President Obama will impose even steeper cuts on greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. power plants than previously expected, White House officials said early Sunday, in what the president called the most significant step the country has ever taken to fight global warming.
A year after proposing unprecedented carbon dioxide limits, the Obama administration was poised to finalize the rule at a White House event on Monday.
Obama, in a video posted to Facebook, said the limits were justified by decades of data and facts showing that without tough action, the world will face more extreme weather and escalating health problems like asthma.
“Climate change is not a problem for another generation,” he said. “Not anymore.”
In his initial proposal, Obama had mandated a 30% nationwide cut in carbon dioxide emissions by 2030, compared with 2005 levels.
The final version, which follows extensive consultations with environmental groups and the energy industry, will require a 32% cut instead, according to Obama administration officials, who weren’t authorized to comment by name and requested anonymity.
Opponents said they would sue the government immediately. They also planned to ask the courts to put the rule on hold while legal challenges play out.
The final version also gives states an additional two years — until 2022 — to comply, yielding to complaints that the original deadline was too soon. States will also have until 2018 instead of 2017 to submit their plans for how they intend to meet their targets.