Policy Documents

The President’s Climate Action Plan

June 25, 2013

This government document outlines President Barack Obama's climate plan for the United States.  He asserts that no single step can reverse the effects of climate change, but that the U.S. has a moral obligation to leave a planet that is not polluted and damaged. in that, he wants an action to cut carbon pollution.

In 2009, President Obama made a pledge that by 2020, America would reduce its greenhouse gas emissions in the range of 17 percent below 2005 levels if all other major economies agreed to limit their emissions as well. Today, the President remains firmly committed to that goal and to building on the progress of his first term to help put us and the world on a sustainable long-term trajectory. TThe Administration has doubled America’s use of wind, solar, and geothermal energy and in establishing the toughest fuel economy standards in our history.  He asserts that is act has created new jobs, new industries, and reduced carbon, which contributes to climate change. Last year, carbon emissions from the energy sector fell to the lowest level in two decades. At the same time, while there is more work to do, we are more energy secure than at any time in recent history. In 2012, America’s net oil imports fell to the lowest level in 20 years and we have become the world’s leading producer of natural gas – the cleanest-burning fossil fuel.

While this progress is encouraging, climate change is no longer a distant threat – we are already feeling its impacts across the country and the world. Last year was the warmest year ever in the contiguous United States and about one-third of all Americans experienced 10 days or more of 100-degree heat. The 12 hottest years on record have all come in the last 15 years. Asthma rates have doubled in the past 30 years and our children will suffer more asthma attacks as air pollution gets worse. And increasing floods, heat waves, and droughts have put farmers out of business, which is already raising food prices dramatically. The administration claims carbon was responsible for weather disasters of the last year.  

President Obama is puts forward a restrictive plan to cut the carbon pollution that causes climate change and affects public health. Cutting carbon pollution will help spark business innovation to modernize our power plants, resulting in cleaner forms of American-made energy that will create good jobs and cut our dependence on foreign oil. Combined with the Administration’s other actions to increase the efficiency of our cars and household appliances, the President’s plan will reduce the amount of energy consumed by American families, cutting down on their gas and utility bills. The plan, which consists of a wide variety of executive actions, has three key pillars:

  1. Cut Carbon Pollution in America: In 2012, U.S. carbon emissions fell to the lowest level in two decades even as the economy continued to grow. To build on this progress, the Obama Administration is putting in place tough new rules to cut carbon pollution – just like we have for other toxins like mercury and arsenic – so we protect the health of our children and move our economy toward American-made clean energy sources that will create good jobs and lower home energy bills.

  2. Prepare the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change: Even as we take new steps to reduce carbon pollution, we must also prepare for the impacts of a changing climate that are already being felt across the country. Moving forward, the Obama Administration will help state and local governments strengthen our roads, bridges, and shorelines so we can better protect people’s homes, businesses and way of life from severe weather.

  3. Lead International Efforts to Combat Global Climate Change and Prepare for its Impacts: Just as no country is immune from the impacts of climate change, no country can meet this challenge alone. That is why it is imperative for the United States to couple action at home with leadership internationally. America must help forge a truly global solution to this global challenge by galvanizing international action to significantly reduce emissions (particularly among the major emitting countries), prepare for climate impacts, and drive progress through the international negotiations.