Al Gore is urging President Obama to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from new and existing power plants, as well as veto the Keystone XL pipeline. “This whole project [Keystone XL] is an atrocity but it is even more important for him to regulate carbon dioxide emissions,” he told the Guardian. In an interview on Friday, Gore urged Obama to take action, regardless of opponents, saying, “If he hurts the feelings of people in the carbon polluting industries that’s too bad.”

The Keystone pipeline has created an uproar from environmentalists who understand the threat transporting dirty, tar sands crude from Canada to the US Gulf Coast poses to water supplies and public health. The pipeline is designed to move oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast to be refined and then shipped overseas, which would in fact increase gas prices and reduce national energy security, if anything. Last month Gore stated, in reference to Keystone, “There’s no such thing as ethical oil. There’s only dirty oil and dirtier oil.”

However, in his interview Friday, Gore focused on carbon dioxide emissions as the larger environmental decision for Obama, calling on him to “use his powers as president” to cut emissions from new and existing plants. White House officials have neglected to take a firm stance on addressing existing power plant emissions, despite the fact that environmentalists have been urging the EPA to do so. Existing power plant emissions account for one third of US greenhouse gas emissions, according to The Hill.

The President is expected to release his second-term climate strategy in July, and hopefully address both the Keystone XL project and actions focused on curbing greenhouse gas emissions. During his second inaugural address in January, Obama stressed that it is our duty to deal with the challenges of climate change and preserving our planet, for which he was praised by environmentalists.

“We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations,” he said. “That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That’s what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared.”

 Alisha is a writer and researcher for Ring of Fire.