WASHINGTON — President Obama plans to roll out the first U.S. regulations designed to cut carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants by next June, making that the central element of a sweeping initiative to rein in emissions of gases that drive climate change.
Obama plans to describe his proposals in a speech Tuesday afternoon at Georgetown Universityin Washington, D.C. He is expected to unveil a strategy that works across the federal government to pare greenhouse gases sharply by the end of the decade, senior White House officials said.
The approach leans heavily on executive-branch actions, an acknowledgment that the current Congress will not take action to address climate change.
“It is a step-by-step approach that creates a bucket of cuts,” said Jody Freeman, director of the Environmental Law Program at Harvard Law School who was a White House advisor on climate change in 2009-10. “What’s important to remember is that the president is behind this, and that means the starter’s pistol has gone off.”
The administration’s efforts would include plans to open more federal lands for renewable-energy development, have some public housing units powered by renewable energy, and develop new energy efficiency standards for major appliances, said senior White House officials who briefed reporters on the condition of anonymity.
Opposition to the plan already has begun to coalesce. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) dubbed the climate change effort “a national energy tax” because it might raise the cost of certain goods and some types of energy, particularly electricity generated by burning coal.
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