President Obama Unveils Bold Clean Power Plan To Combat Greenhouse Pollution

artiYesterday President Obama unveiled his boldest action plan yet to combat climate change by finalizing America’s power plan that establishes new carbon pollution standards for power plants and seeks to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.

President Obama’s “Clean Power Plan” sets out to save the average American family $85.00 a year on their energy bill in 2030, save consumers $155 billion from 2020-2030, create tens of thousands of jobs, and produce 30 percent more renewable energy generation in 2030 while protecting the health of American families.

Using statistics from NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) that shows globally the 10 warmest years on record all occurred since 1998 and, for the contiguous 48 states, 7 of the 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 1998, President Obama explained in the new plan that now is the time to take action before its too late and costly for Americans.

In 2012 alone climate and weather disasters cost the American economy more than $100 billion.

“We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science — and act before it’s too late.” Obama said in a statement.

U.S. greenhouse pollution consists of 82 percent carbon dioxide, 9 percent methane, 6 percent nitrous oxide, and 3 percent fluorinated gases.

The electricity and transportation sectors accounted for 60 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2012 while power plants account for roughly one third of all domestic greenhouse gas pollution.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced proposed carbon pollution standards for new power plants in September 2013 that become finalized in August 2015 under Obama’s “Clean Power Plan” and entails the United States working with other countries to take action.

The United States is expected to play a leadership role in the United Nations Climate Change Conference held in Paris from November 30th to December 11, 2015 that is aimed at achieving a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, from all the nations of the world.

The Obama administration has led an initiative to end public financing for new coal fired power plants overseas, except in rare circumstances. Other nations including Great Britain, the Netherlands, and Nordic countries have all joined the initiative.

The Obama administration also established the highest fuel economy standards in U.S. history that doubles the efficiency in cars and trucks by 2025.

Passenger vehicles in the U.S will require an average performance equivalent of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.

In 2012, U.S. greenhouse gas pollution fell to the lowest level in nearly 20 years because of new energy saving technologies and a doubling of using renewable energy, according to a report compiled by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

According to the report, “Natural gas and renewable energy generated more than 40% of U.S. electricity in 2014 and are the source of 93% of new power capacity built in the country since 2000.”

Some Republican presidential candidates have already criticized President Obama’s Clean Power Plan.

Here is Jeb Bush’s statement:

“President Obama’s Carbon Rule is irresponsible and overreaching. The rule runs over state governments, will throw countless people out of work, and increases everyone’s energy prices.”

“The fact is, U.S. emissions of greenhouse gasses are down to the same levels emitted in the mid-1990s, even though we have 50 million more people. A chief reason for this success is the energy revolution which was created by American ingenuity – not federal regulations.”

“Climate change will not be solved by grabbing power from states or slowly hollowing out our economy. The real challenge is how do we grow and prosper in order to foster more game-changing innovations and give us the resources we need to solve problems like this one” Bush said in his statement.

Several Democrats including Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) have come out in support of President Obama’s new Clean Power Plan.

Leahy tweeted: As @POTUS said, there IS such a thing as waiting too long to act on climate change. The time to act is NOW.”

Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio, who is known for supporting environmental causes, weighed in as well and tweeted:

“Join us. We can do this. It’s time for America, and the world, to act on climate change.”

-John Schweitzer     schweitz31@gmail.com

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