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. koolaiddrinker

    Its not about President Obama remaining in power. Its about change...for everyone. Some people want things to get better for just themselves and couldn`t care less about the rest. That needs to change. But DISCOURAGEDINMI`s comment is a prime example of whats wrong with our cOuntry right. The citizens are too worried about the dividing lines of politics and stereotypes. YOUR WAYS OF THINKING ARE OLD!!! Tighten up.

    June 22, 2013 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  2. Fed Up

    "if we talk about it enough people will start to believe it!". Global warming is happening, I agree to that, but it has NOTHING to do with man!!! It is caused by the natural cycles of the sun and the earth. All these people talking about it are merely getting rich off of it, all the while they are some of the biggest "carbon footprint" humans on the planet! LIBERAL HYPOCRISY at its finest!!!

    June 22, 2013 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  3. Dave

    Executive action is the only way he'll get anything done on this. The GOP house will not even consider doing anything on this. If he does get something done here it may the most important action he will have taken while in office, surpassing even universal health care.

    June 22, 2013 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  4. Fish

    My recommendation is quite different. Simply begin adding hydrogen pumps to existing gas stations allowing everyone a choice to go zero-emission if they wish. No mandates, no pressure, replace 400 million autos gradually as everyone has the ability and we will find that more people will switch faster than being forced. Besides, hydrogen fuel cell autos do not idle and in the long run are cheaper to operate. In this manner we can go green with ease and everyone will like it much better!!! California has already begun since Shell Oil has hydrogen pumps in some of their stations in LA. Jaime Leigh Curtis own a Honda Clarity Fuel cell as does Jay Leno!!!

    June 22, 2013 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  5. chris

    Oh yes the scandals that so far have tuned out not to be scandals., nor even attributed to the White House. Must be rough grabbing for things that are not there.O' will be remembered as one great POTUS

    June 22, 2013 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  6. Guest53

    I look forward to hearing what he will say about this extremely important subject.

    June 22, 2013 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  7. Falsh

    Another job-killing move! The President has yet to take any bold steps to HELP jobs and the economy - the two MAJOR factors in the last elections! Instead, Obamacare and his climate policies do the opposite! Cmtrary to the article there are numerous scientists (liek myself) who question the veracity of research suggesting the "certanty" of MAN-MADE of man-made climate change. Of course there can be signivicant impacts from NATURAL climate change, and zeroing ut carbon emmissions will do NOTHING to affect those changes. Instead, the President once again targets the COAL industry (as he promised before he was elected in 2008) actions will make energy prices increase and put 1000's more out of work!

    June 22, 2013 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  8. Steve

    Instead of tackling climate change how about he tackles the defict? He talks about our kids futures while he spends their money...and their grandkids money.

    June 22, 2013 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  9. Solitairedog

    If Obama wants it, the gop will stop it. He should start proposing the opposite of what he really wants. If he wants our nuke numbers to go down, he should declare that he wants the nuke numbers to stay the same or increase. The GOP will go the other way. Obama wants to help the environment?

    June 22, 2013 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  10. jharry

    "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,"

    He cares about the carbon foot print we might leave behind, but not the debt.

    June 22, 2013 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  11. cm74130

    Another case of President Obama making a good faith effort to keep his promises to the American people. Alas, Congress will almost certainly derail this attempt, won't it? After all, many of our learned representatives don't believe mankind plays any role in global warming. And that the government is too big. And that it is more important to spend the money on national defense. And...

    June 22, 2013 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  12. Mike Texoma

    No wonder "discouraged" is discouraged. He will not light a candle and so is helpless but to curse the darkness.

    June 22, 2013 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  13. Tad in Virginia

    I have a friend in Australia, where they tackled climatic change with surcharges on gas, fuel oil, electricity, etc...and now energy prices are so high, his family turns the heat off at night as they cannot afford the bill. WE had better all get ready for higher everything if President Obama gets this passed. Thank God for a divided congress.

    June 22, 2013 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  14. sirock

    Well stated Larry

    June 22, 2013 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  15. Steven C

    WIthout a committment from developing countries, and unilateral initiative by the U.S. is absolute meaningless and futile and ... will kill the future of the U.S. economically for no real purpose. It will be a very hollow gesture at best and likely drive our country to ruin and bankruptcy for NO REAL DIFFERENCE!

    June 22, 2013 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  16. newshound

    Cars will be banned.

    June 22, 2013 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  17. Neal Kluge

    Please answer this question: If we stop using all fossil fuels now, will 'global warming' stop?

    What will be the pre-determined measure of success or failure of the Tuesday Plans ?

    June 22, 2013 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  18. Mike Texoma

    Business and environmental protection are not antagonistic. An environment conducive to work and training, and productivity, and good morale, and the use of tools and machinery, and good families is also conducive to the conduct of business. America has set the standard in the past, and we have surely prospered by that attractiveness to both business and labor. Investing in our environment is not some liberal ideal, all wide-eyed and crazy. It is a fundamental factor in business growth and development.

    June 22, 2013 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  19. perfect

    Perfect – a hoax of a solution to solve the global warming hoax. Great our government is really on the ball! – we are in good hands. God help us.

    June 22, 2013 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  20. g

    no need mother nature ,will take care of climate change ,and its not going to be pretty and very costly

    June 22, 2013 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  21. Bianca

    Well it's about time!

    June 22, 2013 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  22. Doña Lea-Johnson

    And in the same breath he is killing us with the GMO's and then saying our children are important.

    June 22, 2013 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  23. Eardley Ham Woodbury, MN

    Mr. President:

    How about finishing that which you promised when you were elected? Close Gitmo, clear out of Afghanistan.

    June 22, 2013 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  24. On Target

    What ever is done over the next 50 years will take 1000 to have effect.

    June 22, 2013 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  25. Johnqcit

    I think parents would rather help their kids by having jobs to keep a roof over their heads, so Mr. Prez, work on the economy FIRST then take on other issues. Will he do this? NO, he doesn't know anything but being a polictical activists. This is proof that ELECTIONS MATTER, and boy did the voters get it wrong on this one.

    June 22, 2013 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
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