Quantcast

Obama: 'One of the Most Urgent Challenges of Our Time Is Climate Change'

Politics

President Obama announced plans for more regulations to combat climate change in the coming months and called the issue "one of the most urgent challenges for our time."

In a weekly address to the nation, Obama said his administration will roll out new measures, including fuel efficiency standards for heavy-duty vehicles and will work towards meeting the goal of 50 percent clean energy across North America by 2025.

Here's the transcript of his weekly address:

Hi, everybody. One of the most urgent challenges of our time is climate change. We know that 2015 surpassed 2014 as the warmest year on record—and 2016 is on pace to be even hotter.

When I took office, I said this was something we couldn't kick down the road any longer—that our children's future depended on our action. So we got to work, and over the past seven-and-a-half years, we've made ambitious investments in clean energy, and ambitious reductions in our carbon emissions. We've multiplied wind power threefold. We've multiplied solar power more than thirtyfold. In parts of America, these clean power sources are finally cheaper than dirtier, conventional power. And carbon pollution from our energy sector is at its lowest level in 25 years, even as we're continuing to grow our economy.

We've invested in energy efficiency, and we're slashing carbon emissions from appliances, homes, and businesses—saving families money on their energy bills. We're reforming how we manage federal coal resources, which supply roughly 40 percent of America's coal. We've set the first-ever national standards limiting the amount of carbon pollution power plants can release into the sky.

We also set standards to increase the distance our cars and light trucks can go on a gallon of gas every year through 2025. And they're working. At a time when we've seen auto sales surge, manufacturers are innovating and bringing new technology to market faster than expected. Over 100 cars, SUVs, and pick-up trucks on the market today already meet our vehicles standards ahead of schedule. And we've seen a boom in the plug-in electric vehicle market—with more models, lower battery costs, and more than 16,000 charging stations.

But we're not done yet. In the weeks and months ahead, we'll release a second round of fuel efficiency standards for heavy-duty vehicles. We'll take steps to meet the goal we set with Canada and Mexico to achieve 50 percent clean power across North America by 2025. And we'll continue to protect our lands and waters so that our kids and grandkids can enjoy our most beautiful spaces for generations.

There's still much more to do. But there's no doubt that America has become a global leader in the fight against climate change. Last year, that leadership helped us bring nearly 200 nations together in Paris around the most ambitious agreement in history to save the one planet we've got. That's not something to tear up—it's something to build upon. And if we keep pushing, and leading the world in the right direction, there's no doubt that, together, we can leave a better, cleaner, safer future for our children.

Thanks, everybody. Have a great weekend.

For a deeper dive:

News: The Hill, IB Times, CBS News, VOA News

Commentary: New York Times, Binyamin Appelbaum & Michael D. Shear analysis

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, and sign up for daily Hot News.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Artist's conception of solar islands in the open ocean. PNAS

Millions of solar panels clustered together to form an island could convert carbon dioxide in seawater into methanol, which can fuel airplanes and trucks, according to new research from Norway and Switzerland and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, PNAS, as NBC News reported. The floating islands could drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on fossil fuels.

Read More Show Less
Marcos Alves / Moment Open / Getty Images

More than 40 percent of insects could go extinct globally in the next few decades. So why did the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week OK the 'emergency' use of the bee-killing pesticide sulfoxaflor on 13.9 million acres?

EcoWatch teamed up with Center for Biological Diversity via EcoWatch Live on Facebook to find out why. Environmental Health Director and Senior Attorney Lori Ann Burd explained how there is a loophole in the The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act under section 18, "that allows for entities and states to request emergency exemptions to spraying pesticides where they otherwise wouldn't be allowed to spray."

Read More Show Less
Sponsored

Zero Waste Kitchen Essentials

Simple swaps that cut down on kitchen trash.

Sponsored

By Kayla Robbins

Along with the bathroom, the kitchen is one of the most daunting areas to try and make zero waste.

Read More Show Less
View of downtown Miami, Florida from Hobie Island on Feb. 2, 2019. Michael Muraz / Flickr

The Democratic candidates for president descended upon Miami for a two-night debate on Wednesday and Thursday. Any candidate hoping to carry the state will have to make the climate crisis central to their campaign, as The New York Times reported.

Read More Show Less
A pumpjack in the Permian Basin. blake.thornberry / Flickr

By Sharon Kelly

On Monday, the Wall Street Journal featured a profile of Scott Sheffield, CEO of Pioneer Natural Resources, whose company is known among investors for its emphasis on drawing oil and gas from the Permian basin in Texas using horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Pexels

By Craig K. Chandler

The federal government has available to it, should it choose to use them, a wide range of potential climate change management tools, going well beyond the traditional pollution control regulatory options. And, in some cases (not all), without new legislative authorization.

Read More Show Less
Denis Poroy / Getty Images

By Dan Gray

Processed foods, in their many delicious forms, are an American favorite.

But new research shows that despite increasing evidence on just how unhealthy processed foods are, Americans have continued to eat the products at the same rate.

Read More Show Less

By Sarah Steffen

With a profound understanding of their environmental surroundings, indigenous communities around the world are often cited as being pivotal to tackling climate change.

Read More Show Less