President Obama laid out his administration’s plan for addressing climate change in a speech at Georgetown University today. The plan includes bold, game-changing policies that will lead to significant reductions in carbon emissions, as well as strategies to begin mitigating climate changes that are already threatening our economy and security. None of the actions mentioned in the President’s address will require Congressional action.
Most notable among the strategies is the President’s direction to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop new emission guidelines to reduce carbon pollution from the dirtiest power plants. These guidelines build upon on the President’s highly successful effort in his first term to develop new greenhouse gas and fuel efficiency rules for cars and trucks, which are already doing more to cut carbon pollution than any other U.S. policy. Developing guidelines for power plants has the potential for even greater emission reductions.
With an investment of less than $4 billion, the EPA could cut carbon pollution from America's power plants by 26 percent by 2020, saving Americans between $26 to $60 billion in saved lives, reduced illnesses, and climate change avoided. And most of that $4 billion would be invested in new energy-efficient technologies and clean energy, both of which put Americans to work.
As the President said, “we owe it to our kids to do something about climate change.” The time to implement these key policies is now.
The Ecology Center applauds the President for doing what he can to reduce emissions. His plan will jump-start the national conversation about the dangers of climate change, but we can not solve the problem with executive action alone. It is time that Congress, as well as state and local government, seriously address the problem with comprehensive and bipartisan legislation. As the President said today, “we don’t have time for a meeting of the Flat-Earth Society.”
Published on June 25, 2013