In his second inaugural address, President Obama promised to “respond” to the threat of climate change, saying the failure to do so would betray future generations.
"Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science," said the president, "but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires and crippling drought and more powerful storms."
But President Obama shouldn’t expect any comprehensive legislation from Capitol Hill.
During his first two years on office, the then-Democratically-led House passed a cap and trade bill to reduce greenhouse gasses. The measure died in the Senate.
California Democrat Barbara Boxer doesn’t doubt the President will use his bully pulpit to push for action on climate change. But the chair of the Senate Public Works and Environment committee says don’t look for sweeping legislation to reduce greenhouse gases.
Instead, Boxer says she’ll fight attempts by the GOP-led House to strip the Environmental Protection Agency of its power to regulate emissions.
She also wants a federal loan program to help landlords retrofit buildings that waste energy.
"There are many old buildings out there that are just polluting like mad," she says. "They need to reduce emissions. They’ll save money."
Boxer says retrofitting would include installing double-paned glass and solar panels.
Boxer says a carbon tax could be on the table if lawmakers are looking for an alternative to the gasoline tax as a way to pay for needed infrastructure.
Currently, roads and bridges are funded by the federal gasoline tax, which has remained frozen for two decades. With more fuel efficient cars, that source of revenue has been shrinking.