WASHINGTON | President Barack Obama launched a new plan to tackle climate change on Tuesday with a call to limit carbon pollution from all U.S. power plants and a signal that he would block a proposed pipeline from Canada if it boosted greenhouse gas emissions.
Obama’s long-awaited plan, detailed in a speech at Georgetown University, drew sharp criticism from the coal industry, which would be hit hard by carbon limits, and Republicans, who accused the Democratic president of advancing policies that harm the economy.
Obama’s first-term attempt to reduce climate-warming carbon emissions in a “cap and trade” system was thwarted by Congress, and his administration’s long process of studying whether to approve the Keystone XL pipeline has raised hackles from business groups and Republican opponents.
His comments on the TransCanada Corp pipeline, which would carry oil from Canada to refineries in Texas, were his strongest signal yet that its environmental costs could outweigh the project’s economic benefits. The administration will decide whether to approve the pipeline later this year or in early 2014.
“Our national interest will be served only if this project does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution,” Obama said.
“The net effects of the pipeline’s impact on our climate will be absolutely critical to determining whether this project is allowed to go forward,” he said.
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