Trying is a good stepPublished 10:37am Wednesday, June 26, 2013
With no expectation — and, really, not even any hope — that Congress will develop a coherent energy strategy for the country, President Obama stepped into the gap Tuesday with his own greenhouse gas reduction plan. It is far too soon, and too many details are lacking, to say whether the president’s plan is in itself a good one. What we can say is that it’s a good thing someone is trying to do something about energy policy.
In focusing on global climate change, Obama introduced a plan to reduce greenhouse gases that can, at least in theory, be put into action without the involvement of Congress. It’s a sad commentary on the people who purport to represent Americans’ wishes that their last notable accomplishment was a terribly botched overhaul of health care — way back in 2010. Certainly the issue of complexity is partly to blame for Congressional inaction. Energy policy is an order of magnitude more complicated than health care. Every issue related to energy, from how it is produced to the fuels that are used to who uses the energy and when, is tangled with every other. But the difficulty of the task does not excuse Congress for its inability — or unwillingness — to devise a unified energy strategy.
The real fault lies with the partisan bickering and influence-peddling that underlie almost everything Congress does — or, more often, doesn’t do. The idea of governing has long been lost amidst the minutiae of keeping contributors happy and hewing to the party line. So the nation stagnates amidst its dwindling reserves of fossil fuels.
As details emerge, there will no doubt prove to be many missing pieces — or just plain bad pieces — in the president’s greenhouse gas plan. But even if it’s a bad plan, it at least gets a major need into the forefront of public debate.