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Obama Takes on Climate Change From the Brandenburg Gate

From the podium where President Ronald Reagan infamously called on the Soviet Union's Mikhail Gorbachev to "tear down this wall!"

During his highly anticipated Berlin address Tuesday, President Barack Obama proclaimed that climate change is the "global threat of our time," and declared that the effor to slow it "required bold action." From the podium where President Ronald Reagan infamously called on the Soviet Union's Mikhail Gorbachev to "tear down this wall!," Obama said "for the sake of future generations, our generation must move toward a global compact to confront a changing climate before it is too late. "

The environmental focus in the speech abroad comes as The New York Times reports the administration is preparing a major domestic policy push on climate change that would put limits on carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants, expand renewable energy development on public lands, and accelerate efforts on energy efficiency in buildings and equipment. After a failed effort by progressives to establish an emissions trading plan in the U.S. with the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, office holders in both parties have reservations about a renewed push on this issue.

Republicans criticize Mr. Obama’s climate policy as government overreach that is holding back the economy. Some Democrats, including those hawkish about climate action, also worry that tough new standards on power plants could slow job growth and raise energy costs, particularly in places like the industrial Midwest that depend on cheap power from coal.

But administration officials signaled that Mr. Obama had decided the risks from climate change outweighed the potential economic and political costs from taking steps to address it.

The National Journal reports that Obama's former campaign organization now advocacy group, Organizing for America, is preparing a campaign designed to build support for the President's climate change agenda.

They're fanning out around the country—to more than 20 states, so far—holding meetings and press conferences aimed at spurring voters to bring up the issue with elected officials. They're preparing to fight back against a national campaign, led by a conservative advocacy group that would roll back state renewable-energy laws. They're starting conversations in churches and town halls about extreme weather and climate-change adaptation. And, they're laying the groundwork to win enough Senate votes to protect Obama's ability to use his executive authority to enact climate-change regulations—with or without the consent of Congress.

On 'Real News' Thursday the panel was joined by Chris Horner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute to discuss what this climate change push could do to Obama's legacy.

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