The UK's Green Party and Liberal Democrats have praised Barack Obama ahead of the US president outlining his plan to tackle climate change by reducing greenhouse gases from coal-fired power stations. The so-called Clean Power Plan is designed to slash carbon dioxide emissions by 32% from 2005 levels by the end of the next decade in 2030.
The White House has also claimed the action plan will create 30% more renewable energy generation in 2030 and create thousands of jobs by incentivising a shift towards green energy. Obama will also say the move will prevent 300,000 missed workdays and school days as well as up to 3,600 premature deaths.
"Climate change is not a problem for another generation. Not anymore. That's why on Monday my administration will release the final version of America's Clean Power Plan – the biggest, most important step we've ever take to tackle climate change," Obama said in a White House video.
"Power plants are the single biggest source of the harmful pollution that contributes to climate change. But until now, there have been no federal limits to the amount of that pollution those plants can dump into the air."
Natalie Bennett, the leader of the Green Party, said the Democrat president "deserves credit" for the plan and urged David Cameron to follow Obama's lead ahead of the UN's climate change conference in Paris in November. "He deserves credit for doing this while up against the powerful financial interests and allies of the fossil fuel industry," Bennett said.
"Here in the UK, even the government's own advisers say we won't meet our unsatisfactory climate change targets and embarrassingly, we rank near the bottom of the European renewables league table.
"It's clear that national and global solutions to halt climate change must go hand in hand. If Cameron is serious about the Paris climate conference, he should follow Obama's example of rewarding renewable energy projects, do more to support energy efficiency and ditch his current reckless approach of demolishing key clean energy policies."
Bush blasts Obama
Likewise, Tim Farron, the new leader of the Liberal Democrats, attacked the prime minister while praising Obama over the proposal. "We have seen today how Obama is committed to bringing in measures to tackle climate change, yet Cameron is insistent on setting about dismantling the coalition's green legacy," the Westmorland and Lonsdale MP said.
"Our own prime minister seems intent on rolling back the green agenda championed by Liberal Democrats in coalition and it reflects his arrogant and lackadaisical attitude to climate change. In America they are seeking to boost investment in wind and solar technology, but in the UK the government is slashing support for these very same renewable energy sources."
However, the US president has come under fire in the US, where Republican presidential hopeful Jed Bush claimed Obama's Carbon Rule was "irresponsible and overreaching". On his campaign website, the former Florida governor said in a statement: "The rule runs over state governments, will throw countless people out of work, and increases everyone's energy prices.
"The fact is, US emissions of greenhouse gases are down to the same levels emitted in the mid-1990s, even though we have 50 million more people. A chief reason for this success is the energy revolution which was created by American ingenuity – not federal regulations.
"Climate change will not be solved by grabbing power from states or slowly hollowing out our economy. The real challenge is how do we grow and prosper in order to foster more game-changing innovations and give us the resources we need to solve problems like this one."