President Obama’s Climate Action Plan

Last week, President Obama announced the contents of his Climate Action Plan.  The plan has been received both negatively and positively, however many will agree it is an assertive and bold plan.

“It is the most aggressive and promising climate plan to come out of the executive branch in years and President Obama should be applauded for the bold leadership he has shown in confronting the climate change threat head on” said climatologist Michael Mann.

The plan has three major components: 1) Cut Carbon Pollution in America, 2) Prepare the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change, and 3) Lead International Efforts to Combat Global Climate Change and Prepare for its Impacts.

The first goal is to cut carbon pollution in the U.S.  To obtain this goal, a number of actions will be performed.   These include the following:

  • Deploying Clean Energy
    • Cutting Carbon Pollution from Power Plants
    • Promoting American Leadership in Renewable Energy
    • Unlocking Long-Term Investment in Clean Energy Innovation
  • Building a 21stCentury Transportation Sector
    • Increasing Fuel Economy Standards
    • Developing and Deploying Advanced Transportation Technologies
  • Cutting Energy Waste in Homes, Businesses and Factories
    • Reducing Energy Bills for American Families and Businesses
  • Reducing Other Greenhouse Gas Emissions
    • Curbing Emissions of Hydrofluorocarbons
    • Reducing Methane Emissions
    • Preserving the Role of Forests in Mitigating Climate Change
  • Leading at the Federal Level
    • Leading in Clean Energy
    • Federal Government Leadership in Energy Efficiency

Secondly, the plan aims to prepare the U.S. for the impacts of climate change through the following methods:

  • Building Stronger and Safer Communities and Infrastructure
  • Protecting our Economy and Natural Resources
  • Using Sound Science to Manage Climate Impacts

Finally, the plan calls for the U.S. to lead international efforts to address global climate change by doing the following:

  • Working with Other Countries to Take Action to Address Climate Change
  • Leading Efforts to Address Climate Change through International Negotiations

One of the major critiques of the plan is that it will destroy the economy and cut jobs. Obama even addressed this in his speech stating “What you’ll hear from the special interests and their allies in Congress is that this will kill jobs and crush the economy. … And the reason I know you’ll hear those things is because that’s what they said every time America sets clear rules and better standards for our air and our water and our children’s health. And every time, they’ve been wrong”.

A study released on July 2, actually found that the plan will create jobs and lower electricity bills.  The study was conducted by the Synapse Energy Economics for the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC) and estimated that stricter emissions standards could produce 210,000 net jobs by 2020 and reduce electric bills by 90 cents a month on average.

The next step is to wait for the EPA regulations that would enable the reduction of carbon pollution, which will most likely focus on power plants, the largest emitter of carbon in the U.S.

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