President Barack Obama is redoubling our nation’s efforts to address global climate change
President Barack Obama is redoubling our nation’s efforts to address global climate change with new government regulations on U.S. energy producers aimed at reducing the carbon pollution that contributes to the problem.
In a major speech in Washington on June 25, the President committed the United States to reduce carbon pollution from thousands of power plants, most of which burn coal and account for about one-third of U.S. greenhouse gas pollution. The plan will also prepare the nation for the impacts of climate change and expand our global role in fighting it.
We limit the amount of toxic chemicals like mercury and sulfur and arsenic in our air and our water, but power plants can still dump unlimited amounts of carbon pollution into the air for free. That’s not right. That’s not safe. And it needs to stop.
The effort is not a new one and we have made progress in it. Greenhouse gas emissions fell nearly 7 percent from 2005 to 2011. Carbon dioxide pollution fell almost 9 percent over that time. Thus, we are making good progress toward meeting our international pledge to reduce emissions in the range of 17 percent by the year 2020.
Global climate change can’t be solved by one nation alone, however. It is indeed a global problem. With that in mind, we are working closely with our international partners on joint strategies. A U.S.-China Working Group was formed recently to cooperate on phasing down a class of potent greenhouse gases.
A similar effort is under way with India. We are working in the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate to launch a major initiative this year focused on further accelerating efficiency gains in the buildings sector, which accounts for approximately one-third of final energy consumption globally.
The United States is committed to finding and taking tangible, collaborative steps forward. We must use every day to achieve these goals.