President Obama has unveiled his plans to tackle climate change, while highlighting the role natural gas plays in addressing greenhouse gas emissions and pointedly criticizing climate change skeptics.
“Those who are already feeling the effects of climate change don’t have time to deny it,” he said, “They’re busy dealing with it.”
In a closely-watched speech at Georgetown University, Obama touted the role of natural gas as a transition fuel.
He said the United States should strengthen its role as a top natural gas producer, but argued that drilling is not a panacea for combating climate change.
He repeated his call for an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy, which includes cutting carbon emissions and promoting cleaner alternative energy sources.
“I refuse to condemn your generation and future generations to a planet that’s beyond fixing,” he told the crowd.
Pennsylvania’s gas industry trade group praised the president’s remarks.
“While the President’s broader energy and climate strategy will be further framed in the weeks and months to come, we remain focused as an industry on protecting and enhancing our environment through the responsible development of job-creating American natural gas,” said Marcellus Shale Coalition President Kathryn Klaber in a statement.
In response the president’s speech, 41 state representatives sent a letter to Governor Corbett, urging him to do more to address climate change.
Governor Corbett’s previous Environmental Secretary made news earlier this year when he was reluctant to embrace the scientific consensus around climate change and questioned the role of government intervention.
“The issue is called global warming,” former DEP Secretary Mike Krancer told StateImpact Pennsylvania, “It is not called American warming. It is not called Pennsylvania warming. So any unilateral action by any one country probably will be a fool’s errand. It won’t work.”
The letter to the governor was authored by Rep. Greg Vitali (D- Delaware). He is the Democratic chairman of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee and a vocal proponent of environmental causes.
“Climate change is the most important problem facing the planet,” Vitali said in a statement, “President Obama’s announcement is a positive step, but this problem must also be dealt with at the state and local levels.”
Obama’s most controversial proposal involves directing the Environmental Protection agency to complete carbon emissions standards for new and existing power plants.
News of the speech sent shares in U.S. coal mining companies plunging yesterday.
You can read Obama’s 21-page Climate Action Plan here, or the White House Fact Sheet below: