Senior administration officials, who weren't authorized to comment by name and requested anonymity, said Obama will set a timeline for putting new power plant controls in place. But he won't issue detailed emission targets or specifics. Instead, the president will launch a process in which the Environmental Protection Agency will work with states to develop specific plans to rein in carbon emissions, with flexibility for each state's circumstances.
Obama also will announce more aggressive steps to increase efficiency for appliances such as refrigerators and lamps, the White House said, adding that stricter standards could reduce carbon pollution by more than 3 billion tons between now and 2030 — the equivalent of a half-year's worth of carbon pollution from power plants. Another component of Obama's proposal will involve ramping up hydropower production from existing dams.
Obama raised climate change as a key second-term issue in his inaugural address in January, but has offered few details since. In his February State of the Union, he issued an ultimatum to lawmakers: "If Congress won't act soon to protect future generations, I will."
"His view reflects reality," White House spokesman Jay Carney said Monday. "We've seen Congress attempt to deal with this issue, and fail to."
Framing Obama's efforts as part of a broader, global movement, the White House said the U.S. can play a leading role in persuading other nations to join in efforts to slow the warming of the planet.
Obama is calling for an end to U.S. support for public financing for new coal-fired plants overseas, officials said, but will exempt plants in the poorest nations as long as the cleanest technology available in those countries is being used. He's also pledging to work with major polluting countries like China and India to curb emissions, building on an agreement Obama struck recently with China's leader to phase out hydrofluorocarbons, potent greenhouse gases used in air conditions and refrigerators.