More than a generation ago, then-President Jimmy Carter had 32 solar panels installed on the White House to heat water.
That was on June 20, 1979. By 1986, the Reagan administration pulled the plug on research and development of renewable energy sources and pulled down that solar contraption when redoing the White House roof.
What one president adores, another president without a vision for the future will trash. That is what President Barack Obama faces in ordering on Thursday that the federal government cut its greenhouse-gas emissions by nearly half over the next decade.
Obama is doing the right thing, just as Carter did, to try to reduce human consumption of fossil fuels, the creation of greenhouse gases and the growing damage of climate change. The president’s actions could help spur other countries and companies to do more, too.
But the next White House occupant could see the effort as silly and call the whole thing off as President Ronald Reagan did. People call it politics.
However, it won’t make the planet happy or slow the melting of polar ice, coastal flooding or lessen the violence of today’s extreme weather.