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President Barack Obama to unveil controversial plan to drastically reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the United States by 32 per cent by 2030

Wires

A CONTROVERSIAL plan to drastically reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the US by 32 per cent by 2030 will be unveiled by President Barack Obama today.

Obama has called America’s Clean Power Plan, which will set unprecedented limits on emissions, the “biggest, most important step we’ve ever taken” to fight climate change.

In a video released on Sunday, Obama said climate change is not a problem for another generation and took aim at the biggest source of harmful carbon pollution — power plants.

40 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions in the US are from power plants.

Coal-fired power plants provide about 37 per cent of electricity supply in the United States, ahead of natural gas and nuclear energy.

“Until now there have been no federal limits to the amount of pollution that those plants can dump into the air,” Obama said.

“For the sake of our kids, for the health and safety of all Americans, that’s about to change.”

The emissions limits will cost an estimated $8.4 billion annually by 2030, which has been met with vocal derision from the Republican Party and legal threats from opponents.

A plume of steam billows from the coal-fired Merrimack Station in Bow, New Hampshire. Pic

Pollution … a plume of steam billows from the coal-fired Merrimack Station in Bow, New Hampshire. Picture: AP Photo/Jim Cole Source: AP

The Republican Party also criticised the aim of reducing emissions by 32 per cent, describing it as a “heavy-handed” plan that would have “devastating consequences for our economy.”

Obama argued that the plan will lead to lower energy bills, create jobs in the renewable energy sector and ensure more reliable energy services.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) head Gina McCarthy also defended the plan, and called the rules “reasonable” and “achievable.”

The plan will assign emission targets to each state.

A number of Republican governors have threatened not to follow the regulations.

But if states refuse, the EPA has the authority to impose its own plan.

Climate change was a core promise of Obama’s 2008 election campaign, but it will fall on his successor to implement the plan against fierce Republican opposition.

Democrat 2016 election hopeful Hillary Clinton has voiced her support of the plan and criticised the Republican party for its lack of credible alternatives.