Obama to Give Push on Climate
The initiatives will not amount to much in terms of energy policy or their impact on global warming. But they are part of a broader campaign to build public support for an Environmental Protection Agency rule that the White House will unveil in June. The rule, which has already run into objections, will limit carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants and is expected to create a major new market for zero-carbon energy from sources like wind and solar.
Mr. Obama will make his announcement in a speech at a Walmart in Mountain View, Calif., where he will talk up the benefits of solar power and energy efficiency. The speech will come at the end of a presidential fund-raising trip to Silicon Valley.
The president chose Walmart to make a point: The corporation gets about 25 percent of its electricity from solar power. In the United States over all, only about 2 percent of power comes from solar sources.
A sweeping National Climate Assessment report that was released this week lays out the impact of climate change across the United States, like increased flooding in Miami and devastating drought in Arizona.
There is no chance that a major climate change bill will be passed by the deadlocked Congress. But Mr. Obama continues to announce small-scale actions. On Friday, they will include new energy conservation standards for devices like conveyor belts and escalators and one for walk-in coolers and a program to replace outdoor public lighting with energy-efficient alternatives in five cities. He will also set a goal to save $2 billion in three years by increasing energy efficiency in federal buildings, and he will promote an Energy Department program to provide solar industry training at community colleges.
The White House estimates that together, the executive actions will spur private companies to invest an additional $2 billion in energy efficiency, and will cut carbon pollution by more than 380 million metric tons — the equivalent of taking 80 million cars off the road for one year.
The White House will also announce that several housing developments will voluntarily increase their use of solar power.