UNITED States President Barack Obama’s ambitious plan to try to reduce carbon emissions from US power plants is welcome, and certainly better late than never, from an industrial superpower which has tended to stay on the fence while Europe led the fight to tackle the main causes of climate change. Not only will he have the climate change naysayers ridiculing him, but he will also face strong opposition from the Republican Party who have railed against virtually everything he has proposed during his time in office, backed by powerful vested interests especially in the coal industry.
President Obama’s proposal for a 32% cut in carbon emissions from power plants by 2030 compared to 2005 levels is certainly a radical one, which his Chinese counterparts could also well do with replicating if there is to be any meaningful progress in tackling the climate change that there is a growing awareness of and greater appreciation of the necessity to do something about.
Not only will President Obama’s Clean Power plan upset giant industrial conglomerates as he tries to move the country away from coal towards cleaner energy sources such as solar and wind, it will also affect the public as he wants lower emissions from vehicles – which we already have incentives for here – but it will take a much greater effort to win over the people of the US who love their large gas-guzzling engines.
His announcement is particularly welcome ahead of COP21, the UN’s 2015 Paris Climate Conference which takes place in December and is seeking to achieve a quantifiable and legally-binding international agreement – including all the major players – to reduce carbon emissions and, hopefully also, the threat of excessive global warming.