Tag Archives: Keystone Pipeline

United States Carbon: Obama Unveils Sweeping Carbon Reduction Plan

President cites moral, economic and weather concerns in call for climate action

Citing moral, economic and weather related concerns, President Barack Obama is set to unveil sweeping measures aimed at reducing U.S. carbon emissions Tuesday during a speech at Georgetown University on climate change. In addition to cutting carbon emissions in America, Obama hopes to prepare the United States for climate change and lead a global effort, working with countries such as China, India and Brazil to accomplish similar goals.

Obama will double-down on several policies already in place, including a widely anticipated move to extend a proposal to regulate carbon standards for new power plants to include existing plants as well, according to a White House fact sheet. Many experts have said the expected Environmental Protection Agency regulation would end the building of new coal plants because doing so would no longer be profitable.

The president also will call for greater energy efficiency in appliances and direct federal agencies, such as the Department of Defense, to meet new renewable energy and energy efficiency goals,

“Last year alone, there were 11 different weather and climate disaster events with estimated losses exceeding $1 billion each across the United States,” said a White House report released Tuesday. “Taken together, these 11 events resulted in over $110 billion in estimated damages, which would make it the second-costliest year on record.”

The Obama administration also says it will work to improve infrastructure such as the electricity grid by streamlining new transmission project siting, permitting and review processes at the federal, state and local levels.

The announcements come as Obama’s nominee to lead the EPA, Gina McCarthy, is working her way through a contentious nomination process. Though she garnered praise from both the environmental and business communities, the career regulator was approved by a committee vote only after Republicans forced a delay on the scheduled vote by refusing to meet with Democrats. Republicans said the EPA and McCarthy, by extension, were not forthcoming enough with information requests they had made, despite the fact that McCarthy answered more than 1,000 submitted questions.

A conservative energy lobbyist says Obama’s announcements were widely anticipated and won’t likely poison the well further for McCarthy’s nomination.

“Everyone knows this is coming,” says the lobbyist, who spoke on background but declined to be named in order to speak freely. “I think the Republicans are going to try to hold up Gina McCarthy, I don’t think [Tuesday’s speech] is going to change anyone’s decision on her, though.”

Obama’s speech is likely going to be more notable for what he didn’t say than what he did, the lobbyist says.

The administration has yet to make an announcement about whether the State Department will permit a vast oil pipeline known as Keystone XL through the middle of the country, to connect oil sands in Canada to refineries on the Gulf coast. For environmentalists, it’s a make-or-break issue, as it is for energy companies, businesses and Republicans on the other side.

“I still think Keystone is everything; everything is a decision tree off of Keystone,” the lobbyist says, referring to what Obama’s energy policy will look like moving forward.

By making a big, flashy speech on reducing carbon emissions, Obama may be attempting to placate those on the left ahead of approving the pipeline project, he speculates.

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United States Carbon: President Obama’s Climate Plan

President Obama rolled out a “Climate Action Plan” in an outdoor speech on a sweltering June afternoon in Washington D.C. today.

On a hot and muggy Washington afternoon, President Obama, wiping sweat from his brow, announced that his administration intends to place limits on the greenhouse gas emissions of current and planned power plants and take a variety of other measures to reestablish American leadership in combating global warming while also making the country more resilient to the effects of climate change that are already evident.

The administration’s “Climate Action Plan” relies solely on actions that can be taken without Congressional approval, and in his 47-minute address, the President chided Congress for failing to address the issue through the legislative process.

In laying out the case for taking action on climate change, the President cited recent extreme weather events, including Hurricane Sandy, the 2012 drought and more recent flooding in the MIdwest, as well as the ongoing heat wave in Alaska and Western wildfires. “In a world that is warmer than it used to be, all weather events are affected by a warming planet,” Obama said.

He also rejected the view of climate change skeptics who doubt that manmade emissions of greenhouse gases are changing the climate, noting that 97 percent of scientists agree on the science and saying, “We don’t have time for a meeting of the ‘Flat Earth Society.”

“Now, we know that no single weather event is caused solely by climate change.  Droughts and fires and floods, they go back to ancient times,” Obama said. “But we also know that in a world that’s warmer than it used to be, all weather events are affected by a warming planet. The fact that sea level in New York, in New York Harbor, are now a foot higher than a century ago — that didn’t cause Hurricane Sandy, but it certainly contributed to the destruction that left large parts of our mightiest city dark and underwater.”

During the speech, the president addressed the controversial construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline that would bring Canadian tar sands oil to the Gulf Coast, where it would be refined and shipped to other countries.

“But I do want to be clear,” Obama said. “Allowing the Keystone pipeline to be built requires a finding that doing so would be in our nation’s interest.  And our national interest will be served only if this project does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution. The net effects of the pipeline’s impact on our climate will be absolutely critical to determining whether this project is allowed to go forward. It’s relevant.”

Climate activists opposed to the pipeline cautiously welcomed the news, while noting that it still leaves the White House with enough “wiggle room” to approve the project.

riends of the Earth, an environmental advocacy organization, released a statement that included this comment about what the president said pertaining to Keystone:

“Finally, in his speech, the president suggested that the administration would not issue a permit for the controversial Keystone XL tar sands pipeline if it is shown that the project will significantly exacerbate climate change and harm our national interest. We applaud this commitment by the president. As it is clear that the pipeline will increase net carbon emissions, we look forward to the president rejecting the permit.”

The president said that regulating greenhouse gas emissions from the electric power sector would spur innovation and job growth, but that such a move would be portrayed by political opponents as a “job-killing” measure.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce released a statement in response to Obama’s speech, stating:

“The president’s plan runs a serious risk of punishing Americans with higher energy bills, fewer jobs, and a weaker economy, while delivering negligible benefits to the environment.”

“The administration must fully, transparently, and continually evaluate the impact of its proposed rules on jobs and the economy — just as the law requires. American consumers, workers, and businesses simply cannot afford another smothering layer of new regulations whose benefits are unproven and whose true costs are hidden.

To learn more about United States Carbon and our energy reduction technology that will help you become greener, cleaner, and more socially responsible please contact us at (855) 393-7555 or visit our website: www.unitedstatescarbon.com