Obama To Announce Controversial Shift In Climate Change Policy Monday

Controversial Shift In Climate Change Policy
President Barack Obama on Monday will announce details of the Clean Power Plan -- a finalized version of EPA regulations to substantially cut carbon emissions from U.S. coal-burning power plants by 2030. The plan faces staunch opposition from the power industry and coal state representatives in Congress. Photo: Peter Weber / Shutterstock

WASHINGTON, Aug. 2 (UPI) — The White House will outline Monday a major shift in climate change policy intended to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the nation’s power producers, the administration announced this weekend.

The “Clean Power Plan” is the finalized version of regulations that the Environmental Protection Agency first proposed a year ago — to cut carbon emissions from the nation’s power plants, the largest emitters of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

In a video previewing the plan, posted to social media channels Saturday, PresidentĀ Barack Obama called it “the biggest most important step we’ve ever taken to combat climate change.”

“Our climate is changing. It’s changing in ways that threaten our economy, our security and our health,” Obama said in the video. “This isn’t opinion. It’s fact.”

The Clean Power Plan calls for a dramatic reduction in carbon emissions from the coal-burning industry by 2030 — and mandates a more vigorous transition by the nation to renewable energy sources.

“As temperatures keep warming and smog gets worse … Americans will be at even greater risk of landing in the hospital,” Obama said in the video.

However, Obama’s plan is already fighting opposition.

Criticism first started growing when the EPA drafted it a year ago, and it does not appear that it has been embraced with the passage of time. Power industry executives, lobbyists, American commerce officials and even lawmakers are putting up stiff resistance to the idea.

The main concerns are that the Clean Power Plan will have an undesirable impact on state economies and unnecessarily drive up the price of electricity. And those in Congress who represent coal industry constituents are standing firmly in the way of its implementation.

Obama’s plan would require each state to submit their own proposals to cut greenhouse gases, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has already written letters to all 50 governors asking them not to comply with the program. Six have already agreed to do so.

“This plan is all pain and no gain,” National Mining Association executive Luke Popovichtold CNN. “That’s why state leaders across the country are coming to the same conclusion — that we should not sacrifice our power system to an unworkable plan built on a faulty interpretation of the law.”

Environmentalists, though, are praising the plan as a much-needed step in the global fight to slow global warming.

“For the sake of our kids, for the health and safety of all Americans, that’s about to change,” Obama said of coal plants’ ability to emit unlimited amounts of carbon into the air.

“We can’t condemn our kids and grandkids to a planet that is beyond fixing … it’s time for America and the world to act on climate change.”

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