During the same week that a massive storm system threatened millions from Chicago to Boston, former Vice President Al Gore urged President Barack Obama to get serious on climate change.
In a Tuesday Google Hangout, Gore said "we need great actions now," prodding Obama to "get moving" on the issue. His words came on the same day that he lauded Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) as the new face of climate change in Washington.
Gore's words offered a stark contrast to those of Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.), who used a Tuesday House floor speech to demand that Obama apologize to the people of his state for funding climate change research.
"Here is what we absolutely know,” Bridenstine said. “We know that Oklahoma will have tornadoes when the cold jet stream meets the warm Gulf air, and we also know that this President spends 30 times as much money on global warming research as he does on weather forecasting and warning. For this gross misallocation, the people of Oklahoma are ready to accept the President’s apology and I intend to submit legislation to fix this.”
Back in January, Obama used his State of the Union speech to vow that if Congress did not act on climate change, his administration would act unilaterally. Gore's words come as Bloomberg reported Wednesday that the Obama administration quietly passed new rules to raise the costs of carbon emissions. The change was included in a May 31 announcement on energy efficiency standards for microwave ovens, and will raise the amount in 2015 from $23.80 per metric ton to $38.
In a Monday report, Inside Climate News explained further on what the carbon price change means, detailing how the administration's cost adjustments could effect fossil fuel projects and environmental standards. At the heart of the issue is "the social cost of carbon" -- which refers to the price society incurs as a result of carbon dioxide emissions. At that increase of nearly $15 per metric ton, that figure could significantly affect anything and everything from the aforementioned microwave ovens, to the Keystone XL pipeline.