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Climate Talks

Obama tackles climate issues with new action plan

Obama tackles climate issues with new action plan
Pres. Obama’s action plan addresses several climate issues but was met with mixed reactions from various agencies and organizations

United States President Barack Obama delivered a Climate Action Plan that will cut the country’s carbon pollution and prepare for and address global climate change – an action plan that harbored mixed reactions.

As part of the Climate Action Plan, the country will reduce its carbon pollution through various efforts such as asking the Environmental Protection Agency to establish carbon pollution standards for new and existing power plants; an $8 billion loan guarantee for supporting investments in innovative technologies and efficiency projects; for the Department of Interior to permit more renewable projects by 2020; and setting a goal to reduce carbon pollution by a minimum of 3 billion metric tons cumulatively by 2030.

When it comes to addressing climate change, U.S. will be forging a global solution to reduce emissions and drive international negotiations. As part of the action plan, U.S. will expand its international initiatives such as those with China, India, and other major emitting countries; finance cleaner energy projects while promoting the end of public financing on coal-fired power plants; and expand government and local community planning and response capacities.

In preparation for the impacts of climate change, it is part of their plan to support local climate-resilient investment; pilot innovative strategies; maintain agricultural productivity through science-based knowledge; and to provide climate preparedness tools and information to the state, local, and private sector leaders.

How the world reacted

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres welcomed the Climate Action Plan, saying that U.S. is playing a leading role in helping forge a global solution to climate change.

“When the United States leads action, it also encourages more rapid international efforts to combat climate change by strengthening political trust, building business momentum and driving new technology solutions,” Ms. Figueres said.

The executive secretary applauded the action plan as it contained a “full menu of solutions to climate change,” involving clean and renewable energy, energy efficiency, and other actions that all countries need to heed to adapt to climate change.

Andrew Steer, the president and chief executive officer of World Resources Institute, said that the U.S. has lacked national climate strategy for some time now, but the Climate Action Plan delivered will help U.S. reclaim leadership on climate change and put the country on a safer future.

“A comprehensive climate strategy will provide businesses with greater certainty and drive investments and innovation that can change the U.S. economy. This announcement will have ripple effects that will increase the urgency of action around the globe,” Mr. Steer added.

The leader of the World Wide Fund for Nature’s Global Climate and Energy Initiative Samantha Smith had mixed a response, saying that though the action plan does not reduce the country’s carbon pollution as much as it is needed, it still sends a strong political signal globally which can spur other developed countries to act.

But according to the senior analyst of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation Matthew Stepp, there was something missing in Obama’s action plan.

“What the President failed to produce was a clarion call to aggressively innovate cheaper and better low-carbon energy technologies all Americans – as well as the world – will want to voluntarily adopt because they are cheaper and/or better,” Mr. Stepp argued.

The senior analyst proposes that the plan should have: triple funding to at least $15 billion a year for clean energy research and development, reform the D.O.E.’s National Labs System, and to dedicate revenue approach that consistently supports energy innovation programs. – L. Polintan



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