Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Obama unveils power plant greenhouse gas limits

President Barack Obama framed climate change as the toughest and most pressing challenge of our time Monday, as he unveiled the first ever limits on US power plant emissions.

"No challenge poses a greater threat to our future and future generations than a change in climate," Obama said, warning: "There is such a thing as being too late."

"This is one of those rare issues, because of its magnitude, because of its scope, that if we don't get it right, we may not be able to reverse," he said at the White House.

"We may not be able to adapt sufficiently."

Obama described the move as "the single most important step America has ever taken in the fight against global climate change".

In an attempt to at least try to slow the process, the US president announced that power plant owners must cut carbon dioxide emissions by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.

Electric power plants account for some 40 percent of US emissions of carbon dioxide, the most common greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.

The plan also gives states an additional two years - until 2022 - to comply, yielding to complaints that the original deadline was too soon. States will also have an additional year to submit their implementation plans to Washington.

'Overreach'

Climate change is a hot-button issue in American politics and cuts are politically sensitive because coal, among the dirtiest energy sources, remains a major US industry.

The issue is currently being raised among candidates for next year's presidential election, as much of the work will lie with Obama’s successor.

Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton has already expressed her support.

In the short-term, however, Obama's invocations got short shrift from the Republican-controlled Congress, which described the measures as "overreach" and "heavy-handed".

The Obama administration has estimated the emissions limits will cost $8.4 billion annually by 2030, although the actual price won't be clear until states decide how they'll reach their targets.

Many Republican governors said their states simply won't comply, announcing that they will sue the government, and ask the courts to put the rule on hold while their legal challenges play out.

It has some influential supporters, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a senator from coal-rich Kentucky while the leader of the House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy accused Obama of choosing a "green legacy over a growing economy".

The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, an industry lobby group, previewed likely legal action, saying Obama's administration was "pursuing an illegal plan that will drive up electricity costs and put people out of work".

Accusing detractors of "scaremongering", Obama insisted that suggestions of higher electricity costs, power shortages and a damaged economy would prove incorrect.

"When president (Richard) Nixon decided to do something about the smog that was choking our cities, they warned that it would ruin the auto industry. It didn't happen," Obama said.

"In 1990, when Republican president George H W Bush decided to do something about acid rains, (they) said electricity bills would go up, lights would go off. It didn't happen."

"We only get one home. We only get one planet. There's no 'plan B'," he said.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP)

  france24.com
4/8/15
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Δημοσιεύτηκε από Geo Kok στις Πέμπτη, 11 Φεβρουαρίου 2021
Δημοσιεύτηκε από Geo Kok στις Παρασκευή, 12 Φεβρουαρίου 2021
Δημοσιεύτηκε από Geo Kok στις Πέμπτη, 11 Φεβρουαρίου 2021
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