Our "Closer look" now at what could be the most consequential move by the Obama presidency on climate changes. They released their new regulations on to curb carbon emissions. The first round in a... See More
Our "Closer look" now at what could be the most consequential move by the Obama presidency on climate changes. They released their new regulations on to curb carbon emissions. The first round in a massive political fight. Reporter: Just this Saturday, in his weekly address, the president priming his pitch on climate change. As president and as a parent, I refuse to condemn our children to planet that's beyond fixing. Reporter: His big announcement Monday, unprecedented steps to reduce pollution. To provoke a political firestorm. Here's what he's reportedly going to call for, 20% cut in carbon emissions by 2020. Administration would leave it up to states on how to get there. Turning to natural gas, wind, solar and energy-efficient technologies. They release 30% of America's carbon pollution. This coal plant in New Jersey illustrates the challenge. It's already spent hundreds of millions of dollars to comply with existing EPA regular laces. Regulations. The concern is any new requirements could drive up energy costs or cause plants like this one to close. Environmental regulations will reduce 60% of the coal fleet. Reporter: The U.S. Chamber of commerce says the new regulations would shrink the economy by an estimated $51 billion and cost 224,000 jobs a year. The climate has been changing forever and will continue to change. And we know humans are contributing to CO2 emissions. The question to everybody is, what do we about it? How do we do it? And at what cost? Reporter: Dire predictions that the president says we have heard before. Special interests and their allies in congress will claim that these dmriens will kill jobs and crush the economy. Let's face it, that's what they always say. Reporter: He argues doing nothing is even riskier. For "This week," Ron Claiborne, for ABC news, Jersey City, new Jersey. Let's bring in our experts. We saw those statistics that Ron Claiborne talked about. The chamber of commerce saying that this will cost about $50 billion a year. But Paul Krugman has pointed out that that's a relatively small fraction of the size of the economy and average household income. Well, what we're seeing policies that reach deep into every sector, we talked about a set of policies, the third in a series that has really designed to drive out low-cost electricity and replace it with higher cost, more expensive and less reliable electricity. So, we've heard about flexibility from the president and the administration. But what they're reviewing are cop and trade programs. California, their electricity is 45% higher than the average electricity rate in the country. And new England, 36% higher. The question is, is it worth the cost? It is. Actually, our analysis shows that this could be done efficiently. One of the major ways to make this work is to invest in energy efficiency which will save the consumer money. We're relying more on efficiency and more on renewables and emissions are going down. The purpose of this rule is to close the loophole on carbon pollution. Reduce emissions as we have done with lead, arsenic and Mercury. Improve the health of the American people and unleash a new economic opportunity. Do you accept the premise that this is a problem that needs to be addressed? We can lower emissions. Carbon emissions are 24% lower than 2005. We do need to have a balance set of policies. That would reduce emissions 20% to 30% below the sub critical plants that dominate the fleet today. I was little surprised that the president emphasized the public health aspects, preventing asthma. Heart attacks. Rather than the environmental aspects. Health benefits are paramount particulates because coal fire-powered particulates we spent $200 billion in the last two years on extreme weather events. For those of us here in new York, hurricane sandy was devastating. There are other events all over the country, droughts and wildfires. This rule is designed to get us on a pathway of clean and efficient energy. Invest in innovation and technology that's creating new nderline
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