Obama Announces First U.S. Climate Plan
In a speech given at Georgetown University on Tuesday, June 25, President Barack Obama announced the United States’ first federal climate change strategy. The Climate Action Plan follows Obama’s State of the Union address in February 2013, in which he stated that the Obama administration would implement an executive climate change plan if Congress did not act on climate change.
The plan would establish stringent emissions limits for gas and coal power plants, which generate over 43% of U.S. carbon emissions; allow for over 10 GW of solar and wind generation on public land; set a 20% efficiency target for industrial and commercial structures; liberalize clean energy investment; and set fuel economy standards for heavy-duty vehicles. Combined, the measures in the presidential plan may be sufficient to meet the U.S. pledge at the Copenhagen climate summit to decrease carbon emissions to 17% below 2005 levels by 2020.
From a global governance perspective, the Obama plan emphasizes climate action through bilateral agreements and non-binding action. The plan asserted that climate negotiations at the 21st Conference of the Parties in 2015 would have to generate an “ambitious,” yet “inclusive and flexible” agreement that accommodates individual states’ interests.
The full text of the plan is available here on Scribd. A fact sheet from the White House is available here. Analysis by RTCC, an NGO observer of international climate issues, is available here. Analysis by the New York Times is available here.