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U.S. Climate Action Plan 

By U.S. Ambassador Robert P. Jackson

CameroonPostline.com — Combating climate change is a top priority of President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry. We remain committed to making concrete and meaningful progress on climate change.

On June 25, 2013, President Obama announced a new U.S. Climate Action Plan, which includes a series of significant domestic actions aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  These executive actions demonstrate U.S. commitment to taking ambitious actions to address climate change. It is well-established fact that man-made greenhouse gas emissions are warming our atmosphere at rates faster than any time in recorded history. While no single event makes a trend, the fact is that 12 of the hottest 13 years on record have all occurred since 2000. 

Extreme weather events of the kind that scientists predict will occur under climate change are increasing — such as a massive, lethal heat wave in Moscow in 2010, enormous floods in Pakistan that same year that killed nearly 2,000 people and affected 20 million, and two “100-year droughts” in the Amazon in five years that led to the release of billions of tons of CO2, a fifth of all global CO2 emissions from energy in one year alone.

The United States remains committed to meeting this challenge head on. We will work in cooperation with our partners around the world to take ambitious actions to reduce emissions, transform our energy economy, and help the most vulnerable cope with the impacts of climate change.

The United States is committed to doing our part and is taking significant actions to reduce our emissions at home. Under President Obama, the United States has done more to combat climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions than ever before, both at home and abroad. We have reduced our emissions as much as any other major economy in the past five years.

In 2011, our emissions were down nearly 7 percent from 2005 levels, and our energy-related carbon dioxide emissions were down 8.8 percent from 2005 levels. Internationally, we’ve made great strides in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to develop an approach in which all countries reduce emissions. We are working to craft a more ambitious future agreement that is ambitious and applicable to all.

We are also working to reduce emissions in concrete and ambitious ways through a wide variety of bilateral activities to promote low emissions development and support vulnerable countries’ efforts to adapt to climate change. We are also leading efforts in collaborative forums such as the Major Economies Forum and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition.

The President’s comprehensive plan has three main objectives:

1.    To prevent the worst effects of climate change by reducing our carbon pollution. Today, we already set limits for arsenic, mercury and lead, but we let power plants release as much carbon pollution as they want. Carbon pollution is contributing to higher rates of asthma attacks, and floods and heat waves are becoming more severe, driving up food prices. Cutting carbon pollution will help keep our air and water clean and protect our kids. 

2.    To prepare the United States for the impacts of climate change we can’t avoid.
3.    To help lead international efforts to address global climate change.
Together, these steps will also spark the sort of innovation that drives economic growth and creates good-paying jobs; help modernise our power plants by equipping them with the latest technology; and move our economy towards cleaner, more efficient forms of energy.

While no single step can reverse the effects of climate change, the President believes we have a moral obligation to our children to leave them a planet that’s not polluted and damaged, and his new climate action plan lays out the path he sees for how we can best achieve that imperative.

First published in The Post print edition no 01450


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