2015-08-04 09:00:00

US President Obama unveils Clean Power Plan

(Vatican Radio)  United States President Barack Obama announced plans on Monday to reduce US greenhouse gas emissions over the next 15 years by nearly one third.

In his address, Mr. Obama made reference to Pope Francis’ moral authority on climate issues, as made clear in his Encyclical Laudato si’, saying “taking a stand against climate change is a moral obligation”.

Listen to Devin Watkins' report:

President Obama took aim on Monday at the level of emissions produced by American power plants.

He unveiled the Clean Power Plan which wants coal-fired power stations to reduce emissions by 32 percent by 2030, compared with 2005 levels.

Speaking on Monday, Mr. Obama outlined what the carbon cuts would mean in real terms.  "With this Clean Power Plan, by 2030, carbon pollution from our power plants will be 32 percent lower than it was a decade ago.  The nerdier way to say that is that we will be keeping 870 million tons of carbon dioxide pollution out of our atmosphere."

The plan also intends to promote cleaner, renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar generated power.

Currently, roughly a third of US energy is provided by coal-fired power plants. 

President Obama also stressed the health benefits of cleaner air.  "Over the past three decades, nationwide asthma rates have more than doubled.  Climate change puts those Americans at greater risk of landing in the hospital.  As one of America’s governors has said, 'We’re the first generation to feel the impact of climate change, and the last generation that can do something about it.'"

The Clean Power Plan is widely seen as the cornerstone of President Obama’s desire to secure a global treaty at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris this December, an event which Pope Francis’ recently-released Encyclical Laudato si’ also seeks to influence.

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