Essay Sample on Obama: Reducing Carbon Emissions in US Power Plants

Published: 2023-11-12
Essay Sample on Obama: Reducing Carbon Emissions in US Power Plants
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  United States Political science Energy Barack Obama
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1572 words
14 min read


“Reducing Carbon Emission in Our Power Plants” is a speech by former U.S President Barrack Obama in 2014. According to President Obama, carbon emissions are one of the greatest threats that America faces, and it possesses a severe health risk to all Americans, especially children. As a result, his administration is moving to implement guidelines and regulations that shall limit the amount of carbon emission that American power plants emit in a bid to combat air pollution. Obama delivers a clear and vivid speech that is well researched, relevant, purposeful, well-organized but is not well supported and lacks personal style.

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Topic Relevance

The speaker did choose a topic that is relevant and interesting to the audience. According to Obama (2014), illnesses such as Asma and other breathing problems are associated with the air pollution of their environment. Air pollution and climate change are issues that affect every American, regardless of their financial status or race. Therefore, it is relevant because it is in the interest of all Americans that the issue of air pollution is addressed. Furthermore, it is likely to attract the interest of even those who are not aware of the dangers of air pollution and how it contributes to climate change. For those who do not subscribe to the idea of global warming, they will be interested to know how the new guidelines and regulations on power plants will affect their source or cost of living. The presentation is purposeful, with the orator making it clear on which side he supports. The purpose is to convince the American people to support the initiatives that seek to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

Research on the Topic

Based on the key points that the speaker provides, he ensured that his topic was adequately researched. One of the first claims made by the speaker is that air pollution aggravates respiratory diseases such as Asma (Obama, 2014). The speaker also adds that air pollution and carbon emissions that lead to climate change have the same sources. Therefore, the issues of air pollution and greenhouse gasses are intertwined in that regulating air pollution also regulates carbon emissions and works towards reducing climate change. These claims can be backed up using Manisalidis et al. (2014), which indicates there is a positive relationship between air pollution and individual and public health, as well as climate change. It shows that the speaker made sure to present claims which can be backed up using scientific evidence.

Speech’s Interesting Features

The office occupied, and global warming is the issue that interested me the most from the speech. A sitting U.S president gave the speech, and that is something to which one should pay attention. On any given day, such a speech is likely to be viewed by at least a million people. A president’s actions are likely to affect me in one way or another, and that means that a president’s speech should attract my interest because of its potential impact on my life. However, there is also the topic which formed the core of the president’s speech. Greenhouse gas emissions are one of the most talked-about issues in the world. It is one of the few issues that transverses the political, economic, social, and scientific spectrum. All parties involved are divided on whether climate change is real or not, and the president to go ahead and introduce regulations that touch on such a topic is likely to attract backlash.

The Introduction

One of the commendable things of the speech is the speaker’s introduction, which gained attention and oriented the audience. He was aware that children's healthcare is an important subject that is likely to gain the attention of everyone regardless of whether they approve of him or not. By starting that introduction with children’s health, the speaker ensured that most people lend him an ear because most sane people would not want to see children suffer. He then proceeded to attach children’s health to air pollution. After mentioning children’s health, it was very likely that the audience would want to know the cause of the illnesses and breathing problems among children. He then proceeded to attach air pollution to the release of carbon and climate change. At that point, he had most of his audience hooked and wanting to hear more of what he says.

Clarity and Organization

The speech was clear, appropriate, and well organized. It is very clear that the speaker is talking about carbon pollution from the very start of the speech to the end. The speaker maintains a formal tone and approach throughout the speech that is appropriate for all listeners regardless of age, gender, or profession. The choice of words maintains simple vocabulary that is appropriate for highly educated and lowly educated people in society. The choice of words is an important feature of a speech from such a high profile figure. The last thing he would want is to lock anyone out. The speech is well-organized as it was easy for the listener to follow through the speech and catch the transitions as the speaker moves from one sub-topic to another using transition and topic statements. What is lacking is the vivid and powerful elements that would inspire the mind and hearts of the listeners. The speaker tried to keep too formal and focused to the extent of avoiding anything that was not directly related to the thesis statement.

Support for the Points

One of the speech’s main failures is the lack of support for the points raised. The speaker makes some bold claims and points that require adequate scientific support. For example, “the electricity that the country generates from wind has tripled,” and that generated from the sun has increased tenfold (Obama, 2014). Such statistical claims require one to back up their claim using reliable sources. In as much as the president himself should be a reliable source, the audience would want to know where he is getting such figures so that they can do individual verification. The speaker goes ahead to add that an American home or business adopts solar energy as its primary source every four minutes (Obama, 2014). These are statements that require adequate proof so that they can support the main point.

Personal Style and Immediacy

Personal style and non-verbal immediacy are two other things that are lacking in the president’s speech. The speech lacked any direct questions that would have made the audience more engaged and keep them interested in the speech. The speaker used plural pronouns such as “us” and “we.” For instance, “when we raise the bar, they meet it” (Obama, 2014). These plural pronouns are a demonstration of verbal immediacy, which tends to bring people together and makes them feel like part of the conversation rather than feeling left out. However, the speaker came up short when it came to non-verbal immediacies, such as facial expressions and other non-verbal cues. As a speech delivered through audiovisual media, he was already limited in his range of available non-verbal cues. He could not demonstrate non-verbal cues such as touch or a closer distance. That is why he needed to make up for these limitations, non-verbal cues that were available to him, such as smiling and verbal tone.

Speech Rate, Pausing and Gestures

The speech did meet most of the requirements for non-verbal cues such as speech rate, gestures, and pausing. As an electronic source, the speaker maintained the right volume that ensured his speech is audible. Although the video only covers the upper part of his body, the speaker does his best to use as many gestures as possible, using his head movements and a little bit of hands movements. The video’s layout does not allow the viewer to see much of the hand’s movement, but occasionally the viewer can a small section of the hand come in the camera’s view. Additionally, the speaker takes his time with the speech, making sure to pause while transitioning from one point to the other.


The speech’s conclusion did summarize the thesis and provide closure. The president closes his speech by emphasizing the importance of having a cleaner environment. That is a summary of his thesis statement, which described how clean energy as part of a climate action plan is an important feature. The conclusion is supposed to provide the listeners with a recap of the man points discussed in the speech. The speaker’s conclusion achieves that objective by reminding them of the importance of minding the environment, and once again, using the welfare of children to attach importance to his action plan.


The two recommendations I would make to the speaker to improve his speech is to provide more supporting evidence for his main points. A relevant topic such as carbon pollution requires peer-reviewed sources to back up the claims made in the speech. Source such as the United Nations Environmental Program is a good place to start.


Manisalidis, I., Stavropoulou, E., Stavropoulos, A., & Bezirtzoglou, E. (2020). Environmental and health impacts of air pollution: A review. Frontiers in public health, 8.

Obama, B. (2014, May 31). Reducing Carbon Pollution in Our Power Plants [Video]. Youtube.

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