President Obama unveiled yesterday a long-awaited national strategy to tackle climate change, a sweeping plan that will include cutting carbon emissions at power plants, protecting the coastline from rising seas, and a greater U.S. role in global climate talks. Calling the need to address climate change a “moral obligation,” Obama asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to develop strict new standards on carbon pollution from existing power plants, the largest source of emissions, by June 2014, and complete standards for new plants by October.
He also committed $7 billion for climate mitigation and adaptation projects, and $8 billion in incentives for energy efficiency and other innovations, including carbon capture technologies. Overall, the president’s strategy aims to cut U.S. carbon emissions by 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020. While many environmental advocates have been frustrated by the Obama administration’s climate record, including failed legislation in 2010, some expressed hope that the speech marks a new direction in U.S. climate policy. “Really, this is a moment that’s been 20 years in the making,” David Hawkins of the Natural Resources Defense Council told the New York Times. “Most of the last 20 years, unfortunately, have not been well spent.”
Article appearing courtesy Yale Environment 360.