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June 25, 2013 04:09 PM UTC

Obama Lays Out Climate Change Plan

  • by: Colorado Pols

From CNN:

President Barack Obama unveiled an aggressive new climate change strategy on Tuesday that would limit pollution from existing coal-fired power plants, and he made clear that approval of the Keystone XL pipeline depended on the project not increasing overall greenhouse gas emissions.

Obama raised the two politically charged issues during an address on second-term environmental priorities that included his plan of executive actions that don't require congressional approval.

He also pledged global leadership on climate change and to redouble U.S. efforts to fight it.

Obama's speech did a good job outlining the messaging necessary for an effort like this, pointing out that critics have always claimed environmental regulations would destroy the economy, etc., — from as far back as 1970s efforts to create the Clean Water Act, reduce smog and eliminate acid rain — but the gloom-and-doom scenarios never materialized. 


8 thoughts on “Obama Lays Out Climate Change Plan

  1. "We don't have time to be holding meetings with the Flat Earth Society"      

    That may be the best line of the speech.  The President did a great job of laying the foundation:  this use to be a Republican issue.  Teddy Roosevelt was the nation's first conservation President. The EPA was the brainchild of Nixon and Bush tackled the acid rain program with a program that was a 'cap and trade' program.  Bush ||'s was the first President to mention that mankind was having an effect on climate – and it was the Bush || Supreme Court that declared CO2 a pollutant.

    Today's leadership is coming from states and it's time for Washington to catch up.

    There are already the predictable howls from my old party that this will kill jobs and crush the economy.  The vested interests have made these claims all the way back to Nixon.  I had the opportunity to attend a celebration of William Ruckleshaus life last year in DC.  Rucklehaus  was the first EPA Administrator and he shared with us the intimate details from inside the Nixon Oval Office when they forged ahead.  Threats from nearly every major US corporation.  Even though 70% of our navigable waters at the time were flammable.  

    They were lying then – and they are lying now.

    Today we have a wind industry that energizes the equivaluent of 6 million households.  75% of all wind projects in the US are in Republican-held Congressional districts.  The DOD is intending to have 3 gigawatts of installations powering thier bases by 2020.  Today the President announced all federal installations will be powered by 20% renewables in the same timeframe.

    The President called for an end to all federal incentives in new coal plant construction.  And even further, a call to end coal plant development in almost all parts of the globe.  

    The world is waiting for the US to lead.  And we can't win a race unless we're in it.  This transition shouldn't be about donors and monied interests; it's about our posterity.  It's about having healthy children and a healthy economy.  It doesn't have to be a false choice.  We can have both.

    The President also had a resounding message for Canada:  if the analysis shows that developing Keystone will exacberate the climate crisis, it's future may be in jeopardy.  And I'm no wallflower to this fight.  Even if you don't believe in the science of climate change the world simply doesn't need KXL.  If the United States simply converted 17% of their known annual forest and ag waste to next generation biofuels we would produce 3x the energy promised to transcend KXL.  And in the process we would trap all of that economic activity and job creation in rural America.  A recent Bloomberg analysis pegs the jobs creation in the millions. 

    Don't bet against the American worker and Yankee ingenuity.  You'll lose.  Our German ancestors are a living, breathing model of what can happen when you open markets and rally a nation around a vision.

    It's time to stop fearing the future – and time to start shaping our destiny.        

    1. Agree. It's easy to find fault with Obama for not doing enough but this initiative deserves credit.  Just think of where we'd be with a Republican President on these issues.

      1. We'd be talking about pouring yet another $500 million in to the next FutureGen debacle while yelling, "Look, over there —–> Solyndara!!!!!" and looking for the US taxpayer to provide 100% guarantees for the external, long-term costs of nuclear while pretending it's "cheap".  And for good measure we'd be defunding the EPA's ability to enforce the Clean Air Act.

        I had the opportunity to peruse today's talking points by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association regarding the Presidents plan.  Their pushback is so unbelievalbly predictable it's sad.  Lots of talk about leading on an 'all-of-the-above' strategy [which is code for, "damn it Mr. President, we have a coal plant in Kansas we want to build"] and "at present, there is no commercially viable technology that can get this job done." [which is code for, "damn it Mr. President, we have a coal plant in Kansas we want to build"]. 

        But I repeat myself.

        Seriously, you have to be living under one hell of a large rock to miss what's going on everywhere else in the world.

    1. Try keeping up:

      China retook its top spot as global leader in the clean energy race, attracting nearly twice the green energy investment dollars last year as the United States did.

      Investors plowed $65 billion into Chinese wind farms, solar panel arrays and other clean energy projects in 2012, a 20% increase over the year prior, according to a report released Wednesday by Pew Charitable Trusts and Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The numbers reflect only private investments in power projects, and do not include government subsidies or R&D money.

      China's total made it the world's top destination forgreen energy investments in 2012, a position it held in 2009 and 2010 but lost to the United States in 2011.

      In the United States, green energy investments last year plummeted 37% to $35.6 billion, although the country still came in second worldwide.


      1. I think that still makes us #1 in the world per capita, but excellect point.  And your link reminds me of the story of the young child who ended his parents life and then plead for mercy before the court because he was an orphan. 

        The Republicans have a rich history in holding hostage the tax credits and federal programs that benefit the emerging renewables industry [wind production tax credit, solar investment tax credit, BCAP, REAP just to name a few] and then saying 'look!!!, the industry is failing'.  

        It's no surprise that the rise and fall of the industry mirrors those Congressional moments.  All the while holding up Solyndra as a reason to take pause, when in fact their Solyndra, FutureGen, gets zero press.  And when they can't succeed in Congress, they take their complaints to the judiciary branch.

        On this issue the neo-Republicans are once again on the wrong side of history.  Corporate giant Wal-Mart is on a pathway to 100% renewables; the top 50 corporations are making massive investments in renewables and energy efficiency.  And they aren't doing it to 'feel good', they're doing it because they can do 'math'. 

        BTW, solar made up 48% of all new generation put in service in Q1 of this year. 

      2. In any case, not moved by those kind of  "meaningless" arguments which basically mean nobody should do anything worthwhile if others aren't going to. I don't see why that's a good argument for contributing to making a bad situation worse and very often, once the ball gets rolling it gains momentum.

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