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Toward a Sustainable Future: An Environmental Agenda for the Second Term of the Obama Administration


David M. Uhlmann


University of Michigan Law School

January 25, 2013

American Constitutional Society Issue Brief, 2013
U of Michigan Public Law Research Paper No. 304

Abstract:     
Much was at stake in the Presidential election of 2012, which was marked by heated debate over the trajectory of the economy, the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, and the fate of the President’s health care plan. The candidates disagreed about nearly every issue from foreign policy and the war on terror to a woman’s right to choose and same-sex marriage. Lost amid the din and never mentioned in the Presidential debates or most of the campaign speeches was another divisive topic: how our environmental laws and policies should address global climate change and chart a sustainable future for the United States and the world.

Yet the environment was on the ballot during the 2012 election, despite its absence from the national debate. The President’s efforts to address climate change, promote renewable energy, and provide stronger environmental protection would have been reversed or curtailed if he had lost the election. The environment also arguably influenced the outcome of the 2012 election when Hurricane Sandy struck and gave the President the opportunity to show bi-partisan leadership. It has become almost a cliché to say that no one storm can be attributed to climate change, but Hurricane Sandy underscored both our collective yearning to move beyond partisanship and the moral imperative of decisive steps to address climate change.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 23

Keywords: environmental law, environmental policy, sustainable, Obama administration, Obama

JEL Classification: K32,H20, H50, K2, K23, K30, K40, Q2, Q20, Q30, Q40, Q42, Q48

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Date posted: January 26, 2013 ; Last revised: January 29, 2013

Suggested Citation

Uhlmann, David M., Toward a Sustainable Future: An Environmental Agenda for the Second Term of the Obama Administration (January 25, 2013). American Constitutional Society Issue Brief, 2013; U of Michigan Public Law Research Paper No. 304. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2207017 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2207017

Contact Information

David M. Uhlmann (Contact Author)
University of Michigan Law School ( email )
625 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1215
United States
(734) 764-7362 (Phone)
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