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3. Aug, 2015

President Barack Obama has declared climate change to be the greatest threat to the future of the planet in a passionate White House speech on the details of his plan to cut US carbon emissions by 32 per cent by 2030 compared with 2005 levels.

"Climate change is no longer just about the future that we're predicting for our children or grandchildren, it's about the reality that we're living with every day," he said.

US President Barack Obama speaks about the Clean Power Plan at the White House. Photo: Bloomberg

"We are the first generation to feel the impacts of climate change, and the last generation to be able to do something about it."

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The address outlined the first plan in the US to mandate reductions in carbon emissions from coal-fired plants, by far the nation's largest single source of climate change gasses.

The move signals that Mr Obama is determined to use the full force of his authority to act on climate change in the last 18 months of his presidency. It confirms that he believes that only by taking strong domestic action will the US be in a position to lead the world in coming to an agreement to significantly reduce global carbon emissions in the upcoming Paris climate talks.

US President Barack Obama wants to set each state an emissions-reduction target based on existing rates. Washington would offer financial incentives for meeting or beating the targets. Photo: Olivier Douliery

It also suggests that the President wants to see climate change become a central issue in the 2016 election.

Under what is already being referred to as the Obama Rule, the administration – via the Environmental Protection Agency –will set each state an emissions-reduction target based on their existing energy consumption. The states would then draft their own plans to meet those targets, and would receive financial incentives for meeting or beating the targets.

The President said the plan would avoid up to 3600 premature deaths and lead to 90,000 fewer asthma attacks in children, while saving consumers $US155 billion ($213 billion) in energy bills between 2020 and 2030 due to the lower cost of renewables.

The Republican response was swift and savage.

"Climate change will not be solved by grabbing power from states or slowly hollowing out our economy. The real challenge is how do we grow and prosper in order to foster more game-changing innovations and give us the resources we need to solve problems like this one," GOP candidate Jeb Bush said.

The Republican Party's Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell described the plan as "a triumph of blind ideology over sound policy and honest compassion".

Senator Ted Cruz, who is also running for the Republican nomination, called it a "lawless and radical attempt to destabilise the nation's energy".

Indeed, all of the Republican candidates for the 2016 election – aside from the nearly forgotten George Pataki – either deny that climate change exists or argue it is not worth mitigating.

It is expected that some Republican state governors will challenge the President's authority to enforce his plan in the courts.

By contrast all the Democratic candidates acknowledge climate change and back the plan, with Martin O'Malley​ and Hillary Clinton, vowing to adopt it and go further.

President Obama has been determined to act on climate change since he won re-election.

The President pressed Congress to pass a cap and trade system in 2009, but failed to win enough support.

Since then he has used his own authority to take action, including directing funds from stimulus measures to renewable energy projects and mandating strict new fuel economy provisions.

Last month he announced a program to help low and income families get access to rooftop solar power.

Soon after his re-election in 2012 Mr Obama discussed possible measures he could take in his second term with a climate adviser Heather Zichal.​ She recommended that he "throw everything he can" into the issue, she told The National Journal.

"His immediate reaction wasn't, 'Well, what do you think the politics of that are, or wouldn't it be hard to do?' There was no question," Ms Zichal recalled. "It was just, 'That's a great idea. But we have to go big, and we have to go bold

3. Aug, 2015

File photo - A man works on a laptop computer near a Windows 10 display at Microsoft Build in San Francisco, California April 29, 2015. (REUTERS/Robert Galbraith)

Since Windows 10 arrived last week, you've sent in a flood of questions about how it works, what it can do and what it can't do. We've gone through the list and come up with top five most-asked ones, and we'll be answering them today.

Don't forget that we've also covered Windows 10 extensively in other Tips, from how the upgrade process works to instructions on how to use some of the new features. So if you don't see your question here, we might already have answered it in one of the other articles. And now, on to the questions.

1. Do I really have to pay to play solitaire in Windows 10?

When Microsoft dropped the classic game Solitaire from Windows 8, it made a lot of people upset. Sure, you could download it for free from the Microsoft Store, but it just seemed wrong not to have it already installed.

So, there was a lot of rejoicing when the news came that Solitaire was back by default for Windows 10. Since it's the full Microsoft Solitaire Collection, it also brings back Freecell and Spider Solitaire, adds daily challenges where you can win virtual "coins," has online leaderboards and more.

However, what the early reports failed to mention is that Solitaire would have (get ready for it) ads. Yep, if you want to use it for free, you'll occasionally have to sit through big, full-screen video ads that run for 15 to 30 seconds.

Of course, you can get rid of the ads, but it will cost you. You can spend either $1.49 a month or $9.99 a year for the "premium" ad-free version, which also gives you more coins and other minor perks. Or you can go find a free alternative like this program that offers 1,000 types of solitaire in one download.

2. Does Windows 10 really share my Wi-Fi with people?

Windows 10 does have a feature called Wi-Fi Sense that makes it easier for friends and family to get on your encrypted Wi-Fi networks. They don't have to type a password; Microsoft will log them in automatically.

There's a lot of confusion around this feature that makes it sound scarier than it is. For example, it doesn't actually show anyone your Wi-Fi password. Plus, you have a lot of control over how it works, and you can even disable it completely.

To start, people only get logged in automatically if they're a contact in Outlook, Outlook.com/Hotmail, Skype or Facebook, and also running Windows 10 with Wi-Fi Sense enabled. And you can select which services to allow. For example, maybe you don't want your Facebook friends having access.

To do that, go to Network & Internet>>Wi-Fi>>Manage Wi-Fi Settings (only available on computers that support Wi-Fi). Uncheck the services you don't want to allow under "For networks I select, share them with my contacts."

You might have noticed it says "for networks I select." The first time you connect to a Wi-Fi network, Microsoft will ask if you want to share it. Simply say no and Wi-Fi Sense won't log anyone in to that network.

Of course, there is a bit more to know about this feature. Learn more about Wi-Fi Sense, how it works and how to disable it permanently.

3. How can I tell if there are potential compatibility problems before I install Windows 10?

Some people are (correctly) worried about upgrading to Windows 10 and then finding out that a critical program or piece of hardware doesn't work. Fortunately, you can get the scoop on potential problems before you hit the Upgrade button.

Windows should let you know if there are major showstoppers automatically before the upgrade happens. However, it might not tell you about what it thinks are minor problems.

To learn about those, find the Get Windows 10 app icon in the notification tray at the bottom-right corner of your screen. It's the white Windows logo.

Right-click on it and select "Check your upgrade status." Then in the screen that appears, click the icon with the three horizontal lines in the upper-right corner. From the menu that drops down, click "Check your PC."

The app will bring up an overall "yea" or "nay" on installing Windows 10, and then list some items on the computer that might not be fully compatible. There might be things it misses, but it should give you a general idea of whether or not an upgrade is for you.

4. Are there any critical features in older versions of Windows that Windows 10 doesn't have?

It depends on your definition of "critical," but yes, Windows 10 has dropped some features that some people rely on. The one most people seem to be upset about is Windows Media Center (don't confuse this with Windows Media Player, which is still installed).

Media Center is a Windows program that lets you watch and record TV using TV third-party tuner cards in your computer. It's also a nice way to manage and interact with your videos, music and other media.

You can replace this with a free program like Kodi, but test it out before you upgrade to make sure it does everything you want. Some of our readers have tried it and say they prefer Media Center.

Originally it looked like Microsoft was taking out DVD playback as well, but now it sounds like it's going to be coming back in a future update. In the meantime, you can use the free VLC media player.

Also, while it isn't really a "feature" in older versions of Windows, Windows 10 won't allow you to avoid installing updates. From a security perspective, it makes sense to force everyone to have the latest patches.

Unfortunately, these patches can sometimes cause problems and it would be nice if you could not install them until you're sure they aren't going to hurt your computer. If you're using Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise, there is an option to defer updates for