WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Barack Obama is proposing a new national climate action plan designed to cut carbon pollution in the United States, prepare the country for the effects of climate change and lead international efforts to address global climate change.
Speaking at Georgetown University, President Obama detailed the climate change plan that he said will “build on progress that has already been made.”
To cut carbon pollution, the President’s plan directs the federal Environmental Protection Agency to establish new carbon pollution standards for new and existing power plants; makes up to $8 billion in loans available for the development of new fossil energy technologies and invests more in renewable energy.
President Obama said the goal is to make commercial, industrial and residential buildings at least 20 percent more energy efficient by 2020 and cumulatively reduce carbon pollution from federal buildings by at least three billion metric tons by 2030.
In addition, more fuel economy standards will be developed for heavy duty vehicles.
At the same time, President Obama said steps must be taken to prepare for the effects of climate change by strengthening cities that are at risk of severe weather, putting more into the development of sustainable hospitals and working with farmers ahead of droughts.
“Someday, our children and our children’s children will look at us and they’ll ask us, did we do all that we could when we had the chance to deal with this problem and leave them a cleaner, safer, more stable world? I want to be able to say, ‘Yes, we did,’” said President Obama.
The proposal also puts a focus on international climate change initiatives that could involve cooperative carbon emission plans with countries like China and India and calls for an end to public financing support from the U.S. government for new coal-fired power plants overseas, except for those that use the most fuel efficient coal technologies.
Following the speech, U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller said he was interested in seeing the details of the plan. “I understand the President wants to move forward on climate change, but his remarks today (Tuesday) were short on details, and those details matter in the lives of West Virginians,” said Rockefeller.
“Any action on climate change is going to have a direct effect on the lives of our mining communities that are already facing great uncertainties, and on the pocketbooks of every one of our middle-class families still dealing with a recovering job market. We need more from the President to assure our miners and working families they’re part of this plan.”
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin slammed the proposal. “The regulations the President wants to force on coal are not feasible. And if it’s not feasible, it’s not reasonable,” said Manchin in a statement.
“It’s clear now that the President has declared a war on coal. It’s simply unacceptable that one of the key elements of his climate change proposal places regulations on coal that are impossible to meet with existing technology.”
First District Congressman David McKinley said the plan is the next step in, what he also calls, the President’s unrelenting war against coal. “His new strategy is to go around Congress and impose his agenda by using unelected bureaucrats at the EPA to make decisions that will have a disastrous effect on the government of West Virginia and America as a whole,” said McKinley in a statement.
“The regulations the President is proposing would cause thousands of Americans to lose their jobs and raise electricity costs by steering our economy from low-cost energy to more expensive sources. Based on unproven models and theories about what will happen in the future, the President is taking actions that will have real, immediate, negative impacts on our economy today.”
Second District Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito agreed. She said the plan was “another move in the President’s tyrannical game of picking winners and losers in the energy industry,” she said. “Instead of supporting an all-of-the-above plan, President Obama’s devastating regulations will shut down existing coal plants and halt of the development of clean coal technology facilities.”
State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said he is “deeply disappointed” President Obama is bypassing Congress. “The President said today he wanted to make the United States a global leader in the war against climate change. But his battle plan will lead West Virginia further into an abyss of poverty, putting thousands of jobs at risk and putting the state’s budget in jeopardy,” said Morrisey.
“Here in West Virginia, we plan to review every word of every line of every page of these devastating proposals to develop ideas for how West Virginia can fight back. Since West Virginia is ground zero in the Administration’s callous plans to expand poverty, our state must do everything possible to prevent violations of the Constitution and the rule of law. Our children deserve that and more.”
You can read the full climate action plan at www.whitehouse.gov.