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Obama Prepares to Turn Focus to Climate Change

  • VOA News

President Barack Obama (White House video screen grab).

President Barack Obama (White House video screen grab).

U.S. President Barack Obama will soon announce a set of proposals aimed at fulfilling his second-term promise to curb the growing threat of climate change.

Heather Zichal, the president's chief advisor on energy and climate change, told a forum in Washington Wednesday that Obama plans to issue a series of executive orders to accelerate clean energy development and boost the energy efficiency of appliances and buildings.

Zichal also said the Environmental Protection Agency will use its authority under the federal Clean Air Act to regulate carbon emissions from existing coal-fired power plants. The EPA has proposed regulations on carbon emissions for new power plants.

Scientists say carbon emissions trap heat in the atmosphere, causing temperatures to rise on the Earth's surface, a phenomenon known as the greenhouse gas effect.

The president has pledged to take action against climate change as part of his agenda for his final four years in office. During his speech Wednesday in Berlin, Obama described climate change as "the global threat of our time."

"With a global middle class consuming more energy every day, this must now be an effort of all nations, not just some," said Obama. "For the grim alternative affects all nations -- more severe storms, more famine and floods, new waves of refugees, coastlines that vanish, oceans that rise."

Zichal says none of the Obama's expected proposals require congressional approval.