Obama Proposes Initiative to Lessen Carbon Emissions

August 30, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. initiative /ɪˈnɪʃ i ə tɪv, ɪˈnɪʃ ə-/ (n.) – a program that aims to solve a problem
Example: The government’s new initiative aims to plant more trees along the national highways.

2. emission /ɪˈmɪʃ ən/ (n.) – the act of secreting or producing something
Example: The air in some cities is so polluted because of excessive gas emissions.

3. leeway /ˈliˌweɪ/ (n.) – the extent of freedom that one has in a specific situation
Example: The company gives its employees a leeway to choose their own work shift.

4. dead set against (someone/something) /dɛd sɛt əˈgɛnst, əˈgeɪnst/ (idiom) – to be completely against or opposed to something
Example: He was dead set against pollution, so he made a point of riding a bike instead of a car.

5. persistent /pərˈsɪs tənt, -ˈzɪs-/ (adj.) – remaining with a decision or a course of action despite difficulties
Example: Even when no one supported him, the president passed the bill because he was persistent.


Read the text below.
US president Barack Obama [buh-RAHK oh-BAH-muh] announced a new initiative to reduce the country’s carbon emissions by 30 percent in 16 years.

This initiative aims to lessen the number of power plants that operate on coal. These power plants provide 37 percent of the electricity supply and make up 40 percent of carbon emissions in the United States.

President Obama has sought the aid of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in creating the proposal, which was released last June. The proposal declares that, in every state, a reduction target will be given. Each state will also have a set of options as leeway to meet the targets in their own terms.

Although the proposal has earned support from environmentalists and politicians alike, the US Congress continues to resist the president’s initiative. Majority of the House of Representatives are dead set against passing any new law in relation to climate change. This is because many representatives distrust the existence of global warming and even doubt that it was caused by people.

In addition, Republican House Speaker John Boehner [jon BAY-ner] said that one major concern is that the initiative may lead to the collapse of the country’s employment and economy, which is unavoidable in any proposal concerning climate change.

Despite the lack of support from the Congress, President Obama remains persistent by building an alliance with the EPA. He admitted that it takes time and difficult choices to build a better energy economy. Regardless, he said the outcome will provide a better and cleaner future for the country.

President Obama is known to support and strive for the fight against climate change since his first presidential term five years ago.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you approve of President Obama’s proposal? Why or why not?
·         Which do you think is a more important issue, climate change or employment and economy? Why?

Discussion B

·         Do you think people can live without electricity in order to stop climate change? Why or why not?
·         What do you think is the best solution to fight climate change? 

August 30, 2014