By Todd Cort December 19 at 12:32 PM
Todd Cort is a lecturer in sustainability at the Yale School of Management and faculty co-director of the Yale Center for Business and the Environment.
Excerpt: Over the course of the last 200 plus years, the electoral college, which provides for stronger voting power per person in more rural and less populated states, has elected four U.S. presidents who clearly lost the popular vote (1876, 1888, 2000 and 2016). Two of those elections have occurred during the period in which we have known about the causes and impacts of carbon dioxide emissions and climate change and in both cases, the impacts of those elections have very likely had profound impacts on our actions to address the challenge.
In atmospheric carbon dioxide terms, the eight years of the Bush administration represent the rise from 370 parts per million to 385 parts per million as result of global emissions (about 13 percent of the rise in carbon dioxide since the days of Brearley and about 0.15oC average global rise in temperature).
Not only did those eight years contribute to the issue, they represent a missed opportunity to address the challenge that is now upon us. The administration could have moved on climate change to not only reduce U.S. emissions, but to engage and lead the global community to slow emissions from China (which has now become the largest emitter), India, the European Union and elsewhere.
The Obama administration did not solve climate change, but it did make significant strides both domestically and in international agreements.