What to Watch for in Today's Climate Speech

Obama to set out landmark regulations, but rocky road ahead

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 25, 2013 7:31 AM CDT | Updated Jun 25, 2013 7:52 AM CDT

(Newser) – Today, President Obama will unveil his plans to fight climate change—"the global threat of our time," he said last week—in a speech at Georgetown University. He's taking on the threat without help from Congress, though lawmakers could potentially seize on a law that lets them overturn executive rules, the New York Times notes. Here's what to watch for:

  • For the first time, existing power plants could face carbon-emissions limits, aides say. New plants will see EPA fossil-fuel regulations finished by September under Obama's plan. Mother Jones sees what's likely to be "the end of conventional coal-fired power in the United States." Meanwhile, federally-owned lands will see an increase in efforts to harness renewable energy.

  • The White House will work with state and local officials to brace the country for climate change's effects—including, for instance, future roads that are better-prepared for flooding, CBS News reports.
  • Buildings, appliances, and heavy-duty trucks can expect new fuel efficiency requirements. The goal: to reduce carbon emissions by 3 billion metric tons by 2030.
  • Some $7 billion will be pledged to help the international community grapple with the effects of climate change, and another $8 billion will go to loan guarantees for green projects.
  • The administration will put a wealth of climate information online for the public's benefit.
  • Environmentalists applaud the step forward, but fear it may not be enough—particularly with potential political opposition, Politico notes. "It’s unreasonable. What they’re doing has never been done," says Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin. Also at Politico, however, Darren Goode writes that the president might have "just enough time to carry out the biggest environmental effort of his presidency—if he starts now."

In this June 19, 2013 file photo, President Barack Obama gestures during a news conference at the German Chancellery in Berlin.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
In this Jan. 24, 2012, file photo President Barack Obama reaches out to shake hands after giving his State of the Union address.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
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