alaska Native community” whose “way of life” is threatened by global warming, the White House says.
Obama also plans to announce that he is renaming America’s tallest mountain, Mount McKinley, declaring it will henceforth be known by its original Native American name, Mount Denali.
“Higher average temperatures are diminishing the range of winter sea ice, allowing heavy storm surges that sea ice once kept at bay to batter the Alaskan coastline, and interrupting the winter hunting season for Alaska Natives,” the White House said in a statement. “Rising ocean temperatures and increasing acidity are affecting marine life, including the fish, shellfish, and marine mammals on which generations of Alaska Natives have depended.”
On Wednesday, Obama will travel to Dillingham, Alaska, where he will meet with more victims — local fishermen and their families.
Showcasing those supposedly adversely affected by the failure to implement presidential priorities is a classic White House PR device. White House reporters, forced to cover such carefully staged events, refer ironically to such people trotted out by the White House as “the sob stories.”
While in Anchorage, Obama will also deliver a speech on climate change to an assembly of scientists and others.
While in Anchorage, Obama will also deliver a speech on climate change to an assembly of scientists, policymakers and foreign ministers from Arctic nations and other “key” countries, the White House said.
While in Alaska, Obama plans to use the opportunity to announce he is renaming America’s tallest mountain, Mount McKinley, declaring it will henceforth be known by its original Native American name, Mount Denali.
The Alaska trip is part of a concerted effort by the White House to highlight the climate change issue. The president referenced it during his trip to New Orleans last week to mark the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, although there is no evidence the hurricane had anything to do with climate change.
He also plans to discuss climate change during his meeting in September with Pope Francis.