Tuesday, August 4, 2015
President Obama spoke in front of a nationwide audience. He unveiled his clean air energy plan and to impose steep cuts in green house gasses to combat climate change.
Here is President speech on his clean energy plan in its entirety.....
"Good afternoon everybody....."
"Gina, I want to thank you not just thank you for not just the introduction, but for the incredible work that you and your team has been doing, not just on this issue, but on generally making sure that we've got clean air, clean water, a great future for our kids. I want to thank all the members of Congress who are here as well, who have been fighting for this issue and sometimes, you know, in great odds with others, but are willing to take on what is going to be one of the key challenges of our times and future generations. I want to thank our Surgeon General, who has been doing outstanding work, and is helping to make the connection between this critical issue and the health of our families." "You know, over the past 6 1/2 years, we have taken on some of the toughest challenges of our time, from rebuilding our economy after a devastating recession, to ending our wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and bringing almost all of our troops home, to strengthening our security through principle diplomacy. But I am convinced that no challenge poses a greater threat to our future and future generations than a changing climate, and that's what brings us here today."
"Not everyone here is a scientist. (laughs break out), but some of you are amongst the best scientists in the world. What you and your colleges have been showing us for years now, is that human activities are changing the climate in dangerous ways. Levels of carbon dioxide which heats up our atmosphere, are higher then they have been in 800,000 years. 2014 was the planets warmest year on record, and we have been setting allot of records in terms of warmest years, over the last decade. One year doesn't make a trend, but 14 of the 15 warmest years on record have fallen within the first 15 years of this century."
"Climate change is no longer just about the future that we're predicting for our children or our grandchildren, it's about the reality that we are living with every day, right now. The Pentagon says that climate change poses immediate risks to our national security. While we can't say any single weather event is caused by climate change, we've seen stronger storms, deeper droughts, longer wildfire seasons. Charleston and Miami now flood at high tide. Shrinking ice caps forced National Geographic to make the biggest change in its Atlas since the Soviet Union broke apart." "Over the past 3 decades, nationwide Asthma rates have more than doubled, and 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. And that's why I committed the United States to leading the world on this challenge, because I believe that there is such a thing as being too late." "Most of the issues that I deal with, and I deal with some tuff issues that cross my desk, by definition, I don't deal with issues if they are easy to solve because someone else has already solved them. And some of them are grim. Some of them are heart breaking. Some of them are hard. Some of them are frustrating, but most of the time, the issues we deal with are ones that are temporally bound and we can anticipate things getting better if we just kind'a plug away at it, even incrementally. But this is one of those rare issues, because of its magnitude, because of its scope, that if we don't get it right, we may not be able to reverse, and we may not be able to adapt sufficiently. There is such a thing as being too late when it comes to climate change. (Applause)" "And that shouldn't make us hopeless. It's not as if there is nothing we can do about it. We can take action. Over the past several years, America has been working to use less dirty energy, more clean energy, waste less energy throughout our economy. We set new fuel economy standards that mean our cars will go twice as far on a gallon of gas by the middle of the next decade. Combined with lower gas prices, these standards are on pace to save drivers an average of $700 at the pump this year. We doubled down on our investment in renewable energy. We are generating 3 times as much wind power, 20 times as much solar power as we did in 2008. These steps are making a difference. Over the past decade, even as our economy has continued to grow, the United States has cut our total carbon pollution more than any other nation on earth. (applause). That's the good news. But I am here to say that if we want to protect our economy and our security and our children's health, we are going to have to do more." "The science tells us we have to do more. It has been our focus these past 6 years, and it's particularly going to be our focus this month, In Nevada later in August, I will talk about the progress that we have made in generating clean energy and the jobs that come with it, and how we can boost that even further. I will also be the first American President to visit the Alaskan Arctic, where our fellow Americans have already seen their communities devastated by melting ice and rising oceans. The impact on marine life. We are going to talk about what the world needs to do together to prevent the worst impacts of climate change before it's too late. And today we are here to announce Americas Clean Power plan, a plan two years in the making, and the single most important step America has ever taken in the fight against global climate change." (Extended Applause)....... "Right now our power plants are the source of about a third of America's carbon pollution, that's more pollution than our cars, our airplanes and our homes generate combined. That pollution contributes to climate change which degrades the air our kids breathe. But there have never been Federal limits on the amount of carbon that power plants can dump into the air. Think about that. We limit the amount of toxic chemicals like mercury, and sulfur and arsenic in our air and or our water, and we are better off for it. But existing power plants can still dump unlimited amounts of harmful carbon pollution into the air. For the sake of our kids and the health and safety of all Americans, that must change. For the sake of the planet that has to change." "Two years ago, I directed Gina and the environmental protection agency to take on this challenge. And today after working with states and cities and power companies, the EPA is setting the first ever nationwide standards to end the limitless carbon emissions of power plants. (Applause)." "Here's how it works. Over the next few years, each state will have the chance to put together it's own plan for reducing emissions, because every state has a different energy mix. Some generate more of their power from renewables. Some from natural gas. or Nuclear, or coal. And this plan reflects the fact that not everybody is starting in the same place. So we are giving the states the time and the flexibility that they need to cut pollution in a way that works for them, and will reward the states that take action sooner instead of later, because time is not on our side here. As states work to meet their targets, they can build on the progresses that our communities that businesses are already making." "Allot of power companies have already begun modernizing their plants, reducing their emissions, and by the way, creating new jobs in the process. Nearly a dozen states have already set up their own market based programs to reduce carbon pollution. About half of our states have set energy effeciency targets, more than 35 have set renewable energy targets. Over a thousand mayors have signed an agreement to cut carbon pollution in their cities. And last week, 13 of our biggest companies, including UPS, and Walmart and GM, made bold new commitments to cut their emissions and deploy more clean energy. So the idea of setting standards and cutting carbon pollution is not new, it's not radical. What is new is that starting today, Washington is starting to catch up with the vision of the rest of the country. And by setting these standards, we can actually speed up our transition to a cleaner safer future. With this clean power plan by 2030, carbon pollution from our power plants will be 32% lower than it was a decade ago. And the nerdier way to say that is we will keep 870 million tons of carbon dioxide pollution out of our atmosphere. This simpler laymen way of saying that, it's like cutting every ounce of emission due to electricity for 108,000,000 American homes. Or the equivalent of taking 166 million cars off of the road. By 2030, we will reduce premature deaths from power plant emissions by nearly 90 percent. And thanks to this plan there will be 90 thousand fewer asthma attacks among our children each year. (Applause)" "And by combining this with greater investment in or booming clean energy sector and smarter investments in energy efficiency, and by working with the world to achieve a climate agreement by the end of this year, we can do even more to slow, and maybe eventually stop the carbon pollution that's doing so much harm to our climate. So this is the right thing to do. I want to thank again Gina and her team for doing it the right way. Over the longest engagement process in EPA history, they fielded more than 4,000,000 public comments, they worked with states, they worked with power companies and environmental groups and faith groups, and people across our country to make sure what we were doing was realistic and achievable but still ambitious." "And some of those people are with us here today. So Tonia Brown, Tonia, wave, go ahead. (Applause) Tonia Brown has joined up with moms across America, to spread the word about the dangers climate change posed on the health of our children, including Tonia's daughter, Senea. There's Senea right there. Dr. Simir Coutry has spent her career the impact of pollution of the Cleveland clinic, and helping families who's lives are impacted every single day. Doctor...Thank you.... (Applause) Sister Joan Marie Steadman has helped rally Catholic woman across America to take on the climate. Thank you Sister so much for your leadership. And she's got a pretty important guy on her side, as Pope Francis made clear in his Encyclical this summer. Taking a stand against climate change is a moral obligation. and Sister Steadman is living up to that obligation, every single day." "Now let's be clear. There will be critics of what we'r trying to do. There will be cynics that say it cannot be done. Long before the details of this clean power plan were even decided, the special interests and their allies in Congress were already mobilizing to oppose it with everything they've got. They will claim that this plan will cost you money, even though this plan, the analysis shows, will ultimately save the average American nearly $85 a year on their energy bills. They'll claim we need to slash our investments in clean energy. It's a waste of money, even though they are happy to spend billions of dollars a year is subsidizing oil companys. They'll claim this plan will kill jobs, even though our transition to a cleaner energy economy, has the solar industry to just name one example, creating jobs 10 times faster that the rest of the economy. They'll claim that this plan is a war on coal, to scare up votes, even as they ignore my plan to actually invest in revitalizing coal country, and supporting health care for coal miners and families, and retraining workers for better paying jobs, and healthier jobs." "Communities across America have been loosing coal jobs for decades. I want to work with Congress to help them, not to use them as a political football. Partisan press releases aren't going to help those families. Even more cynical, we got critics of the plan who are actually claiming that this will hurt minority and low income communities, even though climate change hurts those Americans the most. We're the most vulnerable. Today, an African-American child is more than twice as likely to be hospitalized from Asthma. A Latino child is 40% more likely to die from Asthma. So if you care about low income minority communities, start protecting the air that they breathe and stop trying to rob them of their healthcare. (LONG APPLAUSE AND STANING OVATION) And you can also expand Medicade in your states by the way... (Applause). " "Here's the thing. We've heard these same stale arguments before. Every time America has made progress, it's been in spite of these kinds of claims. Whenever America has set clear rules and smarter standards for our air, our water, our children s health, we get the same scary stories about killing jobs and businesses. It's true.." "I'm going to go off of script here for a second, cuz this is important, because sometimes I think that we feel as if there is nothing we can do. Tomorrow is my birthday (applause) so I'm sorry to reflect on age, and ah, and in thinking about what I'm doing here today, I was reminded about landing in Los Angeles to attend a college as a freshman as an 18 year old, and it was late August. I was moving from Hawaii, and I got to the campus and I decided with allot of pent up energy and I wanted to take a run. After about 5 minutes, suddenly I had this weird feeling, like I couldn't breathe. And the reason was, back in 1979, Los Angeles still was so full of smog, that there were days where people who were vulnerable just could not go outside, and they were fairly frequent. And folks who are older than me can remember the Kioga river burning because of polution, and acid rain threating to destroy all the great forests of the northeast. And you fast forward 30 to 40 years later and we solved those problems. But at the time, the same characters who are going to be criticizing this plan were saying this is going to kill jobs. This is going to destroy businesses. This is going to hurt low income people. It's going to be wildly expensive, and each time they were wrong. And because we pushed through despite those scare mongering tactics, you can actually run in Los Angeles, without choking, and folks can actually take a boat out on that river. And those forests are there. So we gotta learn lessons. We gotta learn the history. The kinds of criticisms that you're are gonna hear are simply excuses for an action. They are not even good business sense. They under-estimate American business, and American ingenuity." "In 1970, when President Richard Nixon decided to do something about the smog that was choking our cities, they warned that the new pollution standards would decimate the auto industry. It didn't happen. Catalytic converters worked. Taking lead out of gasoline worked. Our air got cleaner. In 1990 when Republican President George H. W. Bush decided to do the same about acid rain, said the bills would go up, our lights would go off, businesses would suffer a quiet death. It didn't happen. We cut acid rain dramatically and it cost must less than people actually expected, because businesses, once incentivized were able to figure it out. When we restricted leaded fuel in our cars, cancer causing chemicals in our plastics, it didn't end the oil industry, it didn't end the plastics industry, American chemists came up with better substitutes. The fuel standards that we put in place a couple of years ago, it didn't hurt the auto makers. The auto industry retooled." "Today our auto makers are selling the best cars in the world at a faster pace than they have in almost a decade. We got more hybrids and more plugin's and more high fuel efficient cars, giving consumers more choice than ever before, and saving families at the pump. We can figure this stuff out, as long as we are not lazy about it, as long as we don't take the path of least resistance. Scientists, citizens, workers entrepreneurs, together as Americans, we disrupt those stale, old debates, upend old ways of thinking. Right now we're inventing new whole technologies, whole new industries, not looking backwards. We're looking forwards. And if we don't do it, no one will. The only reason that China is now is looking about getting serious about it's emissions is because they saw we are going to do it too. When the world faces it's toughest challenges, America leads the way forward. . That's what this plan is about." (Applause) "Now I don't want to fool your here. This is going to be hard, dealing with climate change in its entirety. It's challenging. No single action, no single country will change the warming of the planet on its own. But today with America leading the way, countries with 70% from the worlds energy sector, have announced plans to cut green house gas emissions. In December with America leading the way, we have a chance to put in place one of Americas most ambitious international climate agreements in human history. And it easy to be settled by not saying climate change is the kind of challenge that is just too big for humanity to solve. I am absolutely convinced that's is wrong. We can solve this thing, but we have to get going. It's exactly the kind of challenge that's big enough to remind us that we are all in this together." "Last month for the first time since 1972, NASA released the blue marble, a single snapshot of the earth taken from outer space. And so much has changed in the decades between that first picture and the second. Borders have shifted, generations have come and gone, our global population has nearly doubled. But one thing hasn't changed. Our planet is as beautiful as ever. It still looks blue. And it's as vast, but also as fragile, as miraculas as anything in this universe. This blue marble belongs to all of us, belongs to these kids who are here. They're more than 7 billion people alive today. No matter what country they're from, no matter what language they speak, every one of them can look at this image and say, that's my home. And we're the first generation to feel the impact of climate change or the last generation that can do something about it. We only get one home. We only get one planet. There's no plan B." "I don't want my grand kids, not to be able to swim in Hawaii, or not to be able to climb a mountain and see a glacier because we didn't do something about it. . I don't want millions of people's lives get disruptive and this world more dangerous because we didn't do something about it. That would be shameful of us. This is our moment to get this right and leave something better for our kids. Let's make most of that opportunity. Thank you everybody," "God bless you. God bless the United States of America." Thank you."