The Next Big Move on Climate Policy

President Obama announced on Saturday that he would unveil his plan to combat climate change in a major speech at Georgetown University on Tuesday. According to administration officials, Obama’s plan will include regulations on carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants. The new policy will also include initiatives on renewable power and energy efficiency.

In an online video released by the White House, Obama said, “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.”

The New York Times predicts the new plan to be “the most consequential climate policy step President Obama could take.” Electric power plants are the nation’s top source of carbon dioxide emissions, responsible for nearly 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S.

Republicans criticize President Obama’s climate policy as “government overreach” that is holding back the economy. One of the main objections to the new policy is the contention that the tough new standards on power plants would slow job growth and raise energy costs. However, these concerns were called into question at the Energy Efficiency Forum 2013 in Washington, D.C. last week, as politicians and private sector representatives gathered to advocate alternative energy and energy efficiency.

Fortunately, the administration’s efforts to regulate carbon emissions from existing power plants will not require legislative action or congressional approval, according to sources. To enforce the forthcoming regulations, Obama will rely on a 2007 Supreme Court decision, which confirmed the EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions as part of the Clean Air Act.

Earth Day Network eagerly awaits Obama’s announcement. We have played an active role in the fight to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. As part of A Billion Acts of Green® - Earth Day Network’s environmental service campaign, aimed at accumulating individual acts of environmental stewardship – we have provided a forum for citizens to contact the EPA, urging them to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.