Obama Moving to Adopt New Climate Change Policies

President Barack Obama speaks during his meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Washington, June 24, 2013.
U.S. President Barack Obama is calling for sweeping policy changes to combat the impact of climate change, both in the United States and throughout the world.

White House officials say Obama plans to outline his reforms in a speech Tuesday in Washington, and issue several orders on his own, avoiding contentious legislative fights over environmental and economic issues with political opponents in Congress.

In announcing his intentions this past weekend, Obama said, "There's no single step that can reverse the effect of climate change. But when it comes to the world we leave our children, we owe it to them to do what we can."

In a key provision, administration aides say the U.S. leader will order the country's Environmental Protection Agency to draft tougher emissions standards for new and existing power plants within a year, and implement them in 2015.

Such proposals would likely be controversial in the United States. Pollution-causing coal is used to produce 40 percent of the nation's electricity, and some energy industry executives say tougher regulations could force them to shut down their operations because it would be too costly to meet stiffer environmental standards.

In addition, government officials say Obama plans to call for cooperation on climate change policies with China, India and Brazil, whose growing economies are using increasing amounts of energy. He says that greater use of natural gas and nuclear power is needed.

In the U.S., Obama wants stiffer fuel-economy rules for large trucks, a reduction in methane emissions that cause greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change and better construction of new roads and buildings that might be affected by flooding from massive storms that have hit the U.S. over the years.