One of the White House’s advisers on climate change said that President Obama should use his global warming speech Tuesday to launch a “war on coal” — drawing the ire of the top Republican in the Senate.
Daniel P. Schrag, head of the Harvard University’s Center for the Environment and a member of the science panel that has advised the Obama administration on climate change, told The New York Times that the speech offers Mr. Obama the opportunity to drive the national debate on curbing greenhouse gas emissions.
“Everybody is waiting for action,” Mr. Schrag told the newspaper. “The one thing the president really needs to do now is to begin the process of shutting down the conventional coal plants. Politically, the White House is hesitant to say they’re having a war on coal. On the other hand, a war on coal is exactly what’s needed.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell Tuesday pounced on the remarks, saying they encapsulate the White House’s misguided approach on the issue and will jeopardize the nation’s manufacturing sector.
“Declaring a war on coal is tantamount to declaring a way on jobs,” Mr. McConnell, Kentucky Republican, said on the floor of the Senate.
Mr. Obama is scheduled to roll out his plan for combating climate change during a Tuesday afternoon speech at Georgetown University.
White House officials said the proposal will seek to cut carbon emissions from new and existing power plants in the United States, build up infrastructure in preparation for future storms and call on the nation to lead efforts to combat global warming.