06/25/2013 06:42 pm ET Updated Aug 25, 2013

Time to Tackle Climate Change

I had the privilege today of being at the most comprehensive speech about the climate crisis ever given by a president. It was in this historic speech that President Obama laid out his ambitious plan to combat climate change.

President Obama knows that now is the time to be taking bold action on tackling this crisis, as we are seeing the impacts that climate change is having on our health, our economy, and our environment. We continue to experience extreme weather, including record breaking heat waves, droughts, wildfires, and storms like Superstorm Sandy, which together cost taxpayers billions of dollars each year and cause severe hardship for families across the country. Climate change also worsens air pollution that can exacerbate respiratory illnesses such as asthma and bronchitis, especially in children.

The president understands that it is our moral obligation to take steps to protect our children and our planet for futures generations, just as our parents and grandparents did before us. This is why he has put together a commonsense plan that calls for reducing carbon emissions, while investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy.

In order to reduce carbon emissions, President Obama's plan calls on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to place the first-ever limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants. This is particularly important because we recently reached the dangerous milestone of 400 parts per million of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, and power plants are the largest source of this pollution. Unlike mercury, arsenic or lead, there are currently no limits on how much carbon these power plants are allowed to emit. The President's plan will significantly cut carbon pollution from power plants, which is the single most effective way the president can address climate change.

President Obama has also changed the terms of the debate on the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline -- making it clear that we need to evaluate its impacts on the climate, noting that it will not be built if it increases carbon pollution.

On top of protecting public health and the environment, the president's plan will help us lead a technological revolution in renewable energy and energy efficiency. Our nation already has over three million green jobs, but this plan will generate even more American jobs while helping to foster innovation. This will allow us to continue to grow a strong, resilient green economy while harnessing a limitless supply of clean energy, helping to cut our energy waste, and reducing our dependence on foreign oil.

President Obama knows that climate change is the biggest challenge that our generation faces, which is why he has laid out such an ambitious plan that will make us a leader in tackling this urgent crisis. It shows that we as a nation are committed to protecting our planet for our children and our children's children. We can no longer afford to wait, so we need to implement President Obama's bold plan to combat climate change now.