A feisty Obama – 'We don't have time for a meeting of the flat earth society' – cited a list of projects to address climate change, but the centerpiece is crimping smokestack emissions from coal-fired power plants.
Seeking to propel the US faster into the fray on curbing climate change, President Obama laid out an aggressive plan Tuesday to sharply curb smokestack emissions of existing coal-fired power plants and to double wind, solar, and other renewable energy production from today’s levels.
Under a hot summer sun, wiping his brow repeatedly as if to underscore the presence of global climate change, Mr. Obama told an audience of students at Georgetown University that future generations of Americans – including their children – would have to live with the consequences of current US climate policy.
“We don't have time for a meeting of the flat earth society,” Obama said. “Sticking your head in the sand might make you feel safer, but it's not going to protect you from the coming storm. And ultimately, we will be judged as a people and as a society and as a country on where we go from here.”
Though welcoming any support from lawmakers, he said he would forge ahead even without help from Congress, which has not been able to pass a climate change bill since Obama took office.
In going it alone, the president framed his program in terms of what he could accomplish solely with regulatory power of the executive branch in three areas: cutting carbon pollution using the Clean Air Act; preparing the US for the worst impacts of climate change through investment in infrastructure and technology; and leading diplomatic efforts to address the issue internationally.
Measures, he said, would include developing new efficiency standards for buildings and appliances, expanding energy sources like solar and wind on public lands, and bolstering climate-change affected communities. It would also mean investments in a hardened power grid, highways, sea walls, and other infrastructure to prepare for more damaging storms and other impacts of global warming.
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