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Obama Unveils Ambitious Plan to Combat Climate Change

President Obama Gets Emotional in Climate Change Announcement 1:23

President Barack Obama on Monday announced an ambitious plan to drastically reduce carbon pollution from U.S. power plants in an effort to address what he called the greatest threat facing future generations.

The president called the plan, which is aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. power plants, "the single most important step America has ever taken in the fight against global climate change."

Obama’s final proposal requires states, over the next 15 years, to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 32 percent compared to 2005 levels. The goal is more ambitious than the 30 percent cut he called for last year. The revised plan also give states more time to comply.

Obama Announces Aggressive Plan to Counter Air Pollution 1:30

“This is one of those rare issue, because of its magnitude, because of its scope, that is we don’t get it right, we may not be able to reverse,” an impassioned Obama said during remarks at the White House.

Opponents have already vowed to challenge the new regulations in court, and Republicans have blasted the proposal as overreaching and costly.

“The rule runs over state governments, will throw countless people out of work, and increases everyone’s energy prices...Climate change will not be solved by grabbing power from states or slowly hollowing out our economy,” Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush said in a statement.

Obama, who also announced he will become the first president to visit the Alaskan Arctic to highlight the impact of climate change, spent a portion of his remarks defending his plan against the critics he said are making “excuses for inaction.”

“No challenge poses a greater threat to our future, and future generations, than a changing climate,” Obama said.