Obama to announce Tuesday he will regulate existing power plants as part of climate strategy

President Obama will announce Tuesday in a speech at Georgetown University that he plans to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions from existing power plants, according to individuals who have been briefed on the plan but asked not to be identified.

In a statement Saturday afternoon sent via the White House Twitter feed, Obama said that he plans to fulfill the pledge he made in his second inaugural address to “respond to the growing threat of climate change for the sake of our children and future generations.”

“This Tuesday, 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,” the president said. “This is a serious challenge -- but it’s one uniquely suited to America’s strengths.”

For months, environmentalists have been pressing the White House to regulate utilities powered by coal and natural gas, which account for a third of the nation’s greenhouse-gas emissions and 40 percent of its carbon output. Last year the Environmental Protection Agency proposed regulating greenhouse-gas emissions from new power plants, but it has delayed finalizing that rule.

According to individuals familiar with the White House plan, who asked not to be identified since the president has yet to deliver his speech, Obama will couch the effort not only in terms of the nation’s domestic priorities, but as a way to meet the administration’s international pledge to reduce the country’s greenhouse-gas emissions 17 percent below 2005 levels. According to an independent analysis by the World Resources Institute, the United States will need to regulate existing power plants and take other steps as well to meet that goal.

In Saturday’s statement, Obama emphasized the economic opportunities that could come from tackling carbon emissions.

“We’ll need scientists to design new fuels, and farmers to grow them,” he said. “We’ll need engineers to devise new sources of energy, and businesses to make and sell them.”

 

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