Tougher emission restrictions set to be disclosed on Monday by Barack Obama have been praised as a strong signal to other big polluters ahead of crucial climate change talks in Paris next year.
Commenting on plans by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to cut US power plant emissions by up to 30%, the UN’s climate chief Christiana Figueres said, “The decision by President Obama to launch plans to more tightly regulate emissions from power plants will send a good signal to nations everywhere that one of the world’s biggest emitters is taking the future of the planet and its people seriously.
“It is also a good signal for the UN secretary-general’s Climate Summit in September and towards securing a new and more importantly meaningful climate agreement by the UN convention meeting in Paris in late 2015.”
The US is the world’s second biggest polluter by volume, after China – though the US emits much more per head. It has been suggested that tougher measures that will be unveiled on Monday could give a boost to climate actions taken by other countries.
However, opponents of the plans said that the new regulations would cut thousands of jobs and raise energy bills.
On Saturday, Obama also outlined the health benefits of the new rules, saying that cutting pollution by 25-30% would reduce asthma cases by 100,000 and heart attacks by 2,100, especially among young people and elderly.
He said, “We don’t have to choose between the health of our economy and the health of our children. As president, and as a parent, I refuse to condemn our children to a planet that’s beyond fixing.”
Photo: Kiril Havezov via Freeimages