Obama to Take Action on Global Climate Change

The president announces his plans to boost renewable energy, increase efficiency standards.
3:00 | 06/25/13

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Transcript for Obama to Take Action on Global Climate Change
This is a special report from ABC news. -- Hernandez in new York and this is an ABC news digital special report -- President Obama is talking climate change right now. At Georgetown University let's listen. Not everybody. Please be seated and my first announcement today is that you should all take up projects. I'm under the same. It's not that -- -- it is good to be back. On campus. And it is a great privilege. To speak from the steps of this historic call that. Welcome programs going back to George Washington. -- -- thank your president president enjoyable. I want to thank him for hosting us I want to thank. Many members my cabinet my administration. Want to thank. Leader Pelosi and member of congress members of congress war here. We are very grateful for their support. And I -- say thank you to the -- in the house for -- You know it was important. For me to speak directly to your generation. Because the decisions that we might now and in the years ahead we'll have a profound impact. On the world that all of you -- It -- Christmas season 1968. The astronauts of Apollo eight did a live broadcast. From lunar orbit. Frank Borman. Jim LaBelle. William Anders the first humans. To orbit the moon. Described what they saw and they read scripture from the book of Genesis to the rest of us back here. And later that night they took a photo that would change the way we see and think about our world. It was an image of -- A glowing marble of blue oceans and green forests and brown mountains. Rush -- white clouds rising over the surface of the -- And while the sight of our planet from space. Might seem routine today. Imagine what it looked like to those of us. Seeing our home our planet for the first time. Imagine what it looked. Like to children like me. Even astronauts were -- It makes you realize. -- would say. Just what you have -- -- on her. And around the same time we began exploring space. Scientists were studying changes taking place. In the Earth's atmosphere. And scientists have known since the eighteen hundreds the green -- gases like carbon dioxide. -- -- And that burning fossil fuels release those gases into the air. That wasn't news. But in the late 1950s the National Weather Service began measuring the levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. With -- worried that rising levels might someday disrupt. The fragile balance that makes our planet so hospitable. And what they found. Year after year. Is that. The levels of carbon pollution in our atmosphere. Have increased dramatically. That science. Accumulated and reviewed over decades. Tells us that our planet is changing in ways that we'll have. Profound impacts on all of humankind. The twelve warmest years in recorded history have all come. In the last fifteen years. Last year temperatures in some areas of the ocean reached record -- us. And -- in the Arctic shrank. To its smallest size on record faster than most models have predicted it what. These are facts. Now we know that no single weather event. Is -- solely by climate change. Droughts and fires and floods. May go back to ancient times. But we also know that in a world that's warmer than it used to be. -- weather events are affected. My a warming plan. The fact that sea level. In New York. In New York Harbor. Are now a foot higher than a century ago that didn't cause hurricane sandy but it certainly contributed. To the destruction. That left large parts of ramadi a city dark and underwater. The potential impacts go beyond rising sea levels here at home. 2012. Was -- warmest year in our history. Midwest farms were parched by the worst drought. Since the dust bowl and then drenched by the wettest spring on record. Western wildfires scorched an area of larger than the state of -- Just last week. A heat wave in Alaska shot temperatures into the ninety's. And we know that the cost of these. Events can be measured in lost lives. And lost livelihoods. Lost homes lost businesses hundreds of billions of dollars in emergency services and disaster relief. In -- those who were already feeling the effects of climate change don't have time to deny it. They're busy dealing with a. Firefighters are braving. Long -- wildfire seasons. And state and federal governments have to figure out how to budget for that had to sit on a meeting with -- the department of interior and agriculture and some of the rest of my team just to figure out how we -- pay for. More and more expensive. Fire seasons. Farmer seed crops -- -- one year washed away the next. And higher food prices get passed on to you the American consumer. Mountain communities worry about what smaller -- packs -- mean for tourism. And then families. At the bottom up in the mountains wonder what will mean for their drinking water. Americans across the country. Are already paying the price of inaction. In insurance premiums state and local taxes and the cost. Of rebuilding and disaster relief. So the question is not whether we need to act. The overwhelming judgment of science. Of chemistry and physics. And millions of measurements. Has put all that to rest 97%. Of scientists. Including by the way some who originally disputed the data. Have now put that to rest they've acknowledged the planet is warming. And human activity is contributing to. So the question now. Is whether we will have the courage to act before its too late. And how we answer won't have a profound impact. On the world that we leave behind not just to you but to your children and your grandchildren. As -- president. As a father. And as an America I'm here to say. We need to act. I refused to condemn your generation and future generations. To a planet that's beyond fixed. And that's why today I'm announcing. A new national climate action plan and I'm here to enlist. Your generations help in keeping the United States of America. A leader a global leader. In the fight against climate change. This plan builds on progress that we've -- night. You know last year. I took office. Or the -- that I took office. My administration pledged to reduce America's greenhouse gas emissions by about. 8%. From -- to. We doubles. Electricity generation from wind and the sun. We doubled the mileage our cars. We'll get on a gallon of gas -- -- the next decade. Here -- George Georgetown I unveiled my strategy for a secure energy future and thanks to the ingenuity. Of our businesses. Were starting to produce. Much more of our own energy. We're building the first nuclear power plants in more than three decades and -- South Carolina. For the first time in eighteen years Americans poised to produce more of our -- oil -- we. Buy from other nations and today we produce more natural gas than anybody else. -- -- producing energy. And these advances have brought our economy created new jobs that can't be shipped overseas. And by the way they've also helped drive. Our carbon pollution to its lowest levels in nearly twenty years. Since 2006 no country on Europe has reduced its total carbon pollution. By as much as the United States of America. So to -- start. But the reason we're all here in the heat today is because we know we've got more to do. In my State of the Union Address I -- congress to come up with a bipartisan market based solution. To climate change like the one but Republican and democratic senators worked on together a few years ago and I still want to see that happen. I'm -- work with anyone to make that hat. Visit the challenge that. Does not -- for partisan gridlock. It demands our attention now. And this is my plan to make. A plan to cut carbon pollution a plan to protect our country from the impacts of climate change. And a plan to lead the world in a coordinated assault. On -- changing climate. -- plan begins -- cutting carbon pollution by changing. The way we use energy. Using less dirty energy. Using more clean energy. Wasting. Less energy throughout our economy. -- 43 years ago congress passed a law called the Clean Air Act of nineteen cents. There's good law. The reasoning behind it was simple. New technologies. Can protect our health. By protecting. The area -- from harmful pollution. And that law passed the senate unanimously. Think about that did pass the senate unanimously. -- passed the House of Representatives. 375. To Guam I don't know -- the one guy what's -- -- that up. You can barely get that many boats to name a post office these days. It was signed into law by a Republican president. It was later strengthened by another Republican president. This used to be a bipartisan issue. Six years ago the Supreme Court. Ruled the green -- gases are pollutants covered by that same Clean Air Act. And they required the Environmental. Protection Agency the EPA to determine whether there are a threat. To our health and welfare. In two -- -- BP A determined. That they are a threat to multiple our health and our welfare. In many different ways from dirtier air to more common heat waves and therefore subject to regulation. Today about 40%. Of America's carbon pollution comes from our power plants. But here's the thing right now there are no federal limits. To the amount of carbon pollution of those plants can pump into our not. Zero. We limit the amount of toxic chemicals like Mercury. And sulfur. And arsenic in our air or water. But power plants can still -- unlimited amounts. Of carbon pollution into the air for free. That's not right. It's not safe. And it needs to stop. Today for the sake of our children. And the health and safety of all Americans. I'm directing. The Environmental Protection Agency to put an end it to the limitless dumping. Of carbon pollution from our power plants. And complete new pollution standards for both new and existing power plants. I'm also directing the EPA to develop these standards and open and transparent what. To provide flexibility to different states -- different needs. And build on the leadership but many states and cities and companies have already -- In fact many power companies have already begun modernizing their plants. And creating new jobs in the process. Others have shifted. Burning cleaner natural gas instead of dirtier. Fuel sources. Nearly a dozen states have already. Implemented or are implementing their own market based programs to reduce carbon pollution. More than 2.5 percent energy efficiency targets. More than 35. -- -- renewable energy targets. Over 1000 mayors have signed agreements to cut carbon pollution. So the idea of setting higher pollution standards for our power plants is not -- It's just time for Washington to catch up with the rest of the comfort. And that's what we intend to do. Well what you'll hear. From the special interests and their allies in congress. Is that this will kill jobs up and crush the economy. And basically -- American free enterprise as we know -- And the reason I know -- hear. Those things because. That's what makes it every time. America's sets clear rules and better standards for air and -- water and our children's health. And every time they've been wrong. For example in 1970. When we decided. Through the Clean Air Act to do something about the smog -- was children our cities and by the way most young people here aren't. Old enough to remember what it was like but. You know what else going to school in 19791980. In Los Angeles there were days where. Folks couldn't go outside. And had the sunsets were spectacular because. Because of all the pollution -- the -- But at the time when we pass the Clean Air Act. To try to get rid of -- of the small. Some of its name. Doomsayers were saying new pollution standards will decimate the auto industry. Just what. Didn't happen. -- echoing -- In 1990 when we decide to do something about acid rain. -- -- -- Electricity bills would go off the lights would go off. Businesses around the country would suffer I quote a quiet -- None of it happened. Except we cut acid rain dramatically. Think -- -- the problem with all these tired excuses for inaction is that. -- -- just well -- fundamental lack of faith in American business and American ingenuity. -- -- -- His critics seem to think that when we ask our businesses to innovate and reduce pollution. And lead. Maybe they -- they won't do it they'll just got to give up and quit. -- in America. We know that's not true look at our history. When we restricted cancer causing chemicals in plastics. And leaded fuel our cars it didn't -- the plastics industry or the oil industry. American -- came up -- better substitutes. When we say about CFC's the gases that we're depleting goes on later. It and kill all refrigerators or air conditioners or deodorant. American workers and businesses figure out how to do a better. Without harming the environment as much. The fuel standards that we put in place. Just a few years ago didn't cripple auto makers. The American auto industry retooled and today our auto makers are selling the best cars in the world at a faster rate. And they have in five years. -- more hybrid. More plug in. More fuel efficient cars. So but as. If you look at our history don't bet against. American industry don't bet against American workers. Don't tell folks that we have to choose. Between the health of our children. Where the health of our economy. The -- rules. The old rules may say we can't protect our environment and promote the economic growth of the same time but in America. We've always used and new technologies we use science -- used. Research and development. And discovery to make -- old rules obsolete. Today we use more clean energy more renewables -- natural gas which is supporting hundreds of thousands of good jobs. We -- less energy which saves you money at the pump and in your pocket books. And guess what our economy is 60% bigger than it was twenty years ago. While our carbon emissions are roughly back to where they were twenty years ago so obviously. We can figure this out. It's not an either or it's a boat and we've got to look after our. Children we have to look after our future and we have to grow the economy create jobs we can do all of that. As long as we don't fear the future instead we season. And by the way don't take my word for. -- recently more than 500 businesses including giants like GM and Nike. Issued a climate -- great declaration calling action on climate change one of the greatest opportunities. Of the -- for central. Wal-Mart is working to cut its carbon pollution by 20%. And transition completely to renewable energy. At Wal-Mart stores your for the but but think about it what the biggest company biggest retailer in America. When they really do that if it weren't good for business. If -- more good for their shareholders. A low carbon clean energy economy can be an engine of -- for decades to come. And I want America to build that engine. I want America to build that future right here in the United States of America that's our test. Now one -- -- -- Make sure but he understands that this does not mean that we're gonna. Suddenly stop producing fossil fuels. Our economy one run. Very well it's a bit. And transitioning to a clean energy economy. -- When the doomsayers trot out the old warnings that. These ambitions will somehow hurt our energy supply just remind them that America produce more world and we have in fifteen years. What is true. Is that we can't just drill our way out of energy and climate challenge that we face. That's not possible. I put forward in the past and all of the above energy strategy but our energy strategy must be. About more than just producing more oil. And by the way it certainly got to be about more than just building one pipeline. Now. I know there's been for example a lot of controversy surrounding the proposal. To build -- pipeline the Keystone Pipeline that would carry oil from Canadian tar sands down to refineries in the gulf. And the State Department is going through -- the final stages of evaluating the proposal that's how it's always been done. But I do want to be clear. Allowing the Keystone Pipeline. To be bill. Requires -- finding. That doing so would be in our nation's interest. And our national interest will be served. Only if this project does not significantly exacerbate the problem. -- carbon pollution the net effects of the pipelines impact. The net effects of the pipelines impact. On our climate. Will be absolutely -- critical to. Determining whether this project is allowed to go forward. It's relevant. Not even as we're producing more domestic war. We're also producing more cleaner burning natural gas than any other country on -- And again sometimes -- disputes about natural gas but but let me say this we should strengthen. Our position as the top natural gas producer because. In the medium term of -- -- not only can provide safe cheap power. But it can also help reduce our carbon emissions. Federally supported technology. Has helped our businesses drill more effectively. And extract more gas and now we'll keep working with the industry. To make drilling safer and cleaner. To make sure that we're not -- methane emissions. And put people -- work modernizing our natural gas infrastructure. So that we can power more homes and businesses with cleaner energy. The bottom line is natural gas is creating jobs. It's lowering many families. -- and power bills. And it's the transition fuel that can power our economy. -- less carbon pollution even as our businesses work to develop. And then deploy more of the technology required. For the even cleaner. Energy economy of the future. -- -- second way that we're gonna reduce carbon pollution. By using -- more clean energy. For the past four years. We've doubled the electricity that we generate from zero carbon wind. And solar power. And that means jobs. Dobbs manufacturing wind turbines did not generate enough electricity to power nearly fifteen million homes -- Jobs installing solar solar panels that not generated more than four times the power. At less cost than just a few years ago. I -- some Republican the Washington dismissed these jobs but those who do need to call home. Because 75%. Of all wind energy in this country is generated in Republican districts. And that may explain why last you're Republican governors in Kansas and Oklahoma and Iowa. I won't -- west -- that harness. -- almost 25% as electricity from the wind. Helped us. In the fight to extend. Tax credits for wind energy manufactures and producers. Tens of thousands of the good -- -- on the line. -- -- worth the fight. And countries like China and Germany are going all in in the race for clean. I believe Americans buildings better than anybody else. -- -- American win that race but we can't win it if we're not NN. So the the plan I'm announcing today will help us double again our energy from wind and sun. Today I'm directing the Interior Department a green light enough. Private renewable energy capacity on public lands to power more than six million homes -- when -- morning. -- -- -- The biggest energy consumer America will install. Three -- watts of renewable power on its basis generating about the same amount of electricity each year. As you'd get from burning three million tons of coal. And because billions of your tax dollars. Continue to still subsidize some of the most profitable corporations ministry -- of the world. My budget once again calls for congress. To end the tax breaks for big oil companies and invest in the clean better. Now the third wave. To reduce carbon pollution. Is to waste left center. In our cars or homes or businesses. The fuel standards we set over the past few years and years mean that by the middle. The next decade. The cars and trucks we -- -- -- twice as part of -- best -- means you'll have to fill happens often. All reduce carbon. Builds upon that success by -- the first ever standards for heavy duty trucks. And buses and vans. And in the coming months will partner -- drug makers to do it again for the next generation of vehicles. -- meanwhile the energy we use in our homes and our businesses and our factories our schools our hospitals. That's responsible for about 13 of our greenhouse gases. The good news is simple upgrades. Don't just cut their pollution they put people to work. Manufacturing. And installing Smart relax and windows and sensors and appliance. In the -- show up. In our electricity bills every month forever. That's why -- set new energy standards for appliances like refrigerators and dishwashers. And today our businesses are building better ones that will also cut carbon pollution. And -- cut consumers' electricity bills by hundreds of billions of dollars. That means by the way that our federal government also -- to lead by example. I'm proud that federal agencies have reduced their greenhouse gas emissions by more than 15% since I took office wrong. But wouldn't really -- Matt. So today setting a new -- York federal government. Will consume 20% of its electricity from renewable sources within the next seven years. We're gonna -- back. We'll also encourage private capital. To get off the sidelines and get into these energy saving investments. And by the end of the next decade these combined efficiency standards for appliances and federal buildings will reduce carbon pollution by at least three billion tons. Energy sector -- In nearly half the year. So I know these standards don't sound all that sucks but. Think of it this way that's the equivalent of planting seven point six billion trees and letting them -- for ten years all while -- the vicious. It is a great deal. And we need to be -- So using less dirty energy. Transitioning the cleaner sources of energy. Wasting less energy through our economy. Here's where we need ago. -- plant will get us there faster. But I want to be honest this will not get us there overnight. The hard truth is. Carbon pollution has built up in our atmosphere for decades now and even if we Americans do our part. The planet will slowly keep warming for sometime to come. The -- will slowly keep rising and storms will get more severe based on the science. It's like tapping the brakes of a car before you come to a complete stop. And then can shift into reverse it's gonna take time for carbon emissions to stabilize. So in the meantime -- -- Get prepared. -- why this plan also protect critical sectors of our economy and prepare the United States from impacts of climate change. That we cannot aboard. States and cities across the country are already taking it upon themselves to get ready. Miami Beach is hardening its water supply against seeping salt water. We're partnering with the state of Florida to restore. -- Florida's natural clean water delivery system. The Everglades. The overwhelmingly Republican legislature of Texas voted to spend money on a new water development bank. As long. As a long running drought cost jobs and forced to town and trucked in water. From the outside. New York City is fortifying its 520 miles of coastline. As an insurance policy against more frequent and costly storms. What we've learned from hurricane sandy. And other disasters is that we've got to build smarter. More resilient infrastructure that can protect our homes and businesses and withstand more powerful storms. That means stronger sea walls natural barriers. Pardon power grants. -- water systems -- fuel supplies. So budget I sent congress includes funding to support communities -- build these projects. And this plan directs federal agencies to make sure that any new project funded with taxpayer dollars is built to withstand. Increased flood risk. -- a partner -- communities seeking the help to prepare for droughts and floods. Reduce the risk of wildfires protective. Dunes wetlands that pull double duty as green space and as natural storm -- And we'll also open our climate data and NASA climate imagery to the public. To make sure that cities and states assess risk under different climates and areas of that. -- we don't waste money building structures the -- withstand. The next storm. So that's what my administration will do to support the work already under way across America. I'm going to cut carbon pollution but also to protect ourselves from climate change. But as I think everybody here understands no nation can solve this challenge -- -- Not even one as powerful as -- And that's why the final part of our plan calls on America to lead. -- international efforts to combat. A changing climate. And make no mistake. That the world still looks to America believe. Don't I spoke to young people in Turkey and a few years ago the first question I got wasn't about the challenges that part of the world faces it was about. The climate challenge. We all face. And America's role in addressing. It was a fair question. Because as the world's largest economy and second largest carbon emitter. As a country -- unsurpassed ability to drive innovation and scientific breakthroughs. As the country the people around the world. Continue to look to in times of crisis we've got a vital role to play we can't stand on the sidelines. We've got a unique responsibility. And the steps that -- -- today prove that we're willing to meet that responsibility. -- -- America's carbon pollution Bill Lester global. Carbon pollution rose to a record. That's probably. Developing countries are using them more and more energy and tens of millions of people entering a global middle class. Naturally want to buy cars and -- commissioners of their -- just like us. Can't blame them for that. And when you have conversations were poor countries -- say what you went through these stages of development. Why can't we. But what we also -- recognizes these same countries are also more vulnerable to the effects of climate change -- we are. They don't just have as much to lose they -- mortal lives. Developing nations with some of the fastest rising levels of carbon pollution. Are gonna have to take action to meet this challenge alongside us. -- watching what we do but we've got to make sure that. They're stepping up to the plate as well. Will we compete for business Wear them but we also share plan. And we have to -- shoulder the responsibility for keeping the planet habitable and where we're gonna suffer the consequences. Together. So the help more countries transitioning. To cleaner sources of energy. And to help them do it faster. We're -- partner with our private sector to -- Private sector technological know how in countries the transition to natural gas. We mobilize billions of dollars in private capital for clean energy projects. Around the world. Today I'm calling for an end of public financing for new coal plants overseas unless they deploy a carbon capture take. -- there's no other viable way for the poorest countries to generate electricity. And I urge other countries to join this effort. And I'm directing my administration to launch negotiations toward. Global free trade in environmental goods and services including clean energy technology to help more countries skipped past the dirty phase of development. And join a global low carbon economy. They don't have to repeat all the same mistakes we. We've also -- -- climate cooperation. -- major emerging economies like India and Brazil and China. The world's largest emitter. So for example earlier this month president -- of China and I reached important agreement to jointly pays down our production and consumption. Of dangerous. -- floor apartments. And we intend to take more steps together in the months to come it will make a difference. It's a significant step in the production. And finally my administration -- redouble our efforts. To engage our international partners in reaching a new global agreement reduce. Carbon pollution through concrete action. Four years ago in Copenhagen. Every major country agreed for the first time to limit carbon pollution by point one. Two years ago we decided to forge a new agreement. Beyond point one it would apply to all countries not just developed countries. What we mean is. An agreement that's ambitious because that's what the scale of the -- demands. We need an inclusive. Agreement because every country has to play its part. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- If we can come together and get this right. We can define a sustainable future. For your generation. So that's. That's my point. The actions I've announced today. Announced today. Should send a strong signal to the world. America intends to take bold action to reduce carbon pollution. We will continue to -- by the power bar -- If that's what the United States of America has always done. I'm convinced. This is the fight America can and will lead in the 21 century and I'm convinced this is a fight that America muscling. But it will require all of us to do our part. -- -- scientists is designed new fuels. Campbell made farmers to grow -- fuels. We'll need engineers. To devise new technologies family business is to make and sell most acknowledges. -- made workers to operate assembly lines at -- -- high tech. Zero carbon components. We'll also need builders to hammer and -- place the foundations for a a new. Clean energy -- Remedy gives special care to people in communities. That are unsettled by this transition not just here in the United States but around the world. And those of us. In positions of responsibility. -- need to be less concerned with the judgment. A special interests and well connected donors. And more concerned with the judgment of posterity. Because -- And your children your children's children will have to live with the consequences. Of our decisions. I said before climate change has become a partisan issue. But it hasn't always been. There wasn't that long ago the Republicans led the way on new and innovative policies to tackle these issues. Virgin Nixon -- did. George H. W. Bush declared. First US president. To declare human activities are changing the atmosphere in unexpected and unprecedented ways. Someone who never shied away from a challenge. John McCain. Introduced a market based cap and trade bill to slow carbon pollution. The woman -- that I've chosen to head up BBA Gina McCarthy. She's worked. Just sort of -- -- has worked her B day in my administration which is also worked for five Republican governors. Go -- long track record of working with the industry and business leaders to forge common sense solutions. Unfortunately she's being held up in the senate. He's been held up for months forced to jump through hoops no cabinet nominee should ever have to -- because. Because they're too many in the Republican Party right now we think that the Environmental Protection Agency has no business protecting our environment. From carbon pollution. The senate should confirm her without any further obstruction or delay. For more broadly we've got to move beyond partisan politics on this issue. I want to be clear I am willing to work would anybody. Republicans Democrats independents. Libertarians greens. Anybody to combat this threat on behalf markets. I'm open to all sorts of new ideas. Maybe better ideas. To make sure that we deal with climate change in -- way the promotes jobs and growth. Nobody has a monopoly on what is a very hard problem but I don't have much patience for anyone who denies that this challenges -- We don't have time for a meeting of the Flat -- Society. Sticking your head in the -- might make you feel safer. -- -- -- protected from the coming strong. And ultimately we will be judged as a people and as a society and as a country. And where we go from here. Our founders believed that those of us in positions of power -- elected not. Just to serve as custodians of the president but as caretakers of the future. And they charged us to make decisions with a -- on -- longer horizon than the -- of our political careers. So the American people expect. That's what they deserve. -- our children and our children's children will look at us in the I am Alaska's did we do all -- we could. Only have the chance. To deal -- this problem. And leave them a cleaner safer more stable world and I want to be able to say yes we did. Don't you want that. Americans are not -- people who look backwards where people look forward. Route people who -- what the future holds we shape it. What we need in this fight our citizens. -- stand up and speak up and compel us to do what this moment demands understand this is not just a job for politicians. Dominate all of -- to educate your classmates or colleagues your parents. Your friends. Tell them what's at stake. Speak of a town all. Church groups PTA meetings. Push back on misinformation speak up for the facts. Broaden the circle of those who are willing to stand up for our future. Convince those in power to reduce our carbon pollution. -- your own community is to adopt smarter practices and best -- remind folks there's no contradiction between a sound environment. And strong economic growth. And remind everyone who represented -- you at every -- -- government that sheltering future generations against the ravages of climate change is a prerequisite for your -- Make yourself heard on this issue. I understand the politics will be tough. The challenge we must accept that -- not reward us with a clear moment of victory there's no. -- When president Kennedy said we go to the moon within the decade we knew we build a spaceship and we need to -- all. Our progress here will be measured differently. In crises -- In plan to preserve. But can we imagine a more worthy goal. For while we may not live to see the full realization of our ambition. We will have the set. We -- our children. Will be be better -- for what we did. It makes you realize. That astronauts set all those years ago just what you have. Back in their -- And that image in the photograph that that bright blue ball rising over the moon's surface. Containing everything we hold here. The laughter of children. -- sunset. All the hopes and dreams of posterity. That's what's at stake. That's what we're fighting for. If we remember that. -- -- swisher will succeed. Thank you god but god blessed us. Details about his national climate change. Action plan the president called for new carbon pollution standards particularly at power plants an end to tax breaks for big oil and the spoke -- a goal of 20% of its electricity from renewable sources renewable -- excuse me in this country. Saying quote America already paying the price for an -- have Mary Bruce Allen the White House line is joining us to talk about the president. Comments and the number of other issues Helena -- -- -- As I mentioned it before the president saying the country already paying the price for an action yet the U response. From some Republicans is that the price to be too high. In terms of taxes on pollution and and restrictions and Adams can play house speaker John -- comments last week. And it's me. -- -- -- -- threatened regulations against power plants. You've been outspoken against regulations -- helped me -- similar fears that it'll hurt. I think this is absolutely crazy. Why would you want to increase the cost of energy and kill more American jobs at a time when the American people -- -- asking a question. -- of the jobs. Okay strong response from John Boehner -- president expecting uphill battle here. Absolutely I mean like -- really clean coal the president is calling for. Coal fired power plants to reduce their carbon emissions that's -- that he says well. Combat global warming up reduce climate change and -- -- welcome news for environmentalists are hailing this decision that I. -- a lot of power plant's main -- be forced to close and that means that you have a lot of stakeholders and energy companies a lot of Republicans speaking out very adamantly against -- -- this is definitely an uphill battle this is going to be a long slog. All right while the president is taking a group of Republican senators came out to criticize the plan. Among them Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell let's hear from him. A war on coal is more than just -- An impact on this particular form of energy. It also -- a huge impact on manufacturing. And my state for example. We have very low. Utility rates. Largely because that the -- that we produced relatively close to the utilities. It is the way in which we are allowed to be competitive. So the war on coal impacts -- state in two ways it creates the depression and central Appalachia that is what from -- featured Kentucky. And also since we have a number of automobile plant and a lot of auto supply plant in our stated drives the cost of production. Of parts and vehicles up so this -- a huge step in the wrong direction particularly in the middle. The most tepid recovery after deep recession and -- new ones memory. They happen again that someone from a coal state. Giving those types of warnings -- that resonate with the American public. -- -- really have as we heard the Republican saying that this is gonna harm jobs this is gonna harm the economy the White House and the president is saying the exact opposite that by. Updating some of these power plants you're actually creating jobs -- says this is part of his his broader bigger what he called the all of the above energy strategy and that's really aimed at boosting economy creating more jobs up. To be interesting to see how it's received but we certainly have two definite polar opposite sides of the spectrum here. -- -- and let's switch from climate change to Snowden. And it snowed and maybe how OK Edward -- we've got the latest on the search for the -- -- -- whistle blower. I'm he's apparently been stuck in limbo in transit in -- Moscow airports and Sunday -- today president Vladimir Putin's. Projected US government extradition request saying he like abolition -- go way. Saying this is quote just the same as shaving a piglet too much noise. But too little hair. What does this do first to our relationship with Russia your fruit and saying outright he will not extradite. -- snow and. But I couldn't does not want to deal with this snowed inside he has said that he does he cannot extradite -- but that's actually lower at a technical issue here. The US and -- do not have any extradition agreement so -- can't actually. Actually turn Snowden over. But he is set -- like anything to deal that and that's of that kind of colorful language came from about. About -- -- -- he says that he's afraid this could harm the US Russian relationship is approved as having to walk a very fine line here he doesn't want anything to do that but in the meantime he has. -- holed up in -- in the airport in Moscow he's. He's hidden somewhere hidden away somewhere there in the terminal so. Right now we're sort of at a standstill. We have a response from the White House. No direct response from the White House to this piglet yet but the White House has said issued a very very sort of interesting kind of warm and friendly statement saying that they really would like -- and and the Russians simply expel who -- her ccb to expel -- -- And put him back into American custody to help the Americans get this was a lower back back on US soil -- Edwards noted may have an interest in going to Ecuador but is passports been revoked he's apparently in limbo somewhere that Moscow airport. You know how -- this playing out. But certainly -- initially there -- reports that he wanted to go from Los. Out to Havana and -- from Havana down to Ecuador. But right now he as we -- mentioned he's stuck in the in the Moscow airport apparently meeting is hanging out in the terminal walking somewhere near the baggage claim. But not actually seen him he's just he's he's still in the airport and we're not sure where he's headed next the US of course hopes that he's headed right back your -- Okay nobody knows exactly what's on these laptops and we assume is classified information and this convenient very dangerous indeed. And it. Any any response there from from the US in terms of what type of risky poses. -- -- claims as you mentioned that he still has. A lot of information that he knows the whereabouts every CIA outpost in the world that he could do a lot of damage still he wanted to so obviously the US is very concerned about this but -- some of the administration is not -- -- -- you can imagine that's a lot of classified information high time America Chris thank you so much for joining us. From the White House bonds has been an east news. Digital slash report I'm tired and his in New York Oprah get back to regular programming. This has been a special report from ABC news.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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