Obama set to un­veil cli­mate change plans

The China Post - - FRONT PAGE -

U.S. Pres­i­dent Barack Obama will Mon­day un­veil what he called the “big­gest, most im­por­tant step we’ve ever taken” to fight cli­mate change, a sen­si­tive is­sue cen­tral to his legacy.

The White House will re­lease the fi­nal ver­sion of Amer­ica’s Clean Power Plan, a set of en­vi­ron­men­tal rules and reg­u­la­tions that will home in on the pol­lu­tion from the na­tion’s ex­ist­ing power plants, set­ting lim­its on pow­er­plant car­bon emis­sions for the first time.

Lay­ing out how cli­mate change is a threat to the econ­omy, health, well-be­ing and se­cu­rity of Amer­ica, and adding that time was of the essence, Obama said in a video re­leased early Sun­day: “Cli­mate change is not a prob­lem for another gen­er­a­tion. Not any­more.”

“Power plants are the sin­gle big­gest source of harm­ful car­bon pol­lu­tion that con­trib­utes to cli­mate change,” added Obama, who made the bat­tle against cli­mate change a core prom­ise of his 2008 elec­tion cam­paign.

“But un­til now there have been no fed­eral lim­its to the amount of that pol­lu­tion that those plants can dump into the air.”

He added that with­out im­pos­ing the un­prece­dented lim­its, “ex­ist­ing power plants can still dump un­lim­ited amounts of harm­ful car­bon pol­lu­tion into the air weekly.

“For the sake of our kids, for the health and safety of all Amer­i­cans, that’s about to change.”

Power plants ac­count for some 40 per­cent of U.S. emis­sions of car­bon diox­ide, the most com­mon green­house gas that con­trib­utes to cli­mate change.

With the end of his pres­i­dency draw­ing ever nearer, Obama ar­gued that the plans will lead to lower energy bills in the fu­ture for ev­ery­day Amer­i­cans, cre­ate jobs in the re­new­able energy sec­tor and en­sure more re­li­able energy ser­vices.

Quite sim­ply, he said, the United States and the rest of the world need to act now to save the planet, ahead of a ma­jor meet­ing of world pow­ers in Paris in De­cem­ber tasked with do­ing just that.

Po­lit­i­cally Sen­si­tive

The new plan sets a goal of cut­ting car­bon pol­lu­tion from power plants by 32 per­cent by 2030 com­pared with 2005 lev­els, The Washington Post said.

In his ini­tial pro­posal a year ago, the tar­get was 30 per­cent.

But the move is likely to face fierce op­po­si­tion from nu­mer­ous sides, in­clud­ing po­lit­i­cal ri­vals and in­dus­try groups, as well as pos­si­ble le­gal chal­lenges.

Cli­mate change is a hot-but­ton is­sue in Amer­i­can pol­i­tics, and cuts are po­lit­i­cally sen­si­tive be­cause coal, among the dirt­i­est energy sources, re­mains a ma­jor U.S. in­dus­try.

Even as nat­u­ral gas gains in pop­u­lar­ity, hun­dreds of coal-fired power plants dot­ted across the coun­try pro­vide about 37 per­cent of the U.S. elec­tric­ity sup­ply, ahead of nat­u­ral gas and nu­clear energy.

In the video, Obama said that global warm­ing and the rea­sons be­hind it were backed up by sci­en­tific data — some op­po­si­tion Repub­li­can party fig­ures dis­pute the ex­is­tence of global warm­ing and oth­ers cast doubt on whether hu­mans are to blame for the phe­nom­e­non.

The Washington Post quoted an un­named White House of­fi­cial as say­ing: “This is the most sig­nif­i­cant ac­tion any U.S. pres­i­dent has taken to curb green­house gases.

“It will form the foun­da­tion of the coun­try’s ef­forts to take on cli­mate change for decades to come.”

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