NRDC President Francis Beinecke for the Huffington Post:
President Obama has announced a robust plan for tackling climate change and reducing dangerous carbon pollution. This marks an historic turning point. No longer will power plants be allowed to dump unlimited amounts of carbon into our atmosphere, threatening our health and environment. Instead, we can clean up our skies and leave future generations with a more stable climate.
Without this kind of presidential leadership, our children and grandchildren would be left to cope with the devastating consequences of unchecked climate change. We can't pass this burden on to them, especially when we can already see what climate disruption can do to people's lives. From the Colorado residents who lost their homes in recent fires to the children who suffer more asthma attacks because of dirtier air, Americans are reeling from climate impacts right now.
President Obama's plan will help us turn the tide. It will make a profound and lasting difference in America's fight against climate change.
Most significantly the plan will reduce carbon pollution from power plants -- the largest source of global warming emissions in the country. America has set limits for arsenic, lead, and mercury, but we let power plants release as much carbon pollution as they want even though it has serious implications for our health. Several states have stepped in and required power plants to cut carbon. Now it's time for the Environmental Protection Agency to close this loophole and reduce this climate threat.
Setting carbon limits is something the EPA can do right now. It already has the authority -- and the duty -- under the Clean Air Act to create carbon standards for power plants. The agency can give states the flexibility to figure how to meet those standards. NRDC's experts outlined a similar approach, and we concluded it can cut carbon pollution 26 percent by 2020 and save people money on electricity bills. This represents real and far-reaching carbon reductions.
President Obama said today he will issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the EPA to set carbon standards for power plants. This gives the agency clear marching orders. The president used a similar approach when he called on the EPA and the Department of Transportation to raise fuel economy, and they delivered historic clean car standards. Now we know power plant carbon standards have the full weight of the presidency behind them as well.
The president also declared that he would not approve the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline unless the State Department could prove the pipeline would not significantly increase global warming pollution. Since the evidence clearly shows that the pipeline would indeed contribute to climate change, the president has taken a one giant step closer to rejecting this dangerous project.
The president also called for reducing other major global warming pollutants such as methane and hydrofluorocarbons. But even as we reduce emissions from fossil fuels, America must also expand our clean energy resources. President Obama's plan singles out the enormous potential of efficiency to lower costs and reduce pollution. The plan will not only expand efficiency measures, but also sets firm and ambitious targets for reducing carbon reduction through efficiency standards.
Read the rest at Huff Post