In an address that began with the taking off of his suit jacket and rolling up his sleeves, the President gave a speech at Georgetown University announcing his Administration’s new Climate Action Plan.
According to the President, “While no single step can reverse the effects of climate change, we have a moral obligation to future generations to leave them a planet that is not polluted and damaged. Through steady, responsible action to cut carbon pollution, we can protect our children’s health and begin to slow the effects of climate change so that we leave behind a cleaner, more stable environment.”
The President’s speech last almost an hour and laid out an agenda that focuses on Executive branch actions to combat climate change. The plan does not require any action from Congress and will rely on existing executive authority.
Here are some of the highlights from the new plan.
- Directs EPA to work closely with states, industry and other stakeholder to establish carbon pollution standards for both new and existing power plants;
- Makes up to $8 billion in loan guarantee authority available for a wide array of advanced fossil energy and efficiency projects to support investments in innovative technologies;
- Directs DOI to permit enough renewables project—like wind and solar – on public lands by 2020 to power more than 6 million homes;
- Designates the first-ever hydropower project for priority permitting;
- Sets a new goal to install 100 megawatts of renewables on federally assisted housing by 2020; while maintaining the commitment to deploy renewables on military installations;
- Expands the President’s Better Building Challenge, focusing on helping commercial, industrial, and multi-family buildings cut waste and become at least 20 percent more energy efficient by 2020;
- Sets a goal to reduce carbon pollution by at least 3 billion metric tons cumulatively by 2030 – more than half of the annual carbon pollution from the U.S. energy sector – through efficiency standards set over the course of the Administration for appliances and federal buildings;
- Commits to partnering with industry and stakeholders to develop fuel economy standards for heavy-duty vehicles to save families money at the pump and further reduce reliance on foreign oil and fuel consumption post-2018;
- Leverages new opportunities to reduce pollution of highly-potent greenhouse gases known as hydrofluorocarbons;
- Directs agencies to develop a comprehensive methane strategy;
- Commits to protect our forests and critical landscapes.
- Directs agencies to support local climate-resilient investment by removing barriers or counterproductive policies and modernizing programs;
- Eestablishes a short-term task force of state, local, and tribal officials to advise on key actions the Federal government can take to help strengthen communities on the ground;
- Pilots innovative strategies in the Hurricane Sandy-affected region to strengthen communities against future extreme weather and other climate impacts;
- Building on a new, consistent flood risk reduction standard established for the Sandy-affected region, agencies will update flood-risk reduction standards for all federally funded projects;
- Launches an effort to create sustainable and resilient hospitals in the face of climate change through a public-private partnership with the healthcare industry;
- Maintains agricultural productivity by delivering tailored, science-based knowledge to farmers, ranchers, and landowners;
- Helps communities prepare for drought and wildfire by launching a National Drought Resilience Partnership and by expanding and prioritizing forest- and rangeland- restoration efforts to make areas less vulnerable to catastrophic fire; and
- Provides climate preparedness tools and information needed by state, local, and private-sector leaders through a centralized “toolkit” and a new Climate Data Initiative.
- Lead International Efforts to Address Global Climate Change
Additional information on the Adminstration's Plan can be found by visiting: http://www.whitehouse.gov/share/climate-action-plan