Forty three years ago Congress unanimously passed the Clean Air Act which was subsequently signed into law by a Republican president. Six years ago the Supreme Court declared that greenhouse gases are a pollutant. Fast-forward to the present day.
How fitting that on such a hot day, repeatedly wiping his brow in the summer sun, President Obama delivered a speech on climate change policy. “Science says Earth is changing in ways that will have profound impacts on humankind,” he noted. The debate over climate change has been put to rest.
Today about 40% of America’s pollution comes from our power plants; we’ve limited various toxic chemicals in the air but power plants are still damaging the environment. As such, President Obama has directed the Environmental Protection Agency to limit carbon pollutants. Additionally, with the desire to provide flexibility for states and those companies that have provided leadership in the environmental arena, the directive to the EPA will include a requirement for transparency into how the standards and targets are established.
When President Obama announced that he would be delivering a major speech devoted entirely to climate change policy, many of us hoped that he would announce a decision on the future construction of the Keystone XL / Tar Sands Pipeline. He noted that ”Transitioning to a clean energy economy takes time,” but that “we can’t just drill our way out” of the energy and climate crisis. The State Department is going through the final stages of its evaluation of the proposal for the Keystone Pipeline. He stated that the ultimate goal is to protect and serve our national interests and the net impact of this pipeline will be critical within the evaluation of this project.
In announcing his new national climate action plan the president made it clear that this is a critical matter that requires all of us to pay attention; cooperation is needed from the public sector and the private sector alike along with the participation of all of us across the nation. The president had asked Congress to come up with a plan to address climate change during his State of the Union address. He’s still awaiting action on cutting carbon pollution and the waging of a targeted assault on carbon pollution. Throughout history, he noted, there has been a fundamental lack of faith from both businesses and politicians who have been naysayers and predicted the downfall of the American economy as the result of imposing clean air and clean water standards — none of which happened. ‘We don’t have to choose between the health of our children and the health of our economy,’ he said.
The U.S. produces more natural gas than anyone else; we’ve broadened the economy and helped to drive our carbon pollution to its lowest level in over 20 years. Since 2006 no other country has reduced its carbon pollution more than the United States. The POTUS noted that it’s a good start but that it’s just the beginning.On the domestic front, the president is pushing for a tax credit for wind energy producers; 6 million homes powered by this clean source by 2020 is the goal. Even the Department of Defense — a significant energy user — should comply; the President said that his plan calls for an end to tax breaks for big oil companies and for the U.S. to invest in clean energy creators. Within the next several years the federal government must also reduce its creation of carbon pollution by reducing its dependence on nonrenewable energy sources.
To take on more of an international leadership role there was also a call for an end to public financing of non-renewal energy sources overseas. it makes for better business to support the rest of the world in a push toward a cleaner global environment.
“If we can get together and get this right we can design a sustainable future for your generation… And that’s my plan.”
“We don’t have time for a meeting of the’ flat Earth society.’”
Now let’s see this put into action.