Barack Obama is set to reveal one of the most significant action plans on climate change in US history, pledging to significantly cut carbon pollution from power plants and help the country meet its climate targets.
New rules under review by the White House and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), set to be revealed on Monday, are thought to be the most ambitious made by any US president to fight climate change.
The plan is said to affect existing coal-fired power plants in particular, which still account for more than 30% US electricity generation and generate a large share of greenhouse gas emissions.
Under the new rules, the US might be able to cut as much as 25% carbon pollution from about 1,600 power plants, a significant step to meet international climate targets and strengthen its position on climate talks with other big polluters.
In a speech at West Point earlier this week, Obama said, “You see, American influence is always stronger when we lead by example. We can’t exempt ourselves from the rules that apply to everybody else. We can’t call on others to make commitments to combat climate change if a whole lot of our political leaders deny that it’s taking place.”
He said that tackling climate challenges was an issue of national security, as the country will be “called on to respond to refugee flows and natural disasters and conflicts over water and food.”
“I intend to make sure America is out front in a global framework to preserve our planet”, he said.
The industry is expected to react angrily to new measures. Laura Sheehan, spokeswoman for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, said, “We fully expect that whatever comes out will be overly stringent, and will be something that is not good for American consumers or businesses”.
Photo: Graeme Maclean via Flickr