Reporting from Washington -- President Bush could be forcing President-elect Barack Obama to act almost immediately to curb global warming, after years of the Bush administration fighting attempts to crack down on greenhouse gas emissions.
Or, depending on which interpretation prevails, Bush could be giving his successor much-needed breathing room on a volatile issue. In its final weeks, his administration has moved to close what it calls "back doors" to regulating carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
It barred the Environmental Protection Agency from considering the effects of global warming on protected species. And, more broadly, it excluded carbon dioxide from a list of pollutants that the EPA regulates under the Clean Air Act.
Environmentalists view the moves as a last-minute attempt to block speedy, executive action by the president-elect on climate change, an issue that Obama repeatedly has called a top concern. And they say those moves could backfire -- by prompting lawsuits and fueling fights over coal-fired power plants that the new administration would need to resolve quickly.