Since President Obama announced his Climate Action Plan last June, he has taken steps to reduce carbon pollution, help our country adapt to the climate change impacts already underway, and to re-establish our leadership in the international arena. The President’s plan is critical to meeting the commitment he made at the 2009 U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen for the United States to reduce carbon pollution 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. The efforts under the Climate Action Plan are a very positive step in the path towards forging an international agreement at the Paris negotiations in 2015.
The core pillar of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan is the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposals to limit the amount of carbon pollution that new and existing power plants can spew into our air. In partnership with the Department of Transportation, the EPA has already implemented standards to help clean up our vehicle emissions and make our cars more fuel efficient, which will cut as much pollution as taking 33 million cars off the road. The President also recognizes that we must move towards a clean energy economy by continuing to grow our wind and solar energy industries and investing in energy efficient technologies.
The steps taken under the Climate Action Plan shows the world that America is serious about combating climate change. They also send a strong signal that we are looking for a meaningful international discussion at the 2014 Climate Summit in New York, where countries will start to deliberate on the proposed commitments that they will make by early 2015. The decisions made during these early conversations will set the stage for the next round of negotiations in Paris. Many other countries are also taking action to reduce carbon pollution, and increasing their investments in clean energy and energy efficiency. And we have already seen many countries come together to set important agreements, like the one the United States and China made last year to phase out the use and production of hydroflourcarbons, one of the most potent heat-trapping greenhouse gasses that is emitted into our atmosphere. It is this type of cooperation that will help tackle this crisis and ensure we leave our children a cleaner, more sustainable planet.
We must come together as a global community to forge an international agreement to tackle this global challenge. The steps America and other countries are currently taking are helping to build the case for a strong and binding global agreement to combat climate change at next year’s negotiations in Paris.