President Barack Obama on Tuesday will announce a long-awaited federal strategy that not only is expected to rein in the country’s greenhouse gas emissions but also will address the sweeping effects of climate change already occurring.
The strategy will put in place a national plan to reduce carbon pollution, Obama said this weekend in a video address previewing his speech. The centerpiece is expected to establish new rules that limit greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants, the source in the U.S. of 40 percent of the gases that lead to global warming. Most of those plants are coal-powered.
“There’s no single step that can reverse the effects of climate change,” Obama said Saturday. “But when it comes to the world we leave our children, we owe it to them to do what we can.”
Obama’s move, long awaited by environmentalists, makes good on a pledge in his second inaugural address to respond to climate change. At the time, he cast it as a moral obligation and warned that failing to take action “would betray our children and future generations.” It’s not just a responsibility to his fellow Americans, Obama said, but to “all posterity.” Last week in Germany, he called it “the global threat of our time.”