Given the way that president Bush has used executive orders to gut, among other things, environmental rules, it would be deliciously poetic if Barack Obama used his authority under the Clean Air Act, as clarified by the Supreme Court in Massachusetts v EPA, to enact a nationwide cap-and-trade regime. Conservatives would scream about executive overreach and industry groups would say that Obama was working to kill the economy, but I suspect the hubbub would die away pretty quickly (especially once consumers saw that energy prices didn’t immediately skyrocket). It would also allow Congress to keep its powder dry for other legislative fights.
We’ll see. But I wouldn’t be surprised to see him take this action while pushing for a large, infrastructure-focused stimulus package.