Barry Rabe on U.S./China climate deal

November 13, 2014

In the November 13 U.S. News & World Report story, “Obama’s latest climate goal with China, what it will take” Barry Rabe discusses President Barack Obama’s recent pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2025.

The president’s latest goal, announced Wednesday as part of an agreement with China to address climate change over the next two decades, will unite a series of executive actions taken by the administration, according to the article. Obama has largely advanced his climate change agenda through executive action, circumventing a Congress that has failed to enact substantial legislation on the issue. Rabe sees this as a potential impediment to Obama’s long-term climate targets.

“Those are pretty big next steps,” said Rabe of the president’s goals. “It’s pretty hard for me to imagine a policy that would be that sustainable for that long that would only be decided by a lame-duck president through executive action.”

Barry Rabe is a professor of public policy at the Ford School, and director of the Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy (CLOSUP). He is also a non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Much of his recent research examines sub-federal development of policies to reduce greenhouse gases in the United States and other federal systems.

In 2006, Rabe became the first social scientist to receive a Climate Protection Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in recognition of his contribution to both scholarship and policymaking. He holds additional appointments at the University of Michigan in the Department of Political Science, the Program in the Environment, and the School of Natural Resources and Environment.