Obama and Xi Jinping announcement: a huge step for climate action? Or a backward step?

Obama is currently a ‘lame duck’ president with a hostile senate, and approval rating that suggests a likely hood the next US president may well be a republican.

In Australia when the less conservative party took a position to take steps to address climate change, it became a call to arms for conseratives opposed to any action on climate change.  The conservatives moved from favouring an emssions trading scheme, to effectively opposing any real action.  Then the conservative won power and there was an unwinding of steps to address climate change.

Similarly in the US, Obama taking steps on climate change will almost certainly galvanise those in the republican party who are most doubful about human actiivy driving climate change.   In could become a key platform of the republicans to abandon the very plans announced by Obama.

Of course, the key stategy from Obama to avoid this is to allow the counter position that unwinding Obama’s targets could leave the republicans with a policy that suggests China is more sophisticated that the US.

The initiative by Obama in his current position IS dangerous because of the risk of a backlash, but with China on board it also could possibly work.  Which was will things go? Only time will tell.

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