8:59 pm - Thursday August 17, 2017

President’s Climate Change Plan a “Moral Obligation”

Small Business Leaders Applaud Measures to Curb Carbon Pollution

From destructive and deadly storms such as Hurricane Sandy to droughts and wildfires, Americans are feeling the effects of climate change. Following through on a promise made in his State of the Union address, President Obama now is acting to fight climate change in the absence of congressional action.

Calling it a “moral obligation,” Obama on Tuesday unveiled a new strategy to cut carbon pollution. It’s receiving broad support from many groups, including the Small Business Majority, where president John Arensmeyer called it a major milestone.

“We’re thrilled that the president has followed through on his promise from the State of the Union to take action to address climate,” Arensmeyer said. “This is an issue that has a direct financial effect on small businesses, and the solutions to which create tremendous incentives for small businesses.”

At the center of the plan, Obama calls on the Environmental Protection Agency to set first-ever limits on emissions from coal-burning power plants. It also calls on the United States to lead global efforts to reduce carbon pollution, and for a renewed effort to prepare the nation for the impacts of climate change.

Some are convinced that Obama’s strategy is a “war on coal,” but others – including Gene Karpinski, president of the League of Conservation Voters – said coal jobs actually have been on the rise since 2009, and that opponents are just denying the science. Karpinski said the nation already is seeing the serious implications of climate change and needs to act now.

“This is an aggressive, ambitious, comprehensive plan,” he said. “We need to protect the planet for future generations. We’re seeing the ravaging impacts of climate change around us. It’s time to move forward, and that’s exactly what the president is going to do.”

Limits already have been set for arsenic, mercury and lead pollution in plant emissions, but Karpinski said power plants haven’t been held to tough standards for carbon pollution. He said he believes it’s time to set those limits, to benefit public health.

“The single biggest piece of this plan will cut carbon pollution significantly from coal-fired power plants,” he said. “That’s the biggest remaining source of climate-change pollution. We need to deal with it. That’s what the president’s plan will do.”

Carbon from existing power plants account for about 40 percent of U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions.

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