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WH: Carbon rules needed to combat extreme weather

White House counselor John Podesta looked to link the president's new rules capping carbon pollution to extreme weather events during a rare television appearance on the Weather Channel Tuesday morning.

Podesta, whose portfolio for the president includes climate change issues, said it was important that viewers "let our politicians know we need to move ahead" on tougher restrictions on the nation's power plants.

"The risk on the downside you're seeing every day in the weather," Podesta said.

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The administration has increasingly pointed to severe weather to justify its more aggressive approach on climate change. In unveiling the rules, the White House noted that droughts, floods and wildfires are becoming more frequent and intense.

Podesta also insisted a proposed EPA rule that would require power plants to cut their greenhouse gas pollution by 30 percent by 2030 was "a very realistic goal and a legitimate goal," saying the administration hadn't aimed higher out of concern the regulation would later be bargained down.

"We think it's achievable because what the EPA administrator did, Gina McCarthy, she listened to everyone, all the stakeholders, and she put together a rule that really requires these reductions to go state by state so that different states have different mixes in the way they generate power," Podesta said. "But each state is going to be able to meet these goals with a mix of more renewables, more efficiency, some switching from coal to gas, and some improvement in the efficiency of these plants."

Podesta added the president's regulations would put people to work and prevent asthma and heart attacks.

Republicans have denounced the new regulations, saying they would kill coal jobs and increase energy prices.