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

    S. African Farmer Goes From 'Voice in the Wilderness' to Sought-After Expert

    Margarest Roberts has authored more than 40 books on subjects like organic farming, urban agriculture, herbs and ‘superfoods'

    Millennial Men Prefer Bucks Over Beauty

    U.S. men aged 18 to 34 say the finances of a potential significant other are more important than her looks

    Multimedia Lebanese Clown Troupe Marks Valentine's Day Amid Stink

    Activists resort to unusual approaches to raise public awareness of country’s ongoing trash crisis

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.