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Will Obama Seize Key Opportunity to Fight Climate Change?

Environment  (tags: animals, climate-change, CO2emissions, conservation, destruction, ecosystems, endangered, environment, globalwarming, government, greenhousegases, habitatdestruction, healthconditions, nature, pollution, protection, research, science, Sustainabililty, tre )

- 1993 days ago -
Policy experts from the environmental organization Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Tuesday unveiled what they are a calling a "groundbreaking proposal" designed to combat the threat of climate change by sharply reducing carbon pollution -->

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Kit B (276)
Tuesday December 4, 2012, 5:09 pm
( photo credit: Common Dreams )

Policy experts from the environmental organization Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Tuesday unveiled what they are a calling a "groundbreaking proposal" designed to combat the threat of climate change by sharply reducing carbon pollution from America’s fleet of aging power plants.

The proposal, contained in a report titled Closing the Power Plant Carbon Pollution Loophole: Smart Ways the Clean Air Act Can Clean Up America’s Biggest Climate Polluters, promises to thwart the unwillingness (or inability) of Congress to rein in carbon pollution by advocating that the Obama Administration—by implementing regulatory authority already granted to the EPA—go after the country's largest source of climate-changing pollution: emissions from hundreds of US coal and gas-fired plants.

“The President put climate change on the national agenda, and NRDC’s plan shows how the United States can make big reductions in carbon pollution that drive climate change, with a flexible approach that promotes clean energy investments and delivers big benefits for Americans’ health,” said Peter Lehner, NRDC’s Executive Director. “This year’s ravaging heat waves, drought, wildfires and Superstorm Sandy underscore why the nation must tackle head-on the biggest source of dangerous carbon pollution now.”

By calling the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to use its authority under the Clean Air Act to set standards for these existing plants—America’s largest source of carbon emissions that fuel climate change—NRDC says the move would "cut millions of tons of carbon pollution, save thousands of lives and create thousands of clean energy jobs."

Frances Beinecke, president of NRDC, says the proposal is good news precisely because the authority for implementing it already exists. "The Obama Administration already used the Clean Air Act to set carbon standards for cars and propose them for new power plants," she said. "Now the same law can be used to address carbon pollution from existing plants."

“The impact is huge," said Dan Lashof, NRDC’s Director of Climate and Clean Air programs, and a principal author of the plan. "Our proposal would eliminate hundreds of millions of tons of carbon pollution, save thousands of lives and stimulate a surge in clean energy and energy efficiency investments, all at a lower cost than many would expect.”

David Roberts, policy writer at, put emphasis on the fact that Obama could pick up this policy recommendation without any input from Congress, which has repeatedly stalled any and all climate-related legislation in recent years. "This chance to spur decarbonization in the power sector is Obama’s greatest second-term opportunity on climate change," he said.

"The genius of NRDC’s proposal," Roberts continues, "is that it solves the most difficult dilemma facing the agency when it comes to stationary-source regulations."

According the NRDC analysis, which was presented Tuesday at the National Press Club in Washington, the plan would:

* Cut carbon pollution from the nation’s existing power plants 26 percent by 2020 and 34 percent by 2025

* Make large reductions in other dangerous pollutants, such as sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, from existing power plants.

* At a cost of about $4 billion in 2020, save Americans between $25 billion and $60 billion in lives saved, avoided illnesses and reduced climate change.

* Save 3,600 lives, prevent more than 23,000 asthma attacks, avoid more than 2,300 emergency room visits and prevent nearly 1.2 million restricted activity and lost work days.

* Stimulate investments of more than $90 billion in energy efficiency and renewable energy sources in the next eight years.

* Create thousands of jobs, boost local and state economies, and move America toward a clean energy, clean air future.

And Roberts concludes by asking if President Obama will seize the "extraordinary opportunity" of a simple and flexible plan that "is already in [his regulatory] toolbox; does not require any action by Congress; reduces U.S. emissions by 10 percent by 2020; and has the net effect of stimulating the economy through lower power bills and better health."

Roberts contends: "Whether he does will determine whether he goes down in history as a climate champion or someone who, despite lofty rhetoric, fiddled at the margins while Rome burned."

- Common Dreams staff | Common Dreams |

Past Member (0)
Tuesday December 4, 2012, 8:49 pm
Great article. Thanks.

Ben O (171)
Wednesday December 5, 2012, 5:08 am
Will ANY so called political "Leader" in any "Developed" country Seize Key Opportunity to Fight Climate Change? I have the answer: NO they won't! Not in my lifetime! (Sorry to disappoint You, just telling the truth)

lee e (114)
Wednesday December 5, 2012, 6:30 am
I tend to agree with Ben, unfortunately this is too little too late, and what of fracking? What of the President's message of using this country's huge resource of "natural gas" (a dirtier source of energy than fossil fuel?), and one that stands to bring the country lots of $'s in sales to other countries, while we kill ourselves off!
I'm glad I'm old and probably won't live to see the evils of our greed come to fruition, can't say the same for my children and grandchildren!

Kit B (276)
Wednesday December 5, 2012, 7:07 am

The current slow growth of alternative fuels leads us to depend even more on fossil fuels. No, I don't believe that any one in political office will dare to cross swords with the only true giants of this global,, the fossil fuel industry.

Ingo Schreiner (8)
Wednesday December 5, 2012, 9:42 am
we still must try

Michael Barth (43)
Wednesday December 5, 2012, 9:48 am
Noted. Thanks for sharing.

Past Member (0)
Wednesday December 5, 2012, 10:08 am
me, too, tending to agree with Ben. TY, Kit.

Angelika R (143)
Wednesday December 5, 2012, 12:01 pm
Sadly, I will have to agree with the pessimistic suggestions of realists here. It is stated quite clearly in the article:
the toolbox exists already. So take a guess why it has not been utilized so far.(and likely won't for some time)
Look at Doha,- NO PROGRESS as of yet, and summit almost over.
It won't help either if we scream or cry...

Past Member (0)
Wednesday December 5, 2012, 12:19 pm
"Will Obama Seize Key Opportunity to Fight Climate Change?" No

James Doeppers (0)
Wednesday December 5, 2012, 12:20 pm

Sergio Padilla (65)
Wednesday December 5, 2012, 12:56 pm

Yvonne White (229)
Wednesday December 5, 2012, 1:10 pm
"fight Climate Change?" I figure it'll be more of a wrestling match & he'll tag out after a show of opposition..
I'm listening to a CASTLE re-run & just heard:" He's a politician - he can't order at a resturaunt without two compromises & an ultimatum!" Seems about right!;)

Melania P (122)
Wednesday December 5, 2012, 1:25 pm
Thank you, re-shared.

Mary Donnelly (47)
Wednesday December 5, 2012, 2:38 pm
Thanks Kit--great post.

Henrik Thorsen (31)
Wednesday December 5, 2012, 2:47 pm
I'm gonna put my money on "no".

Lois Jordan (63)
Wednesday December 5, 2012, 3:12 pm
Noted. Thanks, Kit. While I do share some pessimism with others, I still have a bit of hope. The number of pro-environmental protection groups have grown a lot and increased activism and publicity. Although the media's "in the bag" as always for corporations destroying the Earth, the number of those journalists speaking truth-to-power is growing. Now's the time to blanket the White House with messages. The article states the power's in the hand of the POTUS.

Lin Penrose (92)
Wednesday December 5, 2012, 3:19 pm
Thanks Kit. I'll vote "No" on Obama's actions, though heartily wish he would.

. (0)
Wednesday December 5, 2012, 3:21 pm
With Obama's miserable environmental record, and his choice for Sec. of State, one can only watch and hope.

Terry V (30)
Wednesday December 5, 2012, 3:42 pm
Very DOUBTFUL, WE the PEOPLE must find a way.............

Planet Earth is Dying

Eve of Destruction

JL A (281)
Wednesday December 5, 2012, 4:21 pm
I'd keep my fingers crossed if that didn't mean I couldn't type...

Audrey B (0)
Wednesday December 5, 2012, 5:35 pm
I hope Pres. Obama takes a steps to stop carbon polution in our atmosphere. We need to get some control over the Climate & Global Warming. The storms in our Country and other Nations are getting worse from these gases.
Time to make changes to help save the World, I hope other Nations are also taking this seriously. We need to start to enforce the Clean Air Act starting ASAP.

greenplanet e (155)
Wednesday December 5, 2012, 5:39 pm
Would like to think yes, but probably not.

Even these cuts are not really enough, but would be better than nothing:
"Cut carbon pollution from the nation’s existing power plants 26 percent by 2020 and 34 percent by 2025"

greenplanet e (155)
Wednesday December 5, 2012, 6:56 pm

But you never know, there might be hope...

Jason S (50)
Wednesday December 5, 2012, 6:57 pm
good posting, thanks

Nimue Michelle Pendragon Gaze (339)
Wednesday December 5, 2012, 6:59 pm

Talya H (10)
Wednesday December 5, 2012, 11:00 pm
Thanks for the share!

irene davis (74)
Thursday December 6, 2012, 1:54 am

Ben O (171)
Thursday December 6, 2012, 5:02 am
If words could fight climate change, there wouldn't be any problems whatsoever. I mean those talks, talks, talks, and more talks that have been going on for 40 years...DAMMIT!!!
In the seventies I was an optimistic idealist (we still had a chance back then), now I'm more of a cynical pessimist. When the children of today will ask us 20-30 years from now: "WHY didn't you do ANYTHING, when you knew all too well what it would take...???" Will we have an intelligent answer...? -I don't think so...

Deborah W (6)
Thursday December 6, 2012, 7:00 am
Of course not ... until ALL PRIVATE ENTITIES are bought-out or regulated-out of the equation by PUBLIC (GOVERNMENT) takeovers and investment to produce more income to waste, all compliments of taxpayers. Sweet!

Question: What about dealing with all the IMMEDIATE people problems, screw future options until present ones are addressed and fixed?

Diane K (134)
Thursday December 6, 2012, 8:01 am
It is a big task to curb pollution in all those nasty smokestacks, but at least an effort! Thanks

Sandra M Z (114)
Thursday December 6, 2012, 9:49 am
NDRC does much good work. Let's get on board with these ideas. As we can see how the climate changes could be exponentially growing faster like the population is growing quickly by the Billions, there is no need to wait and wonder what might be in 20+ years. Doing the best we know how to now, seems like a good plan. If you read the math, why wouldn't we?

Ben, I like the term apocoloptimist:).

Noted, Thank you Kit.

Sue Matheson (79)
Thursday December 6, 2012, 12:42 pm
i hope he takes the intiative

michael sullivan (1022)
Tuesday December 11, 2012, 12:37 pm
noted -- let's hold barack's feet to the fire!
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