This week, President Obama made a historic announcement in the effort to address climate change. He called on U.S. power plants to generate 32 percent less carbon pollution by the year 2030 than they do today. The President is calling this initiative the "Clean Power Plan," and it is the biggest step America has ever taken to reduce the pollution responsible for climate change.
Virginia's contribution to this effort will be about a one-third reduction in its power plant pollution by 2030, a pollution cut it achieved once before, between 2005 and 2012, even without a Clean Power Plan. As the Commonwealth and the country move forward with the plan, we must also ensure that Virginia's traditional coal communities have a place in a cleaner energy future. I have sponsored legislation to ramp up the federal contribution to clean coal R&D and promoted career and technical education and workforce training programs so that these communities can be on the forefront of clean coal innovation, while also diversifying their regional economies.
The consensus is clear – from an overwhelming majority of scientists, to land-use planners in low-lying coastal regions like Hampton Roads, to the U.S. military, to His Holiness Pope Francis – all agree that climate change is real, it is driven primarily by the burning of fossil fuels, and we must do something about it. In 1962, President Kennedy asked us to go to the moon in seven years. We did it. In 2015, President Obama has asked us to generate a third less air pollution in fifteen years. We can do this, with Virginia leading the way.
Senator Tim Kaine"