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. organically

    Thank you, President Obama, for making our climate one of the top five issues of your second term. Our president knows that the increasing and intensifying disease outbreaks, storms, droughts, floods, and wildfires worldwide are all major indicators of climate change, which is directly being caused by human fossil fuel use. In spite of the overwhelming scientific proof of human induced planetary warming, some people are in denial. There are three reasons for this (1) the belief that the rapid change in our climate over the last 50 years is part of a cycle although these cycles take thousands of years, (2) the occasional negative news story, stat, or scandal on the validity of the science, and (3) rightist conservative or tea party ignorant philosophy that climate change is a "hoax.” There are deniers in every scientific fact. Reversing climate change is impossible due to the international thirst for fossil fuels and our overall society living standard. This is not going to change. So, rather than talking about the validity of climate change, let’s ignore the utopian deniers and expand the dialogue on how to adapt and stop dwelling on environmentally and socially damaging energy topics like Solyndra and the keystone pipeline.

    June 22, 2013 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  2. Ira Radnick

    This has nothing to do with carbon reduction folks. It has everything to do with carbon taxation. Like "discouragedinMI" says, prepare for rising prices. This is about as stupid as the rain shed tax in MD where anyone owning land now has to pay for how much rain falls on their property because it places such a burden on runoff impact into the Chesapeaks Bay. What blithering idiots!

    June 23, 2013 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  3. Thunder_Kiss_1965

    Al Gore was quoted saying
    Cha-Ching !!!!

    June 23, 2013 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  4. Volley

    Best way to reduce co2 is to plant more trees.
    Co2 actually goes down during summer in the norther hemisphere due to trees.
    It won't happen though because there is no money to be made.

    June 23, 2013 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  5. John Maroney

    I wish he'd unveil a plan to eradicate corruption and totalitarianism from the government offices.

    June 23, 2013 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  6. biologist speeking

    It is the same old routine of trying o control everybody while they line their pockets. Climate change? Yeah, lets raise the debt so our grandchildren will a be poor, live on food stamps, have no jobs because they killed what was left of industry. Bring in 30 million people from other countries so there are too many people for the jobs left. Lower the quality of life for everyone, make everything cost more and take away all your privacy.

    None of the scandals are going away but they are going to get worse as time goes on. And more of them. Wake up and smell the coffee folks.

    There are good scientists that are telling the world, we are entering a mini ice age, not global warming.

    June 23, 2013 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  7. Right on the Left Coast

    Just one more step to destroying the US by means of unilateral action. Why bother with democracy when you can be a fascist demogogue!

    June 23, 2013 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  8. octopus

    nobody cares. stop wasting money. you need to throw a much bigger bone to people to switch from the Snowden case.

    June 23, 2013 01:42 am at 1:42 am |
  9. Anonymous

    @discouragedinMI
    Prices will rise again. on nearly everything.

    =====

    They will rise even higher if nothing is dome

    June 23, 2013 01:47 am at 1:47 am |
  10. MIke S

    We just had one of the coldest Springs on record. What runaway effect? In the meantime scientists are adjusting their models because their dire predictions have not come true.
    This is all about companies like GE and other environmental companies, who have the president's ear selling technology for billions of dollars at tax payers' expense to reduce carbon that actually benefits plants. This is what trees eat, carbon and they extracted from the air better that any machine at no cost.

    June 23, 2013 02:01 am at 2:01 am |
  11. PS Miller

    The War on Carbons begins.......

    June 23, 2013 02:07 am at 2:07 am |
  12. RK

    There is nothing as climate change and global warming. After seeing so much destruction cant he understand or reason it out why such things are happening. Has he not seen 10 commandments movie? All answers I have provided to the world, deliberately they have ignored. and now paying the price.
    He cannot do any thing in this regard nor its in his powers.

    June 23, 2013 02:17 am at 2:17 am |
  13. scott

    how about tackiling jobs corruption out of control spending first

    June 23, 2013 02:24 am at 2:24 am |
  14. Joan

    I am soooo tired of 'prices' being held over our heads for a reason not to address and do something about climate control!!! Where are our values??!!!! What kind of world do we leave our children!!!!

    June 23, 2013 02:30 am at 2:30 am |
  15. kamarasune

    What he's really trying to say is we need to fleece you more and we can't do that unless you let us hit you with a vat tax that has done absolutely nothing since its inception in Europe. We need to empower the EPA so we can rip away more private property from the hands of the nations citizens and give it away to globalist. Watch and see if its not all about EPA powers and the Vat.

    June 23, 2013 02:35 am at 2:35 am |
  16. bob

    Prices are rising anyway due to climate change and in addition the govt and insurance companies are increasingly paying out to combat climate change. At every step of the way since 1970 the choice has been to pay more in the near term by protecting the environment or to pay less in the near term by "borrowing" from the future. Climate changes will cost much more in the future and the less we do to minimize the damage now the more we will save in the future.

    June 23, 2013 03:34 am at 3:34 am |
  17. Jb

    Lost cause....The majority global mindset is "Stuff it,by the time it really hits the fan I'll be long gone.Why should it cramp my lifestyle,let some future mug worry about it"

    June 23, 2013 04:24 am at 4:24 am |
  18. Rogerd

    Tuesday's speech is nothing more than a "slight-of-hand" that our crack journalist fall for every time from this lame duck President. He will create a controversial issue to "gin-up" his base and draw the MSM into full media coverage and opinion dialogue during prime news coverage...distracting from the main issue....his incompetence to lead both the country and his administration.

    When will America wake-up?

    June 23, 2013 05:53 am at 5:53 am |
  19. Rick McDaniel

    He simply makes a fool of himself, because it takes ALL countries to impact climate change.......not just the U.S.

    June 23, 2013 07:08 am at 7:08 am |
  20. Terik Ororke

    It is the cap and switch ponzi scheme...guess where it will be regulated from: Chicago cap and trade thingy. Guess who has a major stake in that: Al Gore.....at any rate, Cjhina and emerging nations will not go along with it...this admiinistration is about making Americans suffer and become a third world people.

    June 23, 2013 07:09 am at 7:09 am |
  21. Name

    I can only wonder which friend's pockets will be filled by his new plan.

    June 23, 2013 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  22. matkins4268

    you can fool some of the people some of the time DEMS fool DEMS all the time

    June 23, 2013 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  23. Marie MD

    @Larry, IRS exempt status was being monitored by a self proclaimed rethug conservative. Have you seen the car thief lately? Heck no, he's hiding under his desk with that little tail of his in between his legs.
    Benghazi? Nine-ten months later your rethugs can't think of anything to say or do . . . . two down.
    Patriot Act? Started by shrub #43? In the age of facebook, twitter and you tube where some fools want the world to know what they are doing at all times might not be the excuse as to why the government shouldn't be looking out for terrorists, both domestic and foreign.
    That the Earth's atmosphere has passed the normal amount of carbon monoxide we should be breathing? THAT'S NEWS and more scary!

    June 23, 2013 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  24. thebannedgreenman

    It is ironic that Obama will be generating much 'hot air' to promote the myth of global warming.

    June 23, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  25. Steveo

    The biggest contributor to climate change......the hot wind being blow from DC. From both sides

    June 23, 2013 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
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