Obama to tackle climate change in speech
June 22nd, 2013
04:36 PM ET
1 year ago

Obama to tackle climate change in speech

Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama will announce his plans to "reduce carbon pollution" in a climate change speech next week, the White House announced Saturday.

"There's no single step that can reverse the effects of climate change. But when it comes to the world we leave our children, we owe it to them to do what we can," Obama said in a video released on the White House's YouTube page.

In his inauguration address in January, Obama committed to taking action on climate change. But six months into his second term, the president has yet to make any big steps on the issue.

While the Obama administration has already moved to limit greenhouse gas emissions for new coal power plants, environmentalists hoped that his inauguration speech signaled a commitment to implement the same standards on existing coal power - a huge undertaking.

"Establishing strong pollution standards for new and existing power plants is critical for protecting our families and our planet from runaway climate disruption and is something our coalition has worked mightily to achieve," the Sierra Club's executive director, Michael Brune, said in a statement.

The Natural Resources Defense Council also issued a statement Saturday, calling for the administration to back carbon standards at existing plants.

"Combating climate change means curbing carbon pollution - for the first time ever - from the biggest single source of such dangerous gases: our coal-fired power plants," the group's president, Frances Beinecke, said. "We stand ready to help President Obama in every way we can."

Environmentalists have been urging the president to work through executive action, rather than try to get policy passed by Congress.

The president did not outline specific policies in the newly-released video, but hinted he would do so in his speech Tuesday at Georgetown University.

"I'll lay out my vision for where I believe we need to go - a national plan to reduce carbon pollution, prepare our country for the impacts of climate change, and lead global efforts to fight it," he said, looking directly into the camera.

The 90-second video features footage of severe weather, glaciers and landscapes across the country.

"This is a serious challenge - but it's one uniquely suited to America's strengths," Obama said.

While the idea of long-term climate change is a controversial notion politically, it's accepted as fact by most researchers.

Recent polls show about two-thirds of Americans consider climate change a serious problem. According to a Pew Research Center survey in March, 65% of Americans said the issue is either very serious or somewhat serious, while 20% said it's not a problem.

A separate March poll from Gallup indicated nearly half - 47% - of Americans think the U.S. government is doing too little to protect the environment, while 35% said the government was doing the right amount and 16% said it was doing too much.

– CNN's Ashley Killough, Kevin Bohn, Greg Seaby and Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.


Filed under: climate change • Energy • President Obama
soundoff (154 Responses)
  1. Larry

    One more step in Obama's damage control. Benghazi, IRS, spying – all are taking up headline space, so he's killing four birds with two stones – headlines from his nuke reduction and carbon emissions will help balance the negatives, as well as helping to redeem him in the eyes of all the cool-aid drinking liberals who couldn't care less about the scandals as long as Obama stays in power.

    June 22, 2013 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  2. discouragedinMI

    Prices will rise again. on nearly everything.

    June 22, 2013 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  3. dscon

    after trashing his "base" in all the scandals...... the great charlatan must appease his "base"...
    go go go CNN. ;)

    June 22, 2013 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  4. Maddog2020

    Yay higher energy prices. Thanks a lot I am barley scraping by now.

    June 22, 2013 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  5. TAR MAN

    GoreBull Warming – Follow the money.

    June 22, 2013 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  6. am1882

    So... no coal powerplants, but no pipeline so we can't replace them with natural gas.

    How many people is this going to put out of work?

    June 22, 2013 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  7. Phil Hage

    Every proposal from this Administration will have: (1) the identification of a problem that may not be solvable, nor certainly by the US alone; (2) a tax on greedy corporate interests (which WE, of course, will eventually pay; (3) an enhanced government agency to oversea the proposal's progress; (4) a slush fund for crony corporations and other protected groups; (5) a huge bill that no one will be able to read or understand–but one that has to be passed IMMEDIATELY to avoid catastrophe (even though they have had 5 years to deal with; (6) a graduation reduction or shaving of our personal freedoms; (7) lofty goals which will not be realized and may in fact be negatively impacted; (8) a negative effect on the economy (which, we may add was George Bush's fault); and (9) an increase in the deficit, which our children and grandchildren will have to pay.

    June 22, 2013 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  8. kd2019

    We are all responsible for the climate change and we should support the president on this matter.

    June 22, 2013 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  9. Scott

    How much is this going to cost? I am so glad that this has to go thru congress first.
    The out of control spending is the single greatest threat to national security.

    June 22, 2013 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  10. Obamas Uncle

    My nephew is as clueless as a Kenyan lizard. He wants to "..reverse the effect of Climate change". uuummmm it's called weather and it is not man made.

    June 22, 2013 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  11. Dean

    President Barack Obama will announce his plans to "reduce carbon pollution" in a climate change speech next week, the White House announced Saturday.-------------Put everyone out of work or in minimum wage jobs so no one can afford to buy gasoline.

    June 22, 2013 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  12. edward_s

    growing hemp instead of cutting down trees would be a start. We can't let Europe pass us by on this. Added bonus McConnell and Rand Paul want to grow it in their states so the Republican vote would be there. Everyone who's for going green could back it.

    June 22, 2013 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  13. Daisy Cutter

    If people can reduce thier breathing to 3 breaths a minuet , they can reduce thier carbon footprint by 75% .

    June 22, 2013 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  14. Marc

    If we supercharge our atmosphere with CO2, the plants on Earth would experience and EPIC bloom. Saw a great special on this Asian professor who grew a Tomato plant under hypobaric CO2. The tomato plant became a tree and yielded several thousand softball sized tomatoes within it's life. The had to build a wooden support structure to keep the thing from collapsing under it's own weight.

    I think people forget that plants (which create breathable oxygen)....feed on CO2. Last time I checked, our atmosphere was still 79% Nitrogen, 20 % Oxygen and 1% was split up amongst all the other gasses (CO2, Monoxides, Argon, Hydrogen, Helium, Krypton, Methane,Ozone, etc.)

    How much CO2 does he think we're creating, that we need to cut down on it?

    June 22, 2013 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  15. coal miner

    So, Obama wants the coal fields to become a 3rd world country. He just sent Egypt $250,000 million to remain friends and will not help his own citizens. Washington state has radiation leaking into the ground and Obama ignores that. This is like genocide he is committing. Also, he was the devil is the series 'Bible' on The History Channel.

    June 22, 2013 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  16. Bryan

    So, he's just given up on the jobs thing then? It's bad enough Obamacare has slowed down hiring due to uncertainty. Now he wants to add to that? This guy is incorrigible.

    June 22, 2013 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  17. Brandon

    "Prices will rise again. on nearly everything."

    Oh no, no more useless crap I can buy from Walmart and Target.

    June 22, 2013 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  18. jeff

    Keep trying Obama...

    June 22, 2013 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  19. HJC

    Selling carbon credits cheap!
    Get them while they last!

    First 50 buyers get a free US monument as a bonus! Choose from. Mt. Rushmore, Washington Monument, Lincoln or Jefferson Memorial, you choose! Many more options!

    But wait! There is no more!

    June 22, 2013 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  20. jikfive

    How about stopping the government from spying on US citizens?! I voted for you twice and am ashamed. I have no interest in helping you further any more of your policies. I can tell you now where stick your hope and change.

    June 22, 2013 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  21. Dapple

    Hey Larry, just because there's a broken machine doesn't mean the factory stops working.

    June 22, 2013 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  22. Jerry Okamura

    What would it actually take to guarantee that Global Warming will not occur? Can anyone/ will anyone answer that simple question?

    June 22, 2013 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  23. jikfive

    How about you put your energy into stopping the government from spying on U.S. citizens?! As an independent voter I voted for you twice and now I am truly ashamed. I have no interest in helping you further any more of your policies.

    June 22, 2013 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  24. KR

    Good news that Obama is addressing carbon pollution. I hope he can persuade China to do the same!

    June 22, 2013 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  25. Hi41

    This isn't news. It is another attempt by the worst POTUS in history to do something most Americans don't want but is part of his social agenda. Since he can't run for office again he doesn't care what his approval rating is as long as he and his liberal friends can enjoy the perks of office and move their agenda forward. In a socialist society the general population isn't supposed to know anything, it is the elite leaders who are all knowing. That is the way this POTUS and his cadre of liberal advisors govern.

    June 22, 2013 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
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