President Obama has laid out a new national climate action plan in a speech given at Georgetown University. “I refuse to condemn your generation and future generations to a planet that’s beyond fixing,” the president said. The three-part plan involves cutting carbon pollution, helping states and cities prepare to weather the impact of climate change, and--in distinctly American language--“lead[ing] the world in a coordinated assault on a changing climate.”
In addition to calling for continuing increased reliance on clean energy, increasing funding for renewable energy development, and reducing energy waste, President Obama spoke in favor of federal limits to the amount of carbon pollution that power plants can release into the air, one of the major sources of carbon pollution in America. “We limit the amount of toxic chemicals like mercury and sulfur and arsenic in our air or our water, but power plants can still dump unlimited amounts of carbon pollution into the air for free,” said President Obama. “ That’s not right, that’s not safe, and it needs to stop.” As part of this new carbon pollution initiative, the Environmental Protection Agency would set new pollution standards for current and future power plants.
President Obama commended states’ efforts in reducing carbon pollution. “More than 25 have set energy efficiency targets. More than 35 have set renewable energy targets,” said the president, stating further that it was “time for Washington to catch up with the rest of the country.” The president’s plan, however, did include continued production of fossil fuels. “Transitioning to a clean energy economy takes time,” President Obama said. The Keystone pipeline also gained mention, and the president said that the State Department is in the final stages of evaluating the proposal. “The net effects of the pipeline’s impact on our climate will be absolutely critical to determining whether this project is allowed to go forward,” President Obama said. To applause, the president called for public financing to stop for new coal plants overseas, "unless they deploy carbon-capture technologies, or there's no other viable way for the poorest countries to generate electricity."
House Speaker John A. Boehner condemned the president’s proposals, stating “These policies, rejected even by the last Democratic-controlled Congress, will shutter power plants, destroy good-paying American jobs and raise electricity bills for families that can scarcely afford it.” In response to claims like this, the president pointed out that economic growth and limiting pollution are not mutually exclusive. He discussed the history of environmentally-concerned legislation, like the Clean Air Act, fuel standards for automobile makers, and CFC regulation, which did not destroyed the economy: “When we phased out CFCs, the gases that were depleting the ozone layer, it didn’t kill off refrigerators or air-conditioners or deodorant. American workers and businesses figured out how to do it better without harming the environment as much.” President Obama also mentioned that GM, Nike, and over 500 other businesses recently issued a Climate Declaration that calls for the federal government to take action on climate change, and that if addressing climate change was bad for businesses, shareholders, and customers, these companies wouldn’t rally behind a call for action.
While some critical details were absent, like just how much carbon pollution is acceptable from power plants, overseas coal plants, and the proposed Keystone pipeline for it to move forward, President Obama did not sugar coat the reality of the problems at hand. "Sticking your head in the sand might make you feel safer, but it’s not going to protect you from the coming storm. And ultimately, we will be judged as a people, and as a society, and as a country on where we go from here." The president urged his audience to "speak up for the facts" and take action: "Convince those in power to reduce our carbon pollution. Push your own communities to adopt smarter practices." A pdf of the climate action plan may be access here. The White House also released an infographic on climate change and the president’s plan to address it here.
image screen capture via White House YouTube Channel
written by Robert, July 01, 2013
written by Mutant for Nuclear Power, July 05, 2013
written by Bill, July 05, 2013
|< Prev||Next >|