Obama to tackle climate change in speech
June 22nd, 2013
04:36 PM ET
9 years 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.

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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. ugh

    Let see ... how can I grab more money and power ... let me think... ooohhh this will work!

    June 22, 2013 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  2. James Anderson

    As RADICALS stir the pot.

    June 22, 2013 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  3. Guest

    Fund the polywell fusion reactor. $200 million to build one to the scale required to find out if it can produce a net gain on energy. I'm pretty sure Congress uses that much money to clean themselves after using the bathroom on Monday morning. If it works, no one will talk about coal except in the history books.

    June 22, 2013 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  4. Realist

    Whatever he proposes or does will crater the economy and make no difference in the Earth's perpetually dynamic behavior. Humans will be extinct by the end of this century or the next so what's the rush ?

    June 22, 2013 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  5. MN needs warming

    It's freezing and soaking wet in Minnesota! Can we please get some global warming and drought here?

    June 22, 2013 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  6. John Tucker

    Closing fixable nuclear power plants and not pushing for more nuclear power has been one of his greatest failures. US emissions are scheduled to rise almost 3 pct this year.

    June 22, 2013 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  7. Spgfld Tom

    Obama's "climate control" plan is to export all our jobs to China. Once accomplished we can all get on welfare and receive our free Obamaphones.
    Larry's right, just a distraction from the all the corruption and scandals of this administration. The Prez is becoming an embarassment

    June 22, 2013 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  8. marctheduck

    It is pointless to focus on this when 1) China and India are the major polluters in the world now (and the US and Europe are already declining in our carbon output), 2) we have much more important problems to address than this presently, and 3) it hurts our economy to press this any faster than we're already going. So, 1) re-focus on our top priorities, 2) work with China and India to reduce their emissions (that's where the actual gains will come from now), and 3) stop acting like such a holier than thou liberal!

    June 22, 2013 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  9. VVVVV

    Climate change legislation does nothing from a national level other than make it look more attractive to do business in countries that don't have as much. If there is something that doesn't add cost and people are for it then great, but if it raises costs and controversy, then best to skip it.

    June 22, 2013 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  10. Liz the First

    Whatever he does to combat climate change will be negated by permitting the Keystone Pipeline. that is the first thing he has to do, just say no to enabling the production of the dirtiest energy source on the planet. Canada needs to rethink and halt the reckless production of tar sands oil. it's a climate disaster waiting to happen.

    June 22, 2013 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  11. billNY

    This guy is so misguided. He is terrorizing our country.

    June 22, 2013 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  12. Smellferd

    More tilting at windmills from a broken administration. These people are beginning to make Bush look like a rocket scientist.

    June 22, 2013 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  13. TLORop

    Larry – we care about real sandals. Benghazi -tragedy not a scandal, IRS – no evidence the targeting was politically motivated or that the order came from the white house, spying – not only is it not a scandal but the GOP knew it was going on when Bush was president.

    June 22, 2013 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  14. Truck

    Why is it that a small % of people want to make the rest of us miserable? Come on man......

    June 22, 2013 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  15. kevin

    Less CO2 also means less NOx and SOx which contribute to smog and water pollution. They are the reasons why I have to put lime on my lawn (thanks to coal plants in the mid-west). That's a cost to me which no coal plant in Ohio pays for.

    Hopefully, prices will incorporate some of the costs to others, or some of the cost will go towards a more sustainable economy. How long do you want to complain about gas prices?

    June 22, 2013 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  16. Larry L


    "...all the cool-aid drinking liberals who couldn't care less about the scandals as long as Obama stays in power."
    I find it hilarious when wingers talk about "Cool-Aid drinking". You folks repeat the hate-media sound-bites like mindless parrots. The "scandals" and conspiracies are all created by your Tea-Bagging Congressmen because they want distractions from the reality of their record – nothing for jobs, healthcare, Social Security or any legislation to help the middle-class. You "Rush-Sean-Glenn-Cool-Aid is the source of all of your thoughts! Hate and racism are big business!

    June 22, 2013 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  17. Wake Up

    What are all these plans to "reduce carbon pollution" mean for the country? Get ready for another 30% hike in your rates so all the energy saving appliances and light bulbs that you bought to lower your utility bill now are not going to save you squat. However, you still have to pay for them and get a higher gas and electric bill.

    June 22, 2013 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  18. Guest

    Just another way to grab more power over the people. This man is taking all our liberties.

    June 22, 2013 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  19. solar transfer

    One solution that needs to be looked at is a solar transfer. This involves the transplantation of millions of solar panels and a complete overhaul in the design and implementation of the way we use to do solar power.

    June 22, 2013 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  20. Walter

    I have no problem with energy costing more to cut carbon emissions....As long as everybody, I repeat everybody, is impacted. None of this "well, the poor can't afford it so we'll figure out a way for the rich to pay for them." Everybody is to blame for global warming, so everybody should have to pay more for energy – whether they can afford it or not.

    June 22, 2013 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  21. george

    Just another hidden tax increase.

    June 22, 2013 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  22. Grinning Libber

    Long overdue and the regressives and Big Oil will have a cat – good! ^^^

    June 22, 2013 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  23. Jack Dawson

    This is just another smoke screen to distract the public from all the scandals. With his poll numbers sagging BO needs something to get he backers back on track.

    June 22, 2013 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  24. Don McLaughlin

    Nothing is more expensive than your home disappearing in a storm or a flood or simply from rising seas. if you can't imagine that, visit the aftermath of storms. Forget the buzz words "global warming" and "Obama this or that" and
    try hard to evaluate these issues on merits instead of does Obama favor it.
    If we don't get this right, our children and Grand children won't have to worry about debt; survival will be the challenge.

    June 22, 2013 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  25. jerpell

    Obama and his very corrupt administration has lost all credibility....
    America and the world laughs at the clown in the white house....

    June 22, 2013 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
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