On Tuesday 25 June 2013, at Georgetown University, US President Obama announced a ground-breaking plan to combat climate change.
The plan included three themes: executive action, a pledge to take international leadership, and a call to action for Americans to help combat climate change.
The plan isn’t perfect (dangerous nuclear power and unproven ‘clean coal’ are factored in and there’s no emissions trading scheme), but it contains many significant components which will not need approval from Congress.
Importantly, carbon emissions from new and existing US power plants will be regulated for the first time although this has been talked about since 2011.
Obama is directing the UA Environmental Protection Agency to work with states and industries to develop new greenhouse gas emission standards for power plants by June 2014, which are expected to be finalised by June 2015.
The climate action plan also instructs the US Government to open up public land to renewable energy projects, expecting to double renewable energy capacity. There are also initiatives to increase opportunities for low-income earners to access renewable energy.
On the TransCananda Corpor Keystone XL pipeline project, Obama declared that the State Department should approve the project only if it will not increase overall greenhouse gas emissions.
The action plan includes many of the types of strategies necessary for Obama to fulfil his 2009 pledge to the international community to cut carbon emissions by 17% on 2005 levels by 2020.
The Huffington Post has reported that the cable network television stations cut away from Obama’s speech, indicating that the speech was unlikely to feature in any detail in their news broadcasts.
For more detail on Obama’s speech, visit the Sydney Morning Herald here including film footage.
For a response from Australia’s Climate Commission, visit there website here.
Here’s some film footage of the speech (1 minute, 37 seconds) on USA today.