When President Obama was (re)elected, he promised to deliver a comprehensive plan to tackle the serious issues brought about by climate change. On Wednesday, 6/25, at Georgetown University, he (finally) did exactly that.
After the 12 warmest years in recorded history, the President detailed a plan to cut carbon pollution, prepare the United States for the impacts of climate change, and lead international efforts to fight climate change. The White House Council on Environmental Quality also released an excellent infographic and fact sheet detailing the President’s plan (the full text of his speech can be found here).
In his speech, the President stated that we have an “obligation to leave our children a planet that’s not polluted or damaged, and by taking steady, responsible steps to cut carbon pollution and an all-of-the-above approach to develop homegrown energy, we can protect our kids’ health and begin to slow the effects of climate change so we leave a cleaner, more stable environment for future generations.”
Cutting carbon pollution will have a dual benefit, as it both causes climate change and can negatively affect our health. The government has already set limits for arsenic, mercury and lead, yet we let power plants release as much carbon pollution as they want. In the new Plan, the President directs the Environmental Protection Agency to put an end to the limitless dumping of carbon pollution from our power plants, and to complete new pollution standards for both new and existing power plants.
Following the President’s speech on his Climate Action Plan, members of the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC) welcomed the President’s plan, saying that they applaud the President’s leadership and that the time to act is now.
In addition, the White House published a blog post about how President Obama’s Climate Plan will address extreme weather and carbon pollution impacts and build a cleaner, healthier future in every state.
While no single step can halt and reverse the effects of climate change, we must continue to research the steps needed to be taken, then muster the courage and support to make sure those next steps are taken. We do have an obligation to act on behalf of future generations; and considering the facts below, members of the SEEC are absolutely right – the time to act is now.
- FACT: Average global temperatures increased by about 1 degree Celsius over the 20th century.
- FACT: The United States contains only 5 percent of the world’s population, but contributes 22 percent of the world’s carbon emissions.
- FACT: 15 percent of carbon emissions come from deforestation and land use change.
- FACT: Personal cars and trucks in the United States emit 20 percent of the United States’ carbon emissions.
- FACT: Air conditioning and heating account for almost half of electricity use in the average American home.
- FACT: Climate change is linked to stronger hurricanes, more drought and increased coral deaths from bleaching.
- FACT: Climate change is linked to an increase in disease-carrying pests that lead to the increased spread of diseases such as dengue fever, malaria, lyme disease and West Nile virus.
(The Nature Conservancy)
Some additional Facts & Figures on Climate Change:
photo credit: csp3140490 By kgtoh