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[ Groups Applaud Obama Tough Talk on Climate Change ]

President Obama’s no-punches-pulled challenge to Congress during Tuesday’s State of the Union speech to take action on global warming is getting high marks from environmental groups concerned about carbon emissions and clean-air standards.

Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, watched the address from the House gallery.

“From our point of view, the largest single source of carbon is power plants,” she said. “He has the authority under the Clean Air Act to take action on power plants, and we expect him to do so. He also laid out a clean-energy future with investment in renewables and efficiency and in research.”

A majority of Americans support the president and see climate change as a problem that is happening right before their eyes, Beinecke said.

Adam Garber, field director with the group PennEnvironment, pointed to turbulent weather systems such as Hurricane Sandy as a wake-up call for Congress to do its part to curb the pollution that contributes to climate change.

“Next time there’s no reason to think that snow is dumped in Erie and the power goes out or we see another Snowmageddon in Pittsburgh or anywhere else in the state,” Garber said. “We have to take every step to prevent that damage from happening by cutting down on global-warming pollution.”

Beinecke said Obama’s challenge to Congress to come up with an incentive-based bipartisan solution to the climate crisis, and his warning that he would if they didn’t, is a sign to Congress and the fossil-fuel industry that he holds the issue as a high priority.

“He presented it as an opportunity for the country, one where we could develop an advantage and develop jobs around clean-energy investments,” Beinecke said. “How do we confront a problem but create an opportunity, which I thought was very important, very powerful.”

A new NRDC and Environment America poll shows that 65 percent of Americans believe climate change is a serious problem, and 60 percent support Obama’s use of executive authority to implement climate solutions – namely, limiting industrial carbon pollution. More information is online at nrdc.org.

Source:  Keystone State News Connection

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