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. david

    Might ask China to clean their yard first.We already have no impact on the enviroment.

    June 22, 2013 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  2. SeeThruIt2

    No. Really. This time he means it.

    June 22, 2013 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  3. glenview0818

    Plan to start cutting as soon as he is out of office, sort of a present for the next president.

    June 22, 2013 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  4. bro

    this country needs more coal fired power plants and they can be done without harming the climate. this is all a game to pocket more money for the rich , like selling all our coal to china that is in the works now..we the people are being had over and over with mis information being fed...

    June 22, 2013 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  5. SteveinMN

    YAAAAAAAAY!!!!

    That, and a $4 tax on every gallon of gas, and we'll have made steps toward cleaning this mess up AND improving our independence from the sunbaked cesspool referred to as the 'Middle East".

    June 22, 2013 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  6. erik

    Yup, this is just smoke and mirrors now. No specifics, no laws to be enacted. And with everything else going he is either ignoring what is important or dangerously out of touch. Also shows that he doesn't think the population in general is smart enough to realize what this gesture is really about.

    June 22, 2013 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  7. Mark

    "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.
    "we owe it to them to do what we can"...what about the debt our children will face? Seems no one in the White House cares about that.

    June 22, 2013 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  8. Owl Creek Observer

    In this day and age, why is this man talking about abolishing carbon paper? I didn't know anybody was still using it.

    June 22, 2013 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  9. Charlie

    If we really want to stop pollution we need to get the Chinese and India to drastically cut their emissions. Surely Obama can use his charm to get China and India to reduce their carbon footprint.

    June 22, 2013 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  10. Owl Creek Observer

    In this day and age, why is this man talking about abolishing carbon paper? Heck, I didn't even know you could still buy the stuff.

    June 22, 2013 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  11. smartaz

    I have a plan. Everyone hold your breath for 30 seconds.

    June 22, 2013 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  12. sillyT

    larry, i agree in part. though i am not stupid enough to align myself with a political party (i tend to think for myself rather than abdicate my responsibility as a voting citizen) this is the oldest political trick in the book; blue smoke and mirrors. of course, those stupid enough will jump to this imbecile's defense; there is none. he is a communist bent upon this country's destruction. ding!

    June 22, 2013 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  13. glen

    we don't drink the kool-aid We are upset with the problems in the executive branch. But we are keenly aware that The President is not personally responsible for most things that happen. Time to let go of Benghazi. The IRS... imagine inspecting a group who believe they pay too much in taxes.. These groups of both sides should be prevented from playing in the political arena. As for climate change.. stop drinking the conservative kool-aid... If we do not act our economy is the last thing we have to worry about.

    June 22, 2013 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  14. ATTACKTHEDEFICIT

    I applaud Obama's efforts regarding the environment, but the economy is headed for the toilet if the deficit is not addressed immediately.

    June 22, 2013 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  15. zaggs

    Well now we know why the Obama admin upped the "social cost" estimate of carbon from $22 to $36.

    June 22, 2013 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  16. Alan Smithee

    If you want to know what's coming, look at AB32 in California, the Climate Change bill whereby California is shouldering the burden to solve the carbon emissions of China . . . . the costs are settling on nearly everything through taxes and fees on businesses and utilities for 'Administrative Fees' (another word for 'tax' that goes to run the bureaucracy) and 'emissions allowances', the market credits that are legislated to be reduced each year to the point where businesses go out of business and costs on all manufactured goods and services rise.

    June 22, 2013 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  17. Two thumbs

    What a big change from previous articles CNN has writing on this subject. 9/12/12 Obama Administration War on Coal Claims 1200 more Jobs, 2/13/13 Obama Keeps Coal In Crosshairs...a very long list of articles detailing the negative economic and social impact Obama's energy policies have had on this country. And now...you give us a rainbow and unicorn fluff piece that does not provide a single word of opposition or perspective. How high up did the phone call come from...that is my only question.

    June 22, 2013 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  18. America Suckered Again

    Another bone thrown to his disenchanted liberal base. All politics. All the time.

    June 22, 2013 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  19. Barrack Hussein

    Warmers cooked the books and have no credibility left what-so-ever. This is another huge Obama money grab

    June 22, 2013 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  20. Bill

    Words without action (our president's forte) are meaningless. We have to admit-the man does give good speeches. Let's give him an A in speech. Now, as for action.....

    June 22, 2013 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  21. sidairfoil

    Larry: Or it could be that Obama is trying to govern in spite of Republican distractions and stonewalling. These scandals need attention, but there are still other things that need to be done also. And if Obama spent the next year doing nothing but dealing with these issues, you'd slam him for being more focussed on his image than on his job. Since he can't win with people like you no matter what he does or doesn't do, he might as well ignore you.

    Sid

    June 22, 2013 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  22. Thomas

    Hang on. Republicans about to be pro carbon!

    June 22, 2013 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  23. William House

    We should have spent 10 years of the Reagan Tax Cuts for the Wealthy on Solar Panels that would have been yielding returns for the past 20 years now,

    The Reagan Tax Cuts, 300 billion per year, (9 trillion over 30 years, 7 trillion for interest on the republican debt since 1988), wasted on the wealthy who cut wages for the middle class.

    June 22, 2013 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  24. William House

    Democrats aren't perfect, but Republicans are simply treasonous.

    Show up in the Democratic Primaries for Better Democrats.

    Show up in the General Elections and UNITE to defeat the Republican Scourge.

    June 22, 2013 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  25. AlphaMaryYankee

    The key step to reducing carbon emissions has nothing to do with the US and everything to do with China.

    June 22, 2013 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
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