President Obama has ventured where no other U.S. president has gone before — the Arctic Circle. But his trip there coincides with another ethereal cause where no other leader of the Free World has traveled: the curbing of climate change and the attempts to win approval in Congress and the courts.
During his trip to Alaska this week, the president sought to underscore his message that fixing climate change is an urgent cause while at the same time, letting the pictures and the people tell the story. There, the natives spoke of how their communities are literally drowning.
And while Mr. Obama has taken this issue — and the environmental cause — further than any of his predecessors, he remains constrained in his advocacy as he is also trying to buoy the American economy. The waters are muddied, so to speak, in that increased fossil fuel production has been an economic lifeline — even while the president pushes for steady regulatory curbs on carbon.
Yet, his approach is entirely realistic, and ironically, given a tacit endorsement by some of this country’s biggest oil companies. That is, President Obama’s approach is to foster both the public and private support for new green energy technologies, which at some point will reach a critical mass and inch their way into the mainstream of American commerce. Essentially, the free market will work — with a little push from the public sector.