U.S. President Barack Obama outlined Tuesday a national plan to reduce environmental pollution and lead a coordinated attack against climate change.

"The question is not whether we need to act. The overwhelming judgment of science, of chemistry and physics and millions of measurements, has put all that to rest," he said in a major policy address at Washington's Georgetown University. "So the question now is whether we will have the courage to act before it's too late."

"As a president, as a father and as an American, I'm here to say we need to act," Obama said.

The president said he has ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to draft regulations for new and existing power plants "to put an end to the limitless dumping of carbon pollution."

Obama said the energy plan will contribute to economic growth and create jobs.

The president also addressed the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry tar-sands oil from western Canada to refineries in the southern United States.

The project, which requires State Department approval, is bitterly opposed by environmentalists and by some landowners along the planned route.

"I do want to be clear: Allowing the Keystone pipeline to be built requires a finding that doing so would be in our nation's interest. And our national interest will be served only if this project does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution. The net effects of the pipeline's impact on our climate will be absolutely critical to determining whether this project is allowed to go forward. It's relevant," Obama said.

Obama also said another part of the plan and a goal of the U.S. government is to cover 20 percent of the country's energy needs from sources of renewable energy within a period of seven years. EFE