Carney: US 'has to lead' on climate change


The White House on Monday dismissed concerns that a new plan to dramatically cut carbon emissions from power plants would lead to sizable job losses, saying the U.S. "has to lead."

“The interests that always claim in circumstances like this that there will be job loss and doomsday scenarios, that’s what they said when regulation was put in place in 1990, and it wasn’t true then,” White House press secretary Jay Carney told CNN. “And that’s what they say every time the United States takes action to protect the health and welfare of our children.”

The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to roll out a rule Monday morning mandating that power plant pollution is cut 30 percent at existing power plants by 2030. But the regulation is likely to see stiff opposition from Republicans and coal interests, who argue the plan will costs jobs and spike energy prices.

The new rules, which seize on regulatory authority derived from an obscure provision in the Clean Air Act, will likely draw a legal challenge.

But Carney said Obama had the authority under the Nixon-era legislation to implement the rules.

“Being able to act to regulate the emissions of carbon will create profound benefits for the health of our children,” Carney said.

“This is the right thing to do, and the president is very confident that he has the authority to do it,” he added.

Carney also dismissed criticism that the rule would have little impact on global climate change, since major energy consumers like India and China appeared unlikely to adopt similar standards.

“The United States has to lead, and this is an indication the United States will lead on this very important challenge posed by climate change,” Carney said.