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Obama unveils broad climate change plan, to deliver major speech today

Ever since Barack Obama took office, climate change activists have implored the President to address the nation about climate change and lay out a clear, principled plan to address it.

Related: Obama Needs to Give a Climate Speech – ASAP (from September, 2009)

Today is their day.

President Obama has released an elaborate strategy to address climate change and will give a major speech detailing the various pieces of his action plan at 1:55 p.m. today at Georgetown University.

Journalists and bloggers describe the strategy as a piecemeal or kitchen sink approach to confronting the issue with a laundry list of initiatives.

The centerpiece of the strategy is a proposed rule to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants by June 2014, an add-on to (already) proposed standards for new (or future) plants. The strategy also features initiatives to improve energy efficiency, increase renewable energy sources, reduce methane, build/enhance international partnerships to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and prepare for/adapt to climate change.

The White House released a promotional video below in advance of the President’s big speech – which broadly lays out the rationale for the strategy and its different components:

Predictably, environmental groups have hailed the plan while conservatives have expressed reservations.

Here are a few reactions:

National Resources Defense Council’s Dan Lashof: The country is facing a threat; the president is facing facts. This plan takes aim at the heart of the problem: the dangerous carbon pollution from our power plants. Reducing that pollution is the most important step we can take, as a nation, to stand up to climate change.

World Resources Institute: A comprehensive climate strategy will provide businesses with greater certainty and drive investments and innovation that can charge the U.S. economy. This announcement will have ripple effects that will increase the urgency of action around the globe.

Center for Climate and Energy Solution’s Eileen Claussen: President Obama is laying out a credible, comprehensive strategy to use the tools at his disposal to strengthen the U.S. response to climate change. His plan recognizes that the costs of climate change are real and rising, and that to minimize them we must both cut our carbon output and strengthen our climate resilience. Putting these critical issues before the American public is itself a step forward. But it will require continued presidential leadership to translate the plan’s good intentions into concrete policy.

Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio): I think this is absolutely crazy! Why would you want to increase the cost of energy and kill more American jobs at a time when the American people are still asking the question, ‘Where are the jobs?’

For more information about the plan, refer to these articles/resources:

Obama tries the kitchen-sink approach to global warming
(Wonkblog, Brad Plumer)

Obama climate strategy represents piecemeal approach (Juliet Eilperin)

Highlights of Obama’s plan to cut carbon

White House Rolling Out Sweeping Climate Measures (Climate Central, Andrew Freedman)

Jason is the Washington Post’s weather editor and Capital Weather Gang's chief meteorologist. He earned a master's degree in atmospheric science, and spent 10 years as a climate change science analyst for the U.S. government. He holds the Digital Seal of Approval from the National Weather Association.
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