The White House Blog: The President

  • What They're Saying Around the Country: Support for Commonsense, Responsible Steps to Curb Carbon Pollution

    On Monday, as part of the President’s Climate Action Plan, the EPA proposed the first-ever carbon pollution guidelines for power plants. We already regulate pollution like sulfur, arsenic, mercury, and lead, but we let power plants release as much carbon pollution as they want.

    The EPA’s proposal will prevent as many as 150,000 asthma attacks in kids each year while helping combat the impacts of global warming, which are already being felt in communities across the country. It provides states the flexibility to meet the standards using the energy sources that work best for them.

    These commonsense, responsible steps to curb carbon pollution are already being hailed by editorial boards across the country. Here’s a sample of what they’re saying:

    Maryland — Baltimore Sun: "Carbon rules can work: Obama administration unveils a climate change plan already proven effective by Maryland and other states with cap-and-trade policies"

    Make no mistake, this is not anti-business. A lot of folks in the utility industry will be pleased to see the regulations move forward, chiefly because it will finally bring some consistency to the market and create new opportunities for renewable power. Meanwhile, burning less coal will also mean reducing harmful and potentially cancer-causing byproducts like mercury and sulfuric acid that are a threat to human health and the environment as well.

  • Day 1: The President Touches Down in Poland, Starting Four-Day Trip to Europe

    Watch on YouTube

    Early this morning, President Obama landed in Warsaw, Poland — his first stop on a four-day trip to Europe in which he will also visit Belgium and France.

    Shortly after he landed, the President took part in an arrival ceremony at Warsaw Chopin Airport with President Bronisław Komorowski of Poland. "It is wonderful to be back in Poland," President Obama said, adding that the country is "one of our great friends and one of our strongest allies in the world."

    It is a special honor to be here as Poles celebrate the 25th anniversary of the rebirth of Polish democracy. And this year also marks the 15th anniversary of Poland’s membership in NATO. I’m starting the visit here because our commitment to Poland’s security, as well as the security of our allies in Central and Eastern Europe, is a cornerstone of our own security and it is sacrosanct.

  • D-Day Commemorations: Information for Veterans and Invitees

    On Friday, President Obama will visit Normandy to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion by Allied forces. To honor the Americans who fought and died in the campaign, President Obama and President Hollande will participate in a ceremony at the American cemetery close to Omaha Beach, the site of the American landing in Normandy.

    We suggest that Americans wishing to attend the ceremony at the cemetery as part of the general public, please email the U.S. Embassy in Paris for additional information. If you are a World War II veteran attending the ceremony, please email the U.S. Defense Attaché Office in Paris.

    We expect large numbers of visitors at the events on the 6th. To aid in your visit, we suggest contacting these U.S. Offices even if you have received tickets in advance so we may assist all Americans as much as possible on this day of events.

    For U.S. veterans and invitees planning on attending the ceremony, please visit the D-Day Commemorations site on the U.S. Embassy France website for more information.

  • Power Africa: Beyond the Grid

    Congratulations to the 27 private-sector partners of “Beyond the Grid” – a new Power Africa initiative to unlock investment and growth specifically for off-grid and small-scale energy solutions – announced today by Secretary Moniz at the U.S.-Africa Energy Ministerial in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. 

    President Obama launched Power Africa nearly one year ago to double access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa – electricity needed for students to succeed, businesses to thrive, and African economies to grow. The challenge is greatest beyond the electric grid serving dense urban populations. More than 240 million people live without electricity in rural and peri-urban communities across the six Power Africa focus countries. Too many do not even show up on government plans to expand the grid over the next decade.

    But, bolstered by the falling cost of renewable energy generation; rapid advances in energy storage, smart meter, and  mobile payment technologies; and innovative business models, new distributed energy companies are now delivering clean, reliable energy in Africa at a competitive price point. While the market is still young, it holds great promise to follow the mobile phone in leapfrogging centralized infrastructure across Africa. 

    Beyond the Grid will double down on Power Africa’s support for this potentially game-changing sector, building on more than 25 small-scale energy projects already in the Power Africa pipeline. Beyond the Grid’s 27 founding partners – including impact investors, venture philanthropists, clean-energy enterprises, and practitioners – have committed to invest over $1 billion over the next five years to seed and scale distributed energy solutions for millions of African homes, businesses, schools, and other public facilities.

  • Raw Video: President Obama Talks with Young Asthma Patients

    Last week, instead of recording his weekly address at the White House as usual, President Obama taped it at the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

    In his address, the President discussed the EPA's new actions to cut carbon pollution — and at the medical center, he visited children whose asthma is aggravated by air pollution.

    Take a look at what the President and the kids had to say — and pass this on:

    Watch on YouTube

    If you agree that we need to fight climate change and its effects on our communities, add your name to stay involved with the President's Climate Action Plan.

  • Taking Action to Reduce Carbon Pollution at the State, Local, and Tribal Level

    This morning, the Obama administration put forward the first-ever plan to reduce carbon pollution from power plants. Cutting carbon emissions will help prevent up to 6,500 premature deaths and 150,000 asthma attacks among children. It will also reduce electricity bills by approximately 8 percent by increasing energy efficiency and reducing demand in the electricity system, while creating tens of thousands of jobs across the country. We have set limits for arsenic, mercury, and lead pollution, but we let power plants emit as much carbon pollution as they want – until today.  

    For decades, state, city, county, and tribal leaders have led the way in reducing pollution, making our communities healthier and cleaner. This carbon pollution standard proposal puts tools in the hands of each state – there’s no one-size-fits-all approach here. Governors will have flexibility to meet the proposed standards using the energy sources that work best for each state.

    And let’s remember that the idea of setting higher standards to cut carbon pollution isn’t new. 47 states have utilities that run demand-side energy efficiency programs, 38 have renewable portfolio standards or goals, and 10 have market-based greenhouse gas emissions programs. More than 1,000 mayors have signed a climate protection agreement. And county and tribal leaders are on the front lines dealing with climate impacts every day.

    As co-chairs of the President’s bipartisan State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience, we have had the chance to travel to regions throughout the country. The community leaders we’ve met with are not consumed by Washington ideological debates; they want to discuss how they are dealing with the floods, fires, droughts, and super storms that are putting the health and well-being of their communities at stake. And in addition to dealing with the existing impacts of climate change, these elected leaders are taking bold action to reduce the carbon pollution that is causing climate change.

  • Myths and Facts: Cutting Carbon Pollution

    Today, as part of the President’s plan to cut carbon pollution, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unveiled the first-ever national limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants, the single-largest source of carbon pollution in the United States. The steady, responsible steps EPA is taking today will help prevent up to 6,500 premature deaths and spare American children as many as 150,000 asthma attacks a year. It will also eliminate waste, save Americans money on their electric bills, and spark innovation and job creation.

    But just because this common-sense proposal will have huge benefits for hard-working Americans across the country, that doesn’t mean some people won’t spread misinformation and launch false attacks.

    Throughout our history, when America has taken steps to cut pollution and protect public health, opponents have made dire predictions about destroying jobs and harming the economy – and throughout our history they’ve been wrong. This time will be no different. So let’s look at some of the myths they will try to spread and the facts that dispel them.

    Myth: Carbon pollution standards will destroy jobs and hurt the economy.

    Fact: Americans know we can cut pollution and protect the health of our kids while creating jobs.

    Over the years, this has been the polluters’ favorite myth. When we passed the Clean Air Act to combat smog, they said new pollution standards would decimate the auto industry. In 1990, when we took steps to stop acid rain, they claimed the lights would go out and businesses around the country would suffer.

    The facts tell a different story.

    EPA has been protecting air quality for more than 40 years, and in that time we've cut pollution by 70 percent while the economy has more than tripled.

  • By the Numbers: The EPA's Proposed New Carbon Pollution Standards for Power Plants

    Today, as part of the President’s Climate Action Plan, the EPA proposed new carbon pollution standards for power plants. These standards represent a commonsense proposal that will have huge benefits for all Americans. In fact, for every dollar of investment spurred by this proposal, there is roughly seven dollars’ worth of health benefits in return.

    Here are some numbers that help explain today’s announcement:

    • Nearly 40 is the number of percentage points of total carbon pollution that comes from power plants. The President’s Climate Action Plan has focused on modernizing our buildings, factories, cars, and trucks – but altogether, they make up a little over half of all the carbon pollution. It makes sense, then, that our next logical step would be to modernize the power sector, putting in place the first-ever carbon pollution standards for power plants.
    • More than 300 is the number of groups EPA engaged with across the country – including 11 public listening sessions that hosted more than 3,000 people – in order to develop its proposal. And the outreach continues. After the proposed rule is published, there will be a 120-day public comment period to make sure the final standards reflect all the best ideas and input from everyone includes states, utilities, labor, health advocates, environmental groups and industry.
    • 30 is the number of percentage points of total carbon pollution that will be cut from our power sector by 2030 – relative to 2005 levels. That is like erasing the annual carbon pollution from two-thirds of all cars and trucks in America. And if you add up what we will avoid between 2020 and 2030 under the proposal, it’s more than the carbon pollution from every power plant in America in 2012 – times two. 

  • President Obama Speaks on the Recovery of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl: "It's a Good Day"

    President Barack Obama announces the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl

    President Barack Obama announces the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, an American soldier held captive for nearly five years by militants during the Afghanistan war, during a statement in the Rose Garden of the White House, Saturday, May 31, 2014. With the President are Sgt. Bergdahl's parents, Jani and Bob Bergdahl. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

    Watch on YouTube

    Earlier this evening, in the White House Rose Garden, President Obama spoke about the recovery of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl — an American soldier who spent nearly five years in captivity during the war in Afghanistan.

    Standing with Sgt. Bergdahl's parents, Bob and Jani, the President made clear that "while Bowe was gone, he was never forgotten."

    His parents thought about him and prayed for him every single day, as did his sister Sky, who prayed for his safe return. He wasn't forgotten by his community in Idaho, or the military, which rallied to support the Bergdahls through thick and thin. And he wasn't forgotten by his country, because the United States of America does not ever leave our men and women in uniform behind.

  • Weekly Address: Reducing Carbon Pollution in Our Power Plants

    In this week’s address, President Obama discussed new actions by the Environmental Protection Agency to cut dangerous carbon pollution, a plan that builds on the efforts already taken by many states, cities and companies. These new commonsense guidelines to reduce carbon pollution from power plants were created with feedback from businesses, and state and local governments, and they would build a clean energy economy while reducing carbon pollution.

    The President discussed this new plan from the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., where he visited children whose asthma is aggravated by air pollution. As a parent, the President said he is dedicated to make sure our planet is cleaner and safer for future generations.

    Transcript | mp4 | mp3

    President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address at the Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., May 30, 2014.

    President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address at the Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., May 30, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)