Interesting blog post by Chris Nelder at Smartplanet: He asserts that Obama could just order the “FERC” (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) to implement a national feed-in tariff system. Thanks to this tweet by Energiewende Germany for the link.
It is somewhat strange from the German and Japanese perspective that executive legislation should be possible on an issue this important. But since the American legislation process is broken beyond repair, if that assertion by Nelder is true that would be very welcome news.
It would still require that Obama would actually want to do something about that little climate change problem we seem to have. It remains to be seen if that is the case. But anyway, even the theoretical possibility is quite interesting. It would mean that contrary to my first reaction, it might actually make a difference that Romney got defeated because of that storm God sent to make Obama make look good immediately before the election.
Of course, the German experience shows clearly that such a policy would be wildly effective in getting renewable energy deployed at massive speed.
So, yes, this does seem to be an interesting idea.
Update: Obama did express a desire to do something about climate change in his latest press conference. Here is a part of what he said at the occasion:
But we haven’t done as much as we need to. So what I’m going to be doing over the next several weeks, the next several months is having a conversation, a wide-ranging conversation with scientists, engineers, and elected officials to find out what more we can do to make short-term progress in reducing carbon and then working through an education process that I think is necessary — a discussion, a conversation across the country about what realistically can we do long-term to make sure that this is not something we’re passing on to future generations that’s going to be very expensive and very painful to deal with.
When having that conversation, knowing that something can be done unilaterally (without Republicans being able to sabotage the process) should be not without influence on deciding which options to pursue.