Report: Obama can advance climate agenda without Congress

Despite meeting fierce opposition from the GOP in 2013, a group of clean energy experts, business leaders and former government officials believe President Obama's climate agenda has been and will continue to be successful in the coming year.

Obama could advance core measures in the battle against climate change with or without Congress, according to a report released Tuesday and spearheaded by former Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter.


Ritter met with the administration last week to discuss the 207-page report, which includes roughly 200 recommendations on how Obama can utilize his executive authority to push clean energy standards that are in line with the his climate plan.

Obama's former climate czar Heather Zichal, who left her post early this year, also helped craft the report. Zichal said during her time as the president's climate adviser, the administration would continually attempt to reach out to Congress on clean energy standards but received little back.

After getting nothing back from Congress, Zichal said, "we started to focus on what we can do legally" under the president's existing powers.

The five core areas the report focuses on are energy productivity, financing renewable energy, responsible natural gas production, developing alternative fuels and vehicles, and helping electric and gas utilities to adapt.

Zichal remains confident Obama will deliver on these points and more that he laid out in his Climate Action Plan last year.

"Whether it's 129, 200 or 72, the number of executive actions is going to be robust, Zichal said Tuesday.

"The president has a track record of success, and when he finalizes the rule on existing sources, that will be something that no president has ever done," Zichal said of Obama's climate regulations that aim to curb greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants.

"At the end of the day, what's going to keep this report relevant is that the president is going to keep the pressure on his agencies to find new ideas, to find additional areas of opportunity, so that when he leaves office in three years, he will have full confidence that we have done as much as he possibly can do," she said.