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Executive Power

It has become abundantly clear there is a dire necessity for action on combatting climate change.

Whether that action is in the form of environmental policy reform and regulation, or energy policy reform, one thing is clear: maintaining the status quo is a recipe for disaster.

However, the president is not a miracle worker, and is also not a solitary worker. The Constitution requires a balance of power, thus inter-dependency between the three branches, which is a double-edged blade, to say the least.

The checks-and-balances system allows for moderation in the government, which is responsible, but it also allows for lack of progress, which is entirely irresponsible, and maybe even reckless.

That being said, America is experiencing the latter of the two, where one part of Congress wants nothing to do with the executive, and as a result the country as a whole is suffering. There is hope, though.

The president has inherent executive powers to issue executive orders, which don’t need congressional approval or approval from anyone else—they simply need the president’s signature. This is where President Obama could finally make progress in whatever reform he chooses, and there is a lot to choose from.

Obviously, environmentalists would like to see action on protecting the environment and averting further climate change, but there are a lot of aspects within that category which could be addressed by executive orders. For example, fossil fuel use could be addressed, capping carbon emissions at some point, or reassigning subsidies away from the oil industry to more environmentally friendly industries. There could also be funds reassigned to renewable energy programs, such as wind and solar power, or even larger investments in clean public transportation that is efficient and beneficial not only to the environment, but also the consumer.

The possibilities are nearly limitless, especially since executive orders involving health care could be involved. Healthier people means healthier food is being grown, reducing the environmentally harmful effects of unhealthy food, such as the relationship between cows/red meat and methane in the atmosphere.

The only thing stopping executive orders from being issued is the executive, and though executive orders are supposed to be saved for only the most difficult of times, the country may be closer to that than anyone thinks.

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