President Obama will impose even steeper cuts on greenhouse gas emissions from US power plants than previously expected, senior administration officials said today, in what the president called the most significant step the US has ever taken to fight global warming. A year after proposing unprecedented carbon dioxide limits, Obama was poised to finalize the rule at a White House event tomorrow. In a video posted to Facebook, Obama said the limits were backed up by decades of data showing that without tough action, the world will face more extreme weather and escalating health problems like asthma. "Climate change is not a problem for another generation," Obama says. "Not anymore."
Opponents vowed to sue immediately, and planned to ask the courts to put the rule on hold while legal challenges play out. Many states have threatened not to comply. In his initial proposal, Obama had mandated a 30% nationwide cut in carbon dioxide emissions by 2030, compared to 2005 levels. The final version will require a 32% cut instead, say the officials, who weren't authorized to comment by name and requested anonymity. Environmental groups cheered the toughened rule, and Hillary Clinton vowed to defend it if she's elected to replace him. The final rule also gives states extra time to submit plans and comply, but the administration will attempt to encourage states to take action earlier by offering credits to those that boost renewable sources like wind and solar.