Monday, June 24, 2013

President Obama Set to Unveil a National Climate Change Mitigation Strategy

US President Barack Obama appears to be ready to make good on his promise to address climate change. As reported in the Guardian, the President will unveil a national climate change plan on Tuesday, June 25.

In a video posted on the White House web site on Saturday, the US president made it clear that he understands that climate change is the challenge of a generation.

He is expected to outline his plans to tackle climate change in a speech he will be delivering at Georgetown University. This will include "a national plan to reduce carbon pollution, prepare our country for the impacts of climate change, and lead global efforts to fight it", Obama said.

This is the kind of leadership that many had called for. It is a sad fact that combating climate change through legislation is impossible in the US as the Republicans continue to ride the denial train. The intransigence and obstructionism from Republicans mean that the President will not get the support of the GOP and consequently he will have to use his executive powers if he wants to get something done.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected to figure prominently in the President's plans to reduce climate change causing greenhouse gases (GHGs). White House climate advisor Heather Zichal indicated that Obama will direct the EPA to begin regulating greenhouse gas emissions from already existing coal-fired power plants. This is in addition to the regulations that apply to new plants.

The White House also announced $8 billion in federal loan guarantees to spur investment in technologies that can keep carbon dioxide produced by power plants from being released into the atmosphere.

Obama is also expected to act to encourage greater efficiency as well as announce more support for renewable energy.

The White House video seemed to suggest that the President will tap his council of scientific advisors to develop a comprehensive strategy.

In a Thursday interview with Fox news, house speaker John Boehner indicated that he would resist the President's efforts. Boehner told the Republican mouthpiece that it would be "absolutely crazy" to use the EPA to reduce carbon emissions.

The fate of the Keystone XL pipeline is a high profile partisan issue. It is hard to envision a serious effort to engage climate change that does not do away with the tar sands pipeline.

© 2013, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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