WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama is preparing to unveil his long-awaited national plan to combat climate change in a major speech, he announced on Saturday.
"There's no single step that can reverse the effects of climate change," Obama said in an online video released by the White House. "But when it comes to the world we leave our children, we owe it to them to do what we can."
People consulting with White House officials on Obama's plan, to be unveiled Tuesday at Georgetown University, say they expect him to put forth regulations on heat-trapping gases emitted by existing coal-fired power plans. They were not authorized to disclose details about the plan ahead of the announcement and requested anonymity.
Environmental groups have been pleading with Obama to take that step, but the administration has said it's focused first on controls on new power plants. The Environmental Protection Agency, using its authority under the Clean Air Act, has already proposed controls on new plants, but the rules have been delayed - to the chagrin of states and environmental groups threatening to sue over the delays.
An administration official said last week that Obama was still weighing whether to include existing plants in the climate plan. The official wasn't authorized to comment by name and requested anonymity.
The White House wouldn't disclose any details Saturday about what steps Obama may call for. But his senior energy and climate adviser, Heather Zichal, said last week that controls on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants would be a major focus. She also said the plan would boost energy efficiency of appliances and buildings, plus expand renewable energy.
Putting a positive spin on a contentious partisan issue, Obama said the U.S. is uniquely poised to deal with the serious challenges posed by climate change. He said American scientists and engineers would have to design new fuels and energy sources, and workers will have to adapt to a clean energy economy.
"We'll need all of us, as citizens, to do our part to preserve God's creation for future generations," Obama said.