Barack Obama to unveil major climate plan

  • 03/08/2015
Barack Obama (Reuters)
Barack Obama (Reuters)

President Barack Obama is to unveil what he has called the "biggest, most important step we've ever taken" to fight climate change, a sensitive issue central to his legacy.

The White House will on Monday (local time) release the final version of America's Clean Power Plan, a set of environmental rules and regulations that will home in on the pollution from the nation's power plants, setting limits on power-plant carbon emissions.

Laying out how climate change was a threat to the health, wellbeing and security of millions of Americans, and adding that time was of the essence, Obama said in a video released early on Sunday (local time): "Climate change is not a problem for another generation. Not anymore."

"Power plants are the single biggest source of harmful carbon pollution that contributes to climate change," added Obama, who made the battle against climate change a core promise of his 2008 election campaign.

"But until now there have been no federal limits to the amount of that pollution that those plants can dump into the air."

"For the sake of our kids, for the health and safety of all Americans, that's about to change," he continued.

Obama argued that the plans will lead to lower energy bills for everyday Americans and create jobs in the renewable energy sector.

Quite simply, he said, the United States needed to lead the world in saving the planet, ahead of a major meeting of world powers in Paris in December tasked with doing just that.

The new plan sets a goal of cutting carbon pollution from power plants by 32 per cent by 2030, compared with 2005 levels, The Washington Post said. Previously the target had been 30 per cent.

But the move is likely to face fierce opposition from numerous sides, including political rivals and industry groups, as well as possible legal challenges.

Cuts are politically sensitive as coal, among the dirtiest energy sources, remains a major US industry.