Will Obama's Ambitious New Climate Plan Work?06:33
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President Barack Obama wipes perspiration from his face as he speaks about climate change at Georgetown University in Washington, Tuesday, June 25, 2013. (Charles Dharapak/AP)
President Barack Obama wipes perspiration from his face as he speaks about climate change at Georgetown University in Washington, Tuesday, June 25, 2013. (Charles Dharapak/AP)

President Barack Obama on Tuesday announced his ambitious new plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions and lessen the country's dependence on foreign oil.

For the first time, power plants — which are responsible for nearly 40 percent of CO2 emissions — will have those emissions regulated.

"There will be strong opposition but I think he can make a lot of progress over the next few years."

Dan Reicher

The president's plan also aims to increase reliance on natural gas and renewable energy; make trucks more efficient; and give homeowners and businesses incentives to invest in energy-efficiency improvements.

The plan will likely be challenged by Republicans in Congress and the power plant industry, according to Dan Reicher, head of the Center for Energy Policy and Finance at Stanford University. But a 2007 Supreme Court decision gave the EPA jurisdiction over regulating CO2.

"I think [Obama] will prevail," said Reicher, who has worked in three administrations and was Assistant Secretary of Energy under Clinton. "A lot of these other actions, he has his own authority to carry them out. He can direct the Department of Defense, for example, to  use more renewables at their bases; to speed up the permitting of  renewable energy projects on Department of Interior lands; to work with the states on natural gas development. So he's got a lot of authority and I think he's going to use it."

Obama would carry out the plan using executive orders, bypassing Congress.

In his State of the Union address in February, Obama warned Congress that if it did not act to curb CO2 emissions and move the country toward greener energy use, he would use his executive powers to do so himself.

"There will be strong opposition but I think he can make a lot of progress over the next few years and leave us in a better place when he leaves office," Reicher said.

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This segment aired on June 26, 2013.

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