By Michael Shank
Before leaving office, President Barack Obama should seize every opportunity and lever at his disposal to propel the United States towards a more secure, sustainable future. America remains one of the top per-capita carbon emitters and unless we move aggressively we will miss our window to act.
The president has forged bilateral commitments with previously recalcitrant countries, such as China, and he has ensured that every tool in his administration’s toolbox – e.g. the 13-agency National Climate Assessment, the Environment Protection Agency, and the Department of Defense – are acting on climate change, including green jobs and a greener curricula.
The White House must now galvanize the public to move from acknowledging climate change – a recognition that remains high among the majority of America – to action on climate change, which remains low. This gap must be closed immediately.
What Americans are powering, transporting, and producing could be substantially leaner and greener and the role of a great president is to impress, nay inspire, the people on the unprecedented nature of a problem. This is bigger than the New Deal and the man on the moon and must impact every aspect of presidential press and policy until this planet is put on a less perilous path.
Michael Shank, Ph.D., is the Director of Media Strategy at Climate Nexus in New York City. He was formerly US Congressman Michael Honda’s Senior Policy Advisor and Communications Director. Michael has a Ph.D. from George Mason University’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution in Climate Conflict. For more about Mr. Shank – click here.