Obama calls climate change our greatest threat
No challenge poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change, President Obama said in Tuesday’s State of the Union address. “Ive heard some folks try to dodge the evidence by saying theyre not scientists; that we dont have enough information to act,” Mr. Obama said in the speech. “Well, Im not a scientist, either. But you know what – I know a lot of really good scientists at NASA, and NOAA, and at our major universities. The best scientists in the world are all telling us that our activities are changing the climate, and if we do not act forcefully, well continue to see rising oceans, longer, hotter heat waves, dangerous droughts and floods, and massive disruptions that can trigger greater migration, conflict, and hunger around the globe. The Pentagon says that climate change poses immediate risks to our national security. We should act like it.”The administration took two major steps to address climate change in 2014. The Environmental Protection Agency rolled out the Clean Power Plan in June, which would cut greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. power plants 30 percent by 2030. That plan will take effect later this year to coordinate with the release of regulations for new and modified power plants, according to EPA Assistant Administrator Janet McCabe.Power plant officials have criticized the plan, arguing that the industry can’t change fast enough to comply. New rules would shut down coal-fired power plants before new plants can open, John Bear, chief executive of the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, told the Wall Street Journal. The president also reminded the nation that he reached a historic agreement with President Xi Jinping of China to cut greenhouse gas emissions from both nations. The U.S. and China account for a third of all greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. At the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in November, Obama pledged to cut emissions by 28 percent by 2025. Xi agreed Chinas emissions would peak around 2030, and the country vowed to increase its renewable energy resources. “I am determined to make sure American leadership drives international action,” Mr. Obama said. He also noted that green jobs are growing in the U.S. The Solar Foundation reported that 31,000 jobs were added in the solar industry.
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