WASHINGTON — Appealing for patience and perseverance from environmental activists, President Barack Obama claimed progress Wednesday in his second-term drive to combat climate change but said more must be done to address a generational problem.
One year after unveiling an aggressive plan, Obama said new emissions limits on power plants, renewable energy projects and new incentives for green technology have cleared the way for further action at home and abroad, despite steadfast opposition from much of Congress.
"When you take those first steps, even if they're hard, and even if there are politics sometimes, you start building momentum and you start mobilizing larger and larger communities," Obama said. "Every step makes a difference."
Obama's remarks to the League of Conservation Voters served as a progress report for his climate plan, which he laid out with much fanfare last June. Much of the plan now is in motion, though the most ambitious steps are still up in the air and will take years to be fully realized.
Change won't be instantaneous, Obama cautioned. "There's no silver bullet."
Indeed, many of the steps he's taking are modest, limited in scope by hostility from both parties to putting a price on carbon pollution, which would require new laws from Congress.
"We're moving, and it's making a difference," he told a supportive crowd at LCV's annual dinner. The environmental group backed Obama early in his 2008 campaign.
The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, a nonpartisan group formerly associated with the Pew Center, said this week that Obama has made at least some progress on most of the 75 goals he laid out last June. Those steps will require follow-through, but if the administration keeps up the pace it achieved in the past year, the United States could meet its 17 percent goal, the center said.
The centerpiece of Obama's plan, carbon limits on existing power plants, is on track after the Environmental Protection Agency met its deadline to issue a draft, although the timeline for states to comply has been delayed in some cases.