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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

President Obama Endorses Natural Gas as Bridge Fuel in Climate Speech

From Forbes:
The chief method of cutting emissions is to effectively declare war on coal. In the plan’s most controversial aspect, “President Obama is issuing a Presidential Memorandum directing the Environmental Protection Agency to work expeditiously to complete carbon pollution standards for both new and existing power plants.” These standards, it says, should be drafted by this time next year, and put into place by mid 2015. How tough will they be? This “blueprint” doesn’t say, but if the EPA’s recent rule-making actions are a guide, the plan is to drive as many coal-fired power plants into mothballs as possible.
The document states that “65% of all greenhouse gas emissions can be attributed to energy supply and energy use.” About 40% of those emissions come from coal and a similar portion from oil.
The president’s policy then, is to promote natural gas as a “bridge fuel” to get the country away from coal and oil. “We will promote fuel-switching from coal to gas for electricity production and encourage the development of a global market for gas,” says the plan. In his speech today the president said: ”Natural gas is creating jobs. And it’s the transition fuel that can power our economy with less carbon pollution.”
This implies that the EPA will do its part to persuade power generators to build more gas-fired power plants, while DOE and FERC will be encouraged to approve a sizable number of liquefied natural gas export terminals.
Read the rest here.

Further coverage of the climate speech, from the Washington Post:
What did we learn from President Obama’s climate speech Tuesday? Here are five takeaways.
1. He won’t duck the climate implications of Keystone XL, even though he may still end up approving it. Obama declared, “Our national interest will be served only if this pipeline does not significantly exacerbate the climate problem.” That means the administration will be analyzing whether approving the project will generate more greenhouse gas emissions than blocking it would. However in its draft environmental impact assessment, the State Department indicated that even if the president denies a permit to TransCanada to build the project, the oil in Alberta may be shipped to the U.S. by rail, leading to comparable emissions. So Obama’s final decision will largely depend on how his deputies crunch the numbers. 
Read more of that article here.

And from Politico:
If you were looking for live coverage of President Obama's big climate speech on Tuesday afternoon, your best bet was not CNN or MSNBC but The Weather Channel, which carried full coverage and post-game analysis.
The big three cable networks -- including MSNBC, which used to break for even the most familiar Obama stump speeches -- skipped most of the the president's speech, opting instead for coverage of the recent Supreme Court rulings (MSNBC), the Trayvon Martin trial and the Paula Deen controversy (CNN), and, in the case of Fox News, an interview with a climate change skeptic. 
Read the rest of that article here. 

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