News / USA

Environmentalists Embrace Obama Climate Plan

U.S. President Barack Obama rolls up shirt sleeve before speaking about his vision to reduce carbon pollution, Georgetown University, Washington, June 25, 2013.
U.S. President Barack Obama rolls up shirt sleeve before speaking about his vision to reduce carbon pollution, Georgetown University, Washington, June 25, 2013.
Rosanne Skirble
In a major policy speech Tuesday, President Obama outlined a broad plan to reduce climate-changing emissions in a series of executive actions.  None of the measures requires congressional approval.  The plan was met with guarded optimism from the environmental community, but also fears from other sectors that it would threaten the fragile U.S. economy.   

The plan would help curb carbon emissions, prepare the nation for the impact of climate change and expand the U.S. global role in fighting it. Eileen Claussen, president of Climate and Energy Solutions, an environmental policy think tank, calls it an important initiative.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
“Everything is in this plan, from rules at the Environmental Protection Agency to loan guarantees from the Department of Energy, to using federal lands for renewable power, to working internationally from everything from hydro-fluorocarbons to clean energy," said Claussen.

Claussen supports a Congressional mandate to put a price on carbon.  However, that plan has failed to gain legislative support. She says the centerpiece of the president's plan would direct the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to write new rules to reduce power plant emissions.    
Obama Climate Plan Embraced by Environmental Community
Obama Climate Plan Embraced by Environmental Communityi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

“The administration before this has really said it’s on the back burner.  We aren’t really working on it.  But you know that about a third of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions come from power plants, and so in this statement he is making it very clear that he wants EPA to move forward with the rules for both new power plants and existing power plants," she said.

Marlo Lewis is a senior fellow with the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a free market public policy group. He says the directive on existing plants is a step in the wrong direction, especially at a time of high unemployment and a fragile U.S. economy.

“The risk here is that we could have just a sheer dead weight loss of billions of dollars if coal-fired power plants - existing plants which have recently renovated to comply with environmental laws - have to shut down," said Lewis.

Eileen Claussen agrees that the President will face opposition as the EPA moves ahead with rules affecting the more than 6,500 existing power plants.   

“They are all different. And trying to write a rule that would move them all in the direction of clean and green is really challenging.  It’s a challenge on the complexity side. It’s a challenge on the legal side. There are many in the Congress and elsewhere who do not think this should happen at all. So there could be political challenges here too," she said.

Lewis argues that such regulations would also make electricity more costly.    

“And raising energy prices is not a good way to grow the economy and not a good way to create jobs," he said.

Another provision of the plan would help prepare the nation for climate change, a move welcomed by communities already experiencing intense weather events, which will only get worse in a warmer world.

Claussen cites some examples:

“… intense flooding, record breaking heat, extensive drought, wildfires, destructive storms, and the administration is making a commitment here to pull together the tools and information necessary to help communities and businesses strengthen their infrastructure and plan for these types of impacts," she said.

Claussen joins other voices in the environmental community who say that the proposed climate plan is a good step in demonstrating U.S. commitment toward combating climate change, but that the President must vigorously press for its implementation.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid