The President’s climate plan

On Tuesday President Obama delivered a speech that outlined his most aggressive plan to date to address climate change. It is wonderful to hear a president give such strong emphasis to this issue.

The biggest pieces:

  • The most significant part of the plan was an instruction to EPA to issue greenhouse gas emissions standards for existing power plants.
  • He also seemed to up the bar on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, saying he would grant approval only if it “does not significantly exacerbate the climate problem.”

The President made it clear that he plans to move forward despite skepticism of some about the science.

“I refuse to condemn your generation and future generations to a planet that’s beyond fixing,” he told the crowd, adding later, “We don’t have time for a meeting of the Flat Earth Society.” Some Republicans are saying that the President has “declared war on coal” and are gearing up for a fight. None of his policies require the approval of Congress.

Other commitments that are part of the plan:

  • Energy efficiency standards for appliances.
  • Extensive energy efficiency retrofits of federal buildings.
  • Fuel economy standards for large trucks beyond 2017, when current standards expire.
  • More renewable energy on public lands.

Is it enough? No, but it is a reasonable start given the political constraints. Now Pres. Obama and the rest of our national leaders need to hear that we want these policies and more.

Pres. Obama’s full climate action plan

Washington Post coverage of the plan

Video of the President’s speech

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